Rosa a reluctant star for East Brunswick

East Brunswick's Sydney Rosa, the 2013 Player of the Year. Photo by: Mark R. Sullivan

East Brunswick’s Sydney Rosa, the 2013 Player of the Year. Photo by: Mark R. Sullivan

While her head coach believes that there’s a storybook script for the career of Sydney Rosa, the East Brunswick High School soccer star just wants to keep getting better every game and every season she plays.

But one could argue that there is something special going on when Rosa steps on the field when the stage is at its biggest. As a sophomore in 2012, Rosa netted the game-winning goal in the Greater Middlesex Conference Tournament final as the Bears captured their 27th county title. This season, as a junior, she topped her own heroics, scoring a pair of second-half goals to turn a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 victory and yet another conference crown.

Rosa is The Home News Tribune’s All-Area Girls Soccer Player of the Year.

“The best part about coaching her is just how she finds a way to score the big goals in the big spots,” East Brunswick head coach Kevin Brady said. “For her to step up in the biggest stages, she defies movie-like story telling. Coaching a kid like that is what a coach dreams of.”

After notching 15 goals last season, all while fighting Wegener’s granulomatosis — a disorder that causes inflammation of the blood vessels, that she said she’s now completely recovered from — Rosa found the back of the net 20 times this year.

She scored in 15 different games, including seven in the postseason, as East Brunswick captured the GMCT title for a second-straight season. Rosa did all she could to get the Bears into a sectional final, registering three points in three state tournament matches in early November, but East Brunswick fell 3-1 to Hunterdon Central in the semifinals of the Central Group IV Tournament.

“It was a truly incredible season with the team and by far the most chemistry we’ve had with each other in my three seasons,” Rosa said. “It was icing on the cake to win GMCs and we wanted to get that streak back and we just accomplished our goals we had set out in the preseason.”

Against Old Bridge in the GMCT Final, East Brunswick trailed 1-0 at halftime before Rosa went to work, winning a pair of one-on-one battles, putting her squad on her back in the process. When asked if she preferred the winning-goals in the GMCT in her sophomore or junior year, Rosa said every goal is special.

“I think they’re on par with each other, because I like to think of every game as different from the prior one. It’s just great to score the winning goal in any game, but to do it in such a big stage, that was awesome,” Rosa said. “I love every goal I score and I just love to be able to help my team; that’s my job as a forward, to score, and when I don’t, I get down on myself. My teammates put faith in me to score, so I just go out and do my best.”

Brady said that since Rosa came into his program three years ago, she’s done nothing but improve, under such extreme expectations.

“Since Sydney came in as a freshman, has been the kind of player who opens your eyes to amazing possibilities,” Brady said. “After an incredible freshman year, we had such high expectations for her last year, but because of her illness that was challenged. But she bounced back this year and exceeded even our high expectations.”

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