Kicking Through the Ceiling?

Stephanie is celebrated by district staff. thumbnail135451

Senior East Meadow varsity girls soccer player Stephanie Sparkowski is extending herself further than ever before, or at least her leg is! As if establishing herself as one of the best high school goalkeepers in the country weren’t enough, Stephanie is taking her game to the gridiron this fall. The All-American soccer star is now the placekicker for the East Meadow Jets varsity football team.

Also named a Newsday All-Long Island girls soccer player last year, Stephanie is off to a strong start in both sports. On Saturday, Sept. 14, she went 4-for-4 on extra point attempts and successfully made numerous kickoffs in East Meadow’s 28-6 win over Manhasset.

“I was really nervous for that first kick, hoping to get it through,” Stephanie said. “It felt really good to do it.”

Two days later, she was back on the soccer field with the girls varsity Jets, assisting on the winning goal with a 56-yard booming free kick while also shutting out Farmingdale 1-0.

Stephanie said there are similarities and differences between the two sports but feels that so far she has successfully balanced her obligations to both squads along with her responsibilities in the classroom. She’s attending practices with both and thanks the coaches and her teammates for their support.

She can also draw inspiration from her brother, Dan, who also played soccer and kicked for the Jets football team. The varsity football coaches remembered this and approached her about kicking for the team. She worked out during the summer, participated in tryouts and won the job!

Despite the attention given to her newfound passion for football, Stephanie’s priority is soccer. She has committed to play soccer at the University of Michigan next year and is still exploring a major. She is leaning towards engineering.

Last December, while attending a varsity boys basketball game, Stephanie received the good news that she had been selected an Allstate All-American in soccer. She was lending her support to the boys team in between her own games as a member of the girls varsity basketball team as well. FIFA women’s world cup champion and Olympic gold medalist Julie Foudy made the official announcement through a video message delivered during halftime – a surprise to Stephanie. This past summer, Foudy coached her in the inaugural Allstate All-America Cup in Orlando, Florida.

Stephanie is hoping for a return trip to the county finals with the varsity girls team in her final year at East Meadow. “I’d like to leave a good foundation for the soccer program for years to come,” she said.

Could there be another surprise message in Stephanie’s future? Perhaps regarding her placekicking prowess? So far, so good.