TAMPA, Fla. — USF forward Sydny Nasello was named the AAC Offensive Player of the Year for the second straight season after leading the conference in goals (11) and finishing second in assists (5). The Land O' Lakes native has established herself as one of the top strikers in the country.
"The way her body can go full-tilt in one direction and then change and go the other way. I feel bad for people that have to defend her," head coach Denise Schilte-Brown said after Wednesday's practice. "Because it’s really that difficult."
Nasello credits her teammates with helping her be in a position to put up big numbers.
"I think it’s a reflection of our team as a whole. Putting that onto paper, everything that we’re training in the offseason," she said. "I get to play with some of the best college athletes in the country. It just makes it easier to do my thing."
Nasello, listed as a junior, is in her fourth collegiate season. The NCAA allowed student-athletes to have an additional year of eligibility due to everything surrounding the COVID pandemic, but Sydny will be a top prospect in the National Women's Soccer League Draft (NWSL). Using that extra year seems highly unlikely for Nasello, who appears ready for the next step in her career.
"It’s something I’ve dreamt of ever since I was little," she said.
The NWSL has faced its share of challenges, but it's gaining momentum as the biggest stage for women's soccer in the U.S.
"I’m hoping they can kind of figure that out and provide us with better coaches, better staff, better oversight in the NWSL that makes it easier to be successful," Nasello said.
"We share this planet, men and women. So it’s about time we get some equality in professional sports," added Schilte-Brown. "I am super excited for my girls. They deserve it. They work as hard. It’s the same job. Just want the same reward."
After a disappointing runner-up finish in the conference tournament, the Bulls turn their attention to their fifth consecutive NCAA tournament. They'll host North Carolina State Sunday at 1 p.m.
"It’s time to dance," Nasello said with a huge grin. "If you don’t show up task-focused on that given day, then it doesn’t really matter. We gotta be focused all on NC State. Not on things we can't control."