Sports, it runs in the blood

Sydney Rhodes, Delaware field hockey's goalkeeper, has two cousins, Elaine and Javier Lopez who are both professional athletes. They helped inspire her to get into sports.

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Mark Campbell, University of Delaware Athletics/THE

Sydney Rhodes stands in goal during Delaware’s battle with No. 3 Connecticut.

Staff Reporter

It is not often to find someone with a professional athlete as a close relative. For field hockey redshirt senior goalkeeper Sydney Rhodes, having professional athletes as relatives is a common thing. Not only does she have one relative, she has two.

Rhodes is cousins with Javier and Elaine Lopez. Javier was a professional catcher in MLB from 1992 to 2006, while Elaine was a member of the Puerto Rican national volleyball team.

“Javier and Elaine both live in Puerto Rico and they are from my mom’s side of the family,” Rhodes said. “Growing up, I would always go to Puerto Rico and see them often.”

Even at a young age, Rhodes was always into athletics. She found that visiting her cousins was a way to focus and come to love all types of sports.

“Every time that we would go to Puerto Rico, especially Javy’s house, there would just be so many things we could do,” Rhodes said. “We would go out and play basketball, wiffleball or just run around in the streets.”

As Rhodes got older she would attend Javier’s game when he played for the Baltimore Orioles, and found it awe-inspiring to see a close relative of her play on such a big stage such as the MLB.

Growing up, Rhodes was not able to see Elaine as much as she did Javier, but nonetheless, she recognized just how talented Elaine was at volleyball and how much that meant to her as an up-and-coming athlete.

“I wasn’t as involved with her when I started growing up in the athletic side,” Rhodes said. “I did know that she was a killer athlete.”

Since she arrived at the university, her passion for athletics that she developed as a kid with her cousins has shown on the field.

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Sydney Rhodes makes a diving save in Delaware’s match against No. 12 Princeton.

Starting in the 2016 season, Rhodes played and continues to play a vital role for the field hockey team’s continued dominance among Division I field hockey.

She was a key piece in the Blue Hens capturing a Division I championship in 2016. In 2017, Rhodes posted a 92.9 save percentage; in 2018, she earned All-CAA First Team honors, as well as helped the field hockey team capture two more Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) titles.

Rhodes attributes this success to those trips to be with her cousins and family that helped develop a close knit bond with athletics.

“Going there [to Puerto Rico] was always just so freeing,” Rhodes said. “It was so full of activity that it made me just love it. Just going outside and being with my cousins on the streets of Puerto Rico, I think it had a definite impact on me playing sports.”


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