Celebrating a Washburn star

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August 27, 2014
By: Reuben Ndely
Reuben Ndely

In Minnesota as in Minneapolis the Soccer community is very small. No matter where you go there are various connections through soccer. Minnesota’s own John Sylvester or Sly is known to many as a fantastic soccer player, a coach, and is one of those figures that everyone seems to know.

In the late '90s Sly played for the Minnesota Thunder Where the team dominated the USL leagues, winning the national championship one of those years. After his playing career, John became the Coaching Director of Minneapolis United Soccer Club, Minneapolis Washburn Girls Varsity soccer, and at various soccer clubs in Minnesota.

Over the last several years John has been diagnosed with ALS. Facing ALS has been challenging for John, his wife Tessie and their two young sons Gus and Freddy. However, the support and prayers of their family, friends and community continue to give them hope and strength. John recently stated, “I cannot change what I am going through, but soccer continues to give me some refuge from the battle... a few moments where I can forget what is happening and focus on the beautiful game.”

Sept. 4, 2014 is the second annual game of the Sylvester Cup. This annual event that has a traveling trophy for both games, between Minneapolis Washburn and Minneapolis Southwest Girls and Boys varsity teams, celebrates John and his immeasurable contributions to the Minneapolis soccer community.

The games are being held at the Washburn high school Stadium. 5pm Girls Game and 7pm Boys.

On each trophy it writes: John “Sly” Sylvester represents commitment, dedication and hard work at all levels of youth soccer and high school competitions. A tireless ambassador for Youth Soccer, Sylvester has been a driving force for soccer in the Minneapolis Community. His efforts have been memorialized with this trophy.

“Soccer is Life! Live it to the Fullest” "In memory of Hallie Brown”

1996-2013 – John “Sly” Sylvester

(Hallie Brown was one of John many kids that John coached who passed away of an illness in 2013. She went to Southwest high school.)

Reuben Ndely
Minneapolis Washburn Girls Soccer Co-Head Coach