With a father who served in the military and a mother who played NCAA Division I basketball, an inner drive and discipline have been embedded in Ryan Sierakowski.
Sierakowski, a 16-year-old junior at McHenry West, has heeded his parents’ advice to always do things at the optimum level.
“They’ve told me, ‘If you do something, do it 100 percent,’ ” Sierakowski said. “And I just go along with that. If I do something, I want to put everything into it and do it the best i can.”
That is why soccer coach Kristian Rockall, who owns and runs Skills First Soccer and has individually instructed Sierakowski for five years, calls him the hardest worker he’s ever seen. It’s also why Sierakowski committed two weeks ago to Michigan State, where he will play soccer on a near full athletic scholarship.
“I’ve never seen anybody work as hard as that kid,” Rockall said. “He puts in countless hours, gets up early in the morning, trains, goes to school. He does a good job with everything. He has a bright future ahead of him.”
Sierakowski, a forward, does not play with McHenry’s high school team, but plays with Sockers FC Chicago, a Schaumburg-based club that allows him to see top-notch competition and training through the entire year.
Sierakowski also plays with Sockers FC Academy, where college coaches have seen him play. He attended an ID camp last summer in East Lansing, Mich., where Michigan State coaches got to know him.
“I was extremely impressed with the coaching staff,” Sierakowski said. “They exude professionalism, knowledge and integrity. The camp was well-organized and challenging.”
Rockall took Sierakowski to England for 11 days over the summer, where he trained with clubs from Arsenal, Stevenage, Norwich and Crystal Palace.
“It was amazing,” Sierakowski said. “I was able to experience how they played and measure myself against that competition. It was unbelievable.”
Rockall thought Sierakowski came back from that trip even more inspired, although he says desire and motivation are never lacking with Sierakowski. His father, David, used to serve in the Army and his mother, Sheryl, played D-I basketball at Appalachian State and then Illinois-Chicago.
That somewhat explains why Sierakowski often does the Insanity Asylum workout video before school. He usually has workouts with the Sockers four nights a week and works with Rockall on other days.
As a junior, Sierakowski will not sign his NCAA National Letter of Intent until February 2015.
“I know that I will have a complete college experience at Michigan State,” Sierakowski said. “The school offers everything I want academically and, with their help, I will be able to achieve all of my goals on and off the field.”