Soccer standout Leroux gets inducted

Sydney Leroux nearly made it to the Little League World Series as a player.

She finally made it Monday night for enshrinement in Little League’s Hall of Excellence.

“Thank you so much, it’s an absolute honor to be here. I wish I could have played with you guys, but I’m a little too old,” said Leroux while holding her young son Cassius.

Leroux played for the Whalley Little League team that lost the Canadian national final and and a berth in the 2002 LLWS. Joining her for enshrinement later this week are Angel Macias, who threw the only perfect game in LLWS championship game history in 1957, and special needs advocate Champ Pederson, brother of Dodgers outfielder Joc Pederson.

Leroux, working her way back with the United States Women’s National Soccer team after starting a family, arrived one day after scoring the first goal in FC Kansas City’s 3-1 win over the Chicago Red Stars in the National Women’s Soccer League. FC Kansas City’s next game is Saturday in Orlando after playing four matches in 11 days.

That meant there hasn’t been time to follow the White Rock. B.C.’s 2-0 start here, unique for a Canadian entry, but Leroux was catching on up on the news with family members here for the enshrinement.

White Rock is off until Wednesday’s International winners’ bracket final against Tokyo Kitasuna.

“Play hard,” said Leroux. “One chance and it’s over.”

Lerouux’s best chance, with Whalley, came with players with whom she’d grown.

“It was so much fun,” said Leroux. “When we won, we won hard. When we lost, we lost hard.”

Her mother, Sandi Leroux, played third base for the Canada national softball team and her father, Ray Chadwick, played for the California Angels in 1986. Sandi Leroux said earlier this summer she got Sydney involved in baseball after seeing a girl pitch in the LLWS, so she put her in Whalley from 1995-04. Whalley has also been a repeat representative here for the Canada region.

Leroux was a center fielder and second baseman on that team, though preferred center field because there was more running. That physical skill carried over into not only soccer, but the track events she competed in.

“I think playing multiple sports is amazing,” said Leroux. “I’ll always want to put (Cassius) into all the sports I can. It made me more aware of it all, and baseball was so great.”

Leroux, a dual citizen of both Canada and the United States, joined the U20 Canadian national team two years later and later won the Golden Boot and Golden Ball at the 2008 U20 World Cup in Chile. She still has the most career goals in U20 history for the United States, advancing to the USWNT in 2011. There she won a 2012 Olympic gold and 2015 Women’s World Cup title.

This all came after she eventually gave up baseball, saying she knew it was time when she got hit by a fastball going 80 miles per hour.

“The boys I played with were becoming men,

said Leroux.