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Marshall Honored with Avery Spence Award

By Patrick Wood, 09/24/20, 2:00PM EDT


Presented During Halftime of the Kickers Match Wednesday Night

RICHMOND, Va. – (Thursday, September 24, 2020) – The Richmond Kickers and the Spence family were pleased to honor Sydney Marshall with the 2020 Avery Spence Youth Community Service Award during halftime at the Kickers pro game versus Fort Lauderdale CF Wednesday night.  Established to honor Kickers youth player, Avery Spence, who was tragically killed in an automobile accident on May 1, 2011, the Avery Spence Youth Community Service Award was presented to Marshall by the Spence family based on criteria including exemplary volunteer involvement, commitment, leadership and athletic and academic achievements.
A member of the Richmond Kickers and Richmond United programs since the age six, Sydney has been an incredible teammate throughout her career. “I remember first meeting Sydney at Collegiate’s Robins Campus on field 7 for an ADP session, and she came right up and asked if she could help me set up for the session. I knew at that moment that Sydney had a heart for service, and we all admire her commitment through her high school years working to make RVA stronger. I know Avery would be pleased to see Sydney receive this award,“ said Rob Ukrop.
As a four year member of the Deep Run varsity soccer and track teams, Sydney was a vital member before suffering an ACL tear her junior year. She battled back from her injury to captain Deep Run her senior year which was cut short due to Covid. “Two qualities were highly evident when Sydney was a Deep Run soccer player: she was a ‘Team first’ player, and she was ‘coachable.’ Sydney missed her entire junior season with a torn ACL, yet she was a true team leader in training and at every game. Her physical presence was missed on the field, yet her emotional support from the sideline helped lead her team to the State championship game. As a team Captain her senior year, Sydney continued to crave coaching and learning, always wanting to improve.  She is a cornerstone in the legacy of the Deep Run women’s soccer program” said Steve Chapman, head coach of Deep Run. 
As a student, Sydney was an all “A” Honor Roll recipient all four years as a member of the AP Capstone program at Deep Run High School. She was a member of the National Honors Society, Spanish National Honors Society and Mu Alpha Theta (Mathematics National Honors Society).  Sydney was Vice President of National Beta Club, coordinator of events for FCA, and Leader for SODA. She passed the AAPPL test for national recognition of being bilingual in both Spanish and English language. Sydney was the Light of Hope recipient, awarded to one student with exemplary service to the community or overall contributions to others. 
While Sydney’s athletic and academic accomplishments are impressive, her volunteer work and commitment to others is unparalleled. She was a Wildcat Mentor Council member, a member of DECA, Interact club, Key club, FCCLA, and the Red Cross Club. Sydney volunteered with the Down Syndrome Association of Greater Richmond, the Richmond SPCA, and St. Michael’s Church. She was a Night to Shine participant and shared her love of soccer as a volunteer soccer coach at Shady Grove YMCA. Throughout high school, Sydney volunteered over 150 hours. 
Sydney is attending the University of Virginia this fall. She is the daughter of Rob and Heather Marshall and big sister to Macy, Lexy and Watson.   
About the Avery Spence Youth Community Service Award
Richmond Kickers Chairman, Rob Ukrop presented the inaugural Avery Spence Youth Community Service award to the Spence family on July 8, 2011, to honor the memory of Kickers youth player Avery Spence and her commitment to the Richmond community.  A longstanding member of the Richmond Kickers youth club, she started with the Kickers rec program when she was nine years old, progressing with arguably the best girls team in the Kickers Girls Elite program over seven seasons.  A committed volunteer, Avery donated countless hours throughout the Richmond community, was in the academic top ten in her class at Manchester High School and was heading to Virginia Tech in the fall to pursue a career in dentistry.  Avery had a love for life, sharing her time and talent with kids of all ages. Past award recipients include former Kickers players Ashley Riefner (University of Richmond), Blayne Fink (Virginia Tech),  Peter Coiley (Virginia Tech), Blake Cashin (VMI), Sawyer Gaffney (Davidson), Shaan Sharma (William and Mary), Caelan Colaiacovo (Coker College) and Emma Muir (Randolph Macon).