Ally Sidloski was a soccer player at the University of Cincinnati who was found dead after she drowned in William Harsha Lake at East Fork State Park in Ohio. Sidloski died on Saturday, May 22, 2021, authorities said. The 21-year-old Ohio native just finished her sophomore year at the school.
“I am absolutely crushed for the Sidloski family, our soccer team and the university,” head women’s soccer coach Neil Stafford said in a statement. “There’s no words for dealing with a tragedy on this scale. Ally was such a pillar of everything that’s right about our program. A great student, gritty and resilient player and a phenomenal human being – this is an immeasurable and unspeakable loss. Our hearts go out to her family and friends and we will lift them up with our fond memories of Ally.”
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources told the Cincinnati Enquirer Sidloski was hanging off of a swim platform that was attached to a boat when she fell into the lake. Her body was found about 1 a.m. on May 23, the ODNR told the newspaper. She was not wearing a life jacket, the newspaper reports. According to the Enquirer, the investigation into the drowning is still ongoing. The newspaper wrote, “The ODNR emphasized that watercraft users should always wear a life jacket and operate their equipment responsibly. More information on watercraft safety can be found at watercraft.ohiodnr.gov/lifejackets.”
Sidloski, a Strongsville, Ohio, Native, Was a Star Soccer Player in High School and an All-Academic Team Honoree in College
Allyson Sidloski was a native of Strongsville, Ohio, according to her biography on the University of Cincinnati Bearcats website. She was a three-time All-Greater Cleveland Conference selection at Strongville High School before attending Cincinnati. She played club soccer for the Cleveland FC/FC Evolution West and the Ambassadors FC and was a two-time Olympic Development Program National Camp invitee.
Sidloski redshirted her freshman year in 2018 and made her debut with the Bearcats in 2019, playing in two games. She missed her most recent season because of an injury. Sidloski was an Academic All-AAC honoree after the 2019 season. The school said, “Sidloski was a standout in the classroom, being named a TopCat scholar in multiple semesters for achieving a 4.0 GPA.” According to the Bearcats website, Sidloski hoped to attend the School of Medicine at Case Western Reserve University after graduation.
Sidloski is survived by her parents, David and Tracie, and two sisters, Katie and Nicole. Her father, David, played college soccer at Cleveland State and her sister, Katie, is a current player at Indiana State. Her other sister, Nicole, committed to play soccer at Ohio State University.
“Our Bearcats family has suffered an extreme loss,” Director of Athletics John Cunningham said in a statement. “We send all our prayers, love and support to the Sidloski family and will do everything we can to support them and our student-athletes as we all process and work through this tragedy. Please respect the privacy of the Sidloski’s and members of our soccer team as they grieve the loss of their daughter, sister, teammate and friend.”
Sidloski’s Family Has Started a Fund to Raise Money to Create Scholarships in Her Memory
Sidloski’s family has started a GoFundMe campaign, the #WePlayFor3 Ally Sidloski Memorial Fund, to raise money to create scholarships in her memory. Her mother, Tracie Sidloski, wrote on the GoFundMe page, “Our Angel Ally touched the lives of so many people. We would like to help her legacy live on by creating scholarships in her name.”
Her mother continued, “Ally was an avid soccer player for the city of Strongsville, Strongsville High School, Cleveland Futbol Club and the University of Cincinnati. Ally was named a TopCat scholar in multiple semesters for obtaining a 4.0 GPA. But most importantly, Ally was a loving granddaughter, daughter, sister, cousin and friend. As she stated herself, ‘Life is about the people who come together to support you and love you through it all.’ We appreciate your love, prayers, and any donations to help support the remembrance of our sweet Angel Ally.”
Sidloski’s sister, Nicole, wrote on Instagram, “ou are my best friend and sister in one. My heart aches to even think about you not coming home tonight. … Everything I do now is for you. If i’m lucky enough to find success in life, it’s for you.”
Sidloski’s teammate, Shannon Narolewski, wrote on Instagram, “My best friend. I’ll never be able to find the words to describe what you mean to me and everyone you’ve encountered in your 21 years. To know you was to love you. The privilege of life with you by my side is the biggest blessing I’ve ever known and I am eternally grateful for the friendship of a lifetime. You are a full embodiment of everything I strive to be and I can only hope to make you proud every day going forward. I know that each passing day brings me one day closer to seeing you again; you’re free Allyson. My hero and my angel evermore.”
In another tribute, Bearcats soccer player Annie Metzger wrote, “I’m going to miss your contagious joy, unending laughter, and beautiful smile. i’m going to miss your perseverance, resiliency, and hard work. you empowered every single person you came across and you lit up every room you walked into. i’m thankful for the countless memories we got to make together but even more thankful that i’ll get to see you again one day smiling with Jesus. love you Ally Sid.”
Another teammate, Vanessa DiNardo, said on Instagram, ” Allyson you were truly one of a kind and have been a blessing in my life. you also have impacted more ppl than you ever would know. i will never be able to wrap my head around this and wonder why you left us so soon. it can’t be real and never will feel real. you will be truly truly missed. i wish i could have seen you and hugged you one last time and tell you how much you meant to me. you are the most beautiful angel and I’m so happy that i have you looking over me for the rest of my life. i will continue to work hard and make you proud.”