Orange Lutheran senior Hayden Snyder was six years old when one of his best buddies talked him into trying soccer. Their dads coached the team to a championship, and Snyder was immediately hooked.
“When I get on the field, it just feels different,” says Snyder. “It feels right. I just love it.”
Snyder transferred to OLu his junior year and has played a key role in the program’s rebuilding efforts. The Lancers currently sit at 9-4-1 with two Trinity League wins heading into their match this week against JSerra. The 18-year old has confidence in the team’s goal this season of winning a CIF title.
“It has truly been an honor to be a part of Hayden's soccer journey,” says OLu boys soccer head coach Mike Oseguera. “As a transfer, Hayden immediately jelled with the team and became a leader from day one. His focused mentality, polished leadership skills and ability to step up in big moments has made him a massive asset to the program.”
The Lancers striker serves as a captain and is intentional about being a leader that younger teammates can look up to.
“On the field, you've got to have energy and make sure you can encourage the team to do [well],” says Snyder. “But then off the field, you’ve got to be respectful. You’ve got to be a good role model to the younger kids.”
Snyder also serves the OLu community as an Engage mentor, a program specifically designed to help transfer students acclimate to campus life. He is currently mentoring other transfer students who are in OLu’s soccer program, which allows him to have unique insight on their student athlete needs.
Additionally, Snyder gives of his time to the local community through Lion’s Heart, a nonprofit organization that connects teens with local volunteer opportunities.
Away from the pitch, Snyder enjoys surfing and playing the guitar. His future plans will keep him near the ocean, as the 4-year varsity player has committed to the men’s soccer program at Point Loma Nazarene University. While at Point Loma, he plans to study computer science.
Having experienced his share of injuries over his playing career, Snyder feels the sport of soccer, his faith and the example set by his father and brother have all taught him to never back down from a challenge. He keeps prayer as a constant part of his pregame routine.
“Throughout my life, God has played a major role,” says Snyder. “Before every game I like to pray by myself…that hopefully no one gets injured and that I perform at my best. Always when I do really well, I just thank him for everything.”