Santa Paula High School’s Sydney Gomez Operates a Legalized Racket

July 31, 2019

Head Coach Sydney Gomez ready to start a new year as SPHS varsity tennis coach.

New Varsity Girls Tennis Coach begins her First Year

By Dan Diaz

Santa Paula Times published 7/31/2019

There is a new era coming to Santa Paula High School. After over 10 years of Coaching Girls Tennis, with past League and Coach of the Year Titles, Jerry Cruz is stepping down.

Filling in his shoes is an eager and anxious new Head Coach named Sydney Gomez. A newlywed from last year, Ms. Gomez has been a special education teacher at Isbell School for the last 9 years.

Growing up here in Santa Paula, she has been playing tennis since she was 7 years old. Some of her fondest childhood memories were of Dave and Juliet Dike helping out the youth through the love of tennis.

That support which was provided unconditionally from the Dikes is something she would like to continue. 

Having played competitively for over 10 years, Sydney Gomez sees the need for girls growing up to learn an activity that helps to teach them not only good sportsmanship but individualism with one on one challenges.

 In tennis competing in single matches, a player cannot depend on another teammate for support. This challenge allows a person to grow strong, believe in themselves, gradually develop maturity and hopefully flourish as a winner.

The tennis team had tryouts throughout the month of June with 36 girls competing to make the squad. After narrowing down the field, the team is set with 28 players with 14 girls on Varsity and 14 girls on Junior Varsity. 

Whenever you compete against another team, there are always 3 Singles Matches and 3 Double Matches. This encompasses the need for 9 players, so with 14 on each squad they will have 5 more players ready to fill in due to illness, injury or any other reason.

Sitting with Coach Gomez, we discussed her short term and long term goals for the upcoming year and the tennis program in the future.

Santa Paula Tennis team posing for a photo before the start of practice.

“There are a lot of girls who have not played before or who are very new to the sport. I am anxious to see how they will grow. They have already grown just in the past few weeks with tryouts and practices increasing their abilities. I am excited to see how far they can go this year”, said Head Coach Sydney Gomez. “Future wise, to have the new comers stick with the tennis program and continue so that they can play better and have more skills when they get to the varsity level.”

She has a dream of developing a Tennis Club at the Junior High level. This would help develop experience in tennis so that when they come into high school even the act of holding a racket is not so foreign.

Since she teaches at Isbell she has already had informational meetings about the high school tennis teams talking and discussing the sport as well as the expectations and how it runs so that they will be definitely more prepared when they come up and tryout.

There is a motto Sydney Gomez tries to instill into her students as well as her athletes; 

“Dare to Dream”

Trying to achieve your goals and trying to reach for the highest expectations or beyond is feasible and attainable by anyone. You will be amazed at what you can do if you dedicate yourself, go out, give it your best and put all your fears aside. You will never know what you can do until you try.

Someone will always believe in you and will give you that opportunity. It is a matter of taking advantage of that opportunity and going forward.

“A Champion is afraid of losing, everyone else is afraid of winning” ~ Women Tennis Player Billie Jean King.

Due to CIF rules, laws and regulations, players are not allowed to be coached and practice for a few weeks in the summer. The girls regular practice schedule will be dark during the month of July, but will come back in August with their first scheduled match against Simi Valley on Tuesday August 27th.

There is also a need for a Head JV Girls Tennis Coach. If you or if you know anyone (teacher or non-teacher) who might be interested in helping out in building a solid tennis program for our school and our community contact Athletic Director Dan Guzman at: 805-525-4400 Ext. 22702 or by email, 

“I am excited to work with these girls, I have a great team. They are hard workers that show up every day, they push themselves and have gone above and beyond for what I ask” ~ Head Coach Sydney Gomez.

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