In an article entitled "Eye on the Skye" from the March 30, 1988 edition of the Herndon Connection, 16-year-old Herndon High School junior Skye Eddy's day was described as a 5:30 a.m. wake up call and a late-night bed fall. With school sandwiched in between, Eddy was practicing two sports during one season. According to Don Coghlan, who was Eddy's soccer coach at Herndon, "She was probably the best athlete, male or female, that I ever coached," said Coghlan, who spent 34 years coaching anything and everything at Herndon High School.
Eddy would meet track coach Mike Dobson on Herndon's track at 6:15 a.m. for an early morning practice in the 1,000-meter run — an event in which she eventually won two state titles.
"Some of my good memories are running around the track and the sun would come up over the scoreboard," remembered Eddy, now known as Skye Bruce. She sells real-estate in the Richmond area and lives in Glen Allen with her husband and three children. "It would be so bright as we were running around the track," remembered Eddy.
After school, Eddy would be on the soccer field practicing her true love — goal-keeping — which eventually earned her collegiate All-American status while at George Mason University. After Herndon's soccer practice, Eddy was off to practice with her club team — the Springfield Patriots.
"Because the kids know she is getting up early to practice, she's very inspirational," said Dobson in the 1988 article. Dobson, who was Herndon's track coach before taking over as West Springfield High School's Director of Student Activities — a position he will officially retire from on July 31 — was also quoted in the article as saying, "In terms of effort and leadership, she's invaluable."
What does Dobson remember of Eddy today?
"She was one of my all-time favorites," said Dobson.
EDDY, A 1989 graduate of Herndon High School, was a first team all-district selection from her sophomore year until she graduated as Herndon's most successful goal-keeper.
In her senior year, she earned all-district honors at midfield — a position she had to learn on the fly.
"Senior year, I switched her to midfield and she took over the midfield," said Coghlan. "That enabled us to win the district championship as well as go on to play Lake Braddock in the semifinals of the region championship."
Eddy led the Hornets to the 1989 regional tournament where they lost a 4-0 decision to Lake Braddock which was led by Northern Region great Mia Hamm. Hamm led the Bruins to the AAA state title that year (Lake Braddock 4, Woodbridge Senior 1).
As a sophomore, Eddy led the Hornets to what was at that point the school's best girls soccer season (11-4). She was kept on the sidelines of the Herndon girls soccer team's first Northern Region tournament appearance ever after suffering a knee injury as a sophomore.
"I got in trouble on this one," remembered Coghlan as he reminisced about his coaching days sitting on a chair on the porch of his dream home in West Virginia. "We were playing against Marshall and she was in goal and she got banged up. I wanted to pull her out and she refused to [come out]. She stayed in the game. After the game, her mother was irate that I didn't pull her and I said 'I tried.' Short of going out there and wrapping my arms around her and physically pulling her off the field..."
Former GMU coach and Northern Region coach Jac Cicala remembered a similar story of Eddy's college career.
"On a Friday night, we had a game against a conference school," said Cicala. "She had a collision with a forward. She left the field in an ambulance. She had a concussion. We thought she would be finished for the game on Sunday against William and Mary. We planned on playing another keeper. Twenty minutes before kick off [on Sunday], Skye Eddy shows up at William and Mary wanting to play."
Eddy had what Cicala called one of her best performances in goal that day.
That kind of determination made Eddy revered among her teammates, the opposition, and local soccer fans.
"When I was younger, in sixth, seventh and eighth grade [Eddy] would be playing and I would go watch," said 1993 Herndon graduate and current Langley High school soccer coach Melissa Bibbee, who was placed in goal as a freshman at Herndon the year after Eddy graduated.
"It was Skye Eddy all over the record boards. I aspired to do the same. It was tough shoes to fill, but I was confident in myself as an athlete," said Bibbee, who just passed the 100-win mark as a coach at Langley.
EDDY WENT ON to become the star goalie for George Mason University and allowed only three goals in the first three games of the 1993 NCAA tournament en route to the school's second finals appearance since the tournament's inception in 1982. After transferring from the University of Massachusetts after three years, Eddy came through for George Mason in the overtime penalty kicks victory over Stanford in the 1993 NCAA tournament's semifinals. In the finals, Mason matched up against a North Carolina team that had, to that point, won the tournament 10 of the 11 times it had been played. The Tarheels (23-0-0) were led by a familiar opponent — Mia Hamm.
"I was born the year that Title 9 went into effect," said Eddy of the women's rights sports movement. "I feel I was a benefit of that, but I also feel like I was laying the groundwork. I was fortunate enough to grow up in Reston and play from the time I was five years old. People I grew up with in college didn't have those opportunities because of where they grew up."
The Northern Region soccer greats, Eddy and Hamm, matched up in a game that, to that point, drew the largest crowd in NCAA tournament finals history with 17, 419 fans watching. Hamm was named the offensive Most Outstanding Player while Eddy was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Defensive Player.
North Carolina defeated George Mason 6-0 in a game that "Everybody in the place thought [Mason] should have given up 26 goals," joked Dobson. "[Eddy] left with a concussion because she dove into the post. What a way to end your career."
Eddy's impact is still felt at Herndon today.
"They still have an award [at Herndon]," said Dobson, who along with current Herndon Director of Student Activities Mike Mahoney — also a track coach in the 1980's — created the "Skye Eddy award. Given to the female athlete maniac that does three sports at one time...the 'how can I fit this into my schedule person.' They still hand that out today," said Dobson.
UNLIKE MOST goal-keepers, Eddy possessed an uncanny amount of speed that carried her to several state championship records in girls indoor track. According to the Virginia High School League record books, Eddy dominated the AAA state 1,000-meter race in both her junior and senior seasons. She won two AAA state titles in the event and shaved two seconds off her state title-winning time as a junior when she won her second title as a senior with a finishing time of 3 minutes and .50 seconds. As a senior, on the home stretch of the AAA state finals 800-meter run, Eddy fell on the final lap.
"I won't say she got tripped, but in a track meet, stuff happens," remembered Dobson.
In a recent email to Dobson, Eddy recalled the early morning practices.
"I remember when [your son] was born," wrote Eddy in the email to Dobson. "You used to come to those early-morning practices a zombie. But [you] would get right out there with us for the runs. I have so much of a deeper appreciation for your pain now — so here, a very belated thank you."
Eddy is married with children Cali, Davis and Sarah. Eddy coached at the University of Richmond for three years after playing professionally for Tavagnacco — an Italian Women's Professional League team. She still runs marathons and competes with the Richmond Strikers adult league soccer team.
"I played in a game last night," said the 35-year-old Eddy. "I'm still a little sore."
Skye Eddy is 94 in a survey of the area's Top 100 Athletes by Connection Newspapers in 2000.