John Sylvester and the Annual Sylvester Cup
Honoring one of Minnesota's best
Minnesota’s own John “Sly” Sylvester is known to many as a fantastic soccer player, a coach, and a person everyone seems to know.
He graduated from Washburn High School in 1990, where he was also a star soccer player. In the late 1990s, Sly played for the Minnesota Thunder, at a time when the team dominated the USL leagues and won a national championship.
After his playing career, John coached Washburn girls varsity soccer, was the coaching director at Minneapolis United, and coached at various Minnesota soccer clubs.
In 2011, doctors diagnosed John with ALS, otherwise known as “Lou Gehrig’s disease.” Facing ALS has been challenging for John, his wife Tessie, and their two sons, Gus and Freddy. The support and prayers of family, friends, and community, however, continue to give the family hope and strength.
This year on September 22 is the fourth annual Sylvester Cup, a traveling trophy competition between the boys and girls varsity teams at Minneapolis Washburn and Minneapolis Southwest. The Sylvester Cup celebrates John and his immeasurable contributions to the Minneapolis soccer community. Many of the players who play in the matches today have been directly influenced by John’s generosity and strength as a person and as a coach.
Sylvester Cup Winners
- 2013 Girls: Washburn (4-1)
- 2013 Boys: Southwest (3-1)
- 2014 Girls: Washburn (2-0)
- 2014 Boys: Washburn (1-0)
- 2015 Girls: Washburn (5-0)
- 2015 Boys: Southwest (1-0)
John “Sly” Sylvester represents commitment, dedication and hard work at all levels of youth soccer and high school competitions. A tireless ambassador for Youth Soccer, Sylvester has been a driving force for soccer in the Minneapolis Community. His efforts have been memorialized with this trophy.Engraving on the Sylvester Cup Trophy
John’s love of the game is contagious. He was so much fun to watch. So quick, so fast. He has an energy about him that you can’t help but be a sponge to and pick up on, and that’s what he spreads to people: the skills first and foremost, but also the desire to play and the love of the game and the fun of it.Washburn Girls Varsity Coach Cheryl Urbaniak Peterson
He was the person that backed you, no matter what. Everything I’ve learned from him, on or off the field, team and family, and just overall what you should be like as a good person, I learned from him and I use in my everyday life.Former Washburn Captain and Current UofM Player Maya Rajacich