When it comes to interests and experience, Daniel Pailthorp is not the average high school student and soccer player.
Pailthorp, a senior at Capital High School, has traveled extensively in Europe and is interested in political science. Two colleges on his short list – Stanford and New York’s Columbia University – are known primarily for their academic reputations.
But before Pailthorp becomes a world leader, he had to learn to lead the Cougars’ soccer team.
Last year, Capital had four seniors – two being exchange students and another a transfer. So Pailthorp and some other juniors, reluctantly at first, filled the leadership void.
“I don’t know if we were really ready to take on that role at the start of the season, but we definitely embraced it by the end of the year,” Pailthorp said.
“We thought a few more seniors were going to turn out. It just didn’t work out that way.”
But it worked out just fine for the
Cougars and Pailthorp.
Capital advanced to the state tournament for the third time in four years, and Pailthorp earned Class 2A all-state honors as a defender while being named the 2A Evergreen Conference’s defensive player of the year.
“That was pretty surprising,” Pailthorp said about Capital’s playoff run. It included a 2-0 district victory against EvCo champion Aberdeen, a team that bested the Cougars twice during the regular season.
“I’m not sure too many people expected us to end up at state again.”
This year, no one would be surprised with another postseason appearance. The Cougars should again battle Aberdeen for league supremacy.
First-year coach Andrew Lopez, who served as an assistant the past three years at Capital, will benefit from having one the EvCo’s deeper teams. And with Pailthorp, he’ll have one of the state’s premiere defenders.
“We’ve had a lot of changes over the last couple seasons,” Lopez said. “Daniel’s been the one constant on our back line the past three years.”
Pailthorp began his freshman year on the C-team. By season’s end he cracked the varsity roster.
The following year he was placed on junior varsity.
“He wasn’t there long,” Lopez said. “In no time he was back up with the varsity, and he hasn’t left since. He’s not loud, kind of flies under the radar, but his play is very loud. That’s when you notice him.”
As gifted as he is on the field, Pailthorp excels even more so academically. He said he’s weighing the benefits of attending Stanford and Columbia.
“Those two are my top choices,” said Pailthorp, who also serves as Capital’s senior class vice president. “I’m really interested in political science. I enjoy thinking about how the world works.”
But Pailthorp hasn’t just thought about it. He has experienced it – taking almost two-dozen trips to Europe.
Pailthorp’s mother, Cyndia Sieden, is a coloratura soprano opera singer, having performed with almost every major European orchestra. A New York Times review of Sieden’s performance of “Neither” in March 2011 at the David H. Koch Theater said she was “dazzling” and ended with, “. Sieden was a wonder.”
“We traveled a lot because of my mom’s work,” Pailthorp said. “I had a unique childhood.”
Pailthorp was in tow on more than 20 of those trips, but it was stateside where he his affection for soccer was born.
“I started in kindergarten and immediately fell in love with it,” Pailthorp said.
And it certainly hasn’t faded.
“I’m looking forward to two things this season,” he said. “I have a lot of friends who play at other schools. I’m excited to play against them. And I also just want to see how far we can go this season. Last year gave us a lot of confidence.”Boys soccer outlook