October 15th, Waltham, MA, 2018; GPS has been a big part of Skylah Dias's life and so it is a happy coincidence his college education took him to Brandeis University in Waltham, MA, also the home of GPS. Dias is in the midst of his freshman season where he has made 12 appearances so far for the Judges. The Swansea native checked in with us this past week to let us know how things are going in the Watch City.
Skylah was part of the GPS system for six years most recently running out for Matt Hardiman’s 1999 Boys squad this past Spring. During his time on Hardiman’s team, Dias earned the honour of being named Vice-Captain, a role he kept his entire GPS career with that team.
Brandeis have made six consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances, making the NCAA Final Four in both 2016 and 2017. The competitive nature of the program, in addition to the school’s academic reputation, is what really attracted Dias.
“I love Brandeis because we travel all over the country to play other teams in our conference, making this experience exciting,” says Dias on his reasons for choosing Brandeis.
Skylah attributes his success so far to the time he spent at GPS.
“One of the best decisions we made was to come to GPS. Both GPS and Coach Hardiman prepared my teammates and I for college, both professionally and mentally,” says Dias on his six years spent with the club. “I believe we (the team) did so well getting into college and on the soccer teams because of GPS and Coach Hardiman”
Dias won three Massachusetts State Titles with the club in 2015, 2016, and 2017 to go along with a 2015 US Club Soccer National Championship as well as a variety of first place finishes at some of the top youth soccer tournaments in the country.
The 1999 Boys squad was filled with talented players across all areas on the pitch, most of them now plying their trade on collegiate teams, and playing time was not guaranteed.
Dias’ situation at Brandeis’ is not wildly different from the one he experienced at GPS, and he credits the club with setting him up for success at Brandeis in such a competitive environment.
“I continue to work hard at Brandeis, playing in every game but the first one. If I did not start a game, I was still in and have played a considerable amount of time,” says Dias on his term so far. “Having 30 players on the roster, every day its a very competitive environment and I thank GPS for preparing me for this level of soccer.”
Skylah has tasted quite a bit of success at GPS and that has left him hungry for more at Brandeis. With Brandeis’ success in the past few years it would be easy for him to ride that wave but he knows that him and his new teammates need to create their own story.
“At Brandeis, we have to build our own history after so many years of previous success,” says Dias on the team’s expectations. “Right now we are in 2nd place in the conference heading into the next few weeks of intense games. Our goal is working to get back to the NCAA Tournament.”
With his debut season already halfway over, Dias knows that he needs to do everything in his power to ensure that the squad reach their goals and not only does he know what is required but he is willing to do whatever it takes.
“What has also helped me from my GPS experience is that it helped me to become a diverse player. We learned how to play and view the game from a variety of positions,” says Dias on his versatility. “When I came to Brandeis I was able to play midfield, forward and defense. Wherever I am needed that game, I will play.”
Skylah will be in action for Brandeis next on Wednesday October 17th at home against Clark University. Kick off is slated for 7 pm.