State Stories


Cubs Pitcher Kyle Hendricks Surprises St. Charles North’s Hailey Rydberg With PepsiCo Showdown MVP Award

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It’s safe to say Sunday will be a day St. Charles North’s Hailey Rydberg will never forget.

The University of Iowa-bound girls soccer player, who recently earned All-American honors, was named MVP of the 14th Annual PepsiCo Showdown, which is the largest high school soccer tournament in the U.S.

Instead of an average trophy presentation, Hailey learned of the major honor when she was surprised by the Chicago Cubs on Sunday prior to its game vs. the Washington Nationals at Wrigley Field. Cubs starting pitcher Kyle Hendricks called Hailey into the Cubs’ dugout and officially presented the 2017 PepsiCo Showdown MVP Belt (below).

Hailey was approached at her seat around 12:15 p.m. and asked to come down to the field and watch the end of batting practice. Her parents were part of the surprise, but Hailey had no knowledge. She believed that she was attending the game (instead of going to Lollapalooza), because her dad was supposedly selected to throw out the first pitch.

“Hailey is truly an exceptional soccer player,” St. Charles North coach Brian Harks said. “She often makes difficult plays look effortless."

The senior midfielder recorded six goals and handed out two assists in four PepsiCo Showdown games, as St. Charles North captured its first PepsiCo Showdown title. She finished the 2017 season with 16 goals and 12 assists, leading her team to a 19-1-3 overall record and an Elite 8 appearance in the state tournament.

Off the field, Hailey volunteers at Feed My Starving Children to help give back to those less fortunate.

Below is media coverage from several Chicago TV stations on Hailey's award: