By Jill Fox
Watch out Venus and Serena, there’s a new pair of sisters on the scene, and they’re taking their talents to Yale.
Coral Springs sisters Sydney and Julia Grobman have been playing softball since they were little girls, and this fall they will be moving to New Haven, CT to play for the Yale Bulldogs. Although it’s rare for siblings to be accepted to the Ivy League school, Sydney and Julia both have high academic achievements as well as the athletic ability to back it.
Both girls had to meet the academic standards for acceptance into Yale, but that wasn’t a problem. Sydney, presently a sophomore at Yale, was a National Merit Semi-finalist and the 2017 Academic Scholar Athlete of the year for Broward County. She is Pre-Med and plans to study evolutionary and ecology biology, but has yet to declare her major.
Julia, 17, who will be officially admitted to Yale in December, led the American Heritage Patriots to a state championship this year and plans to study political science or become Pre-Med.
After competing on the varsity team together at American Heritage, the sisters had visions of going away to college and playing ball together.
Julia explained that the older she got, the more she realized that she wanted to use her softball in a way that helped her academically, so the Ivy Leagues seemed like an ideal solution.
According to her father, Seth Grobman, Julia fell in love with Yale while visiting her sister there.
“I felt like I could see myself at Yale, it was just an added bonus that Sydney was there,” said Julia.
The girls are definitely used to the dynamic that comes with being teammates and sisters at the same time. Sometimes it just becomes difficult because they care for each other more than if they were just teammates and they have to dial back the emotion in that moment, said Sydney.
Their parents, Doctors Seth and Faith Grobman, both psychologists, have already purchased their plane tickets to Connecticut to watch their daughters play together.
“I love the idea of them being athletes, but also going to the highest level of academic rigor possible because it’s not just about the game. They are learning good solid foundational lessons for life, like structure, discipline and striving for success,” said Seth.
Yale Bulldogs’ Coach Jen Goodwin said that she is excited to have a “sister act” next year with Julia and Sydney.
“We couldn’t ask for a harder worker in Julia; one who has battled through injuries and proven her resilience. We are confident she will bring her toughness into the circle for us, and along with Sydney’s steadiness at the plate, our team will be a force,” said Goodwin.
Julia shared that it has always been her dream to play at a college level, and it makes it even better that she already has her best friend there. She is excited to take her playing to the next level and is looking forward to challenging herself both academically and athletically.
Sydney, 20, explained that the Yale softball team has less time to practice than other Division I universities, since it is an Ivy League school, and that there aren’t any exceptions made for athletes.
“It’s definitely a busy lifestyle, but it’s pretty rewarding. We have to put more of an emphasis on academics because the course load is so much more rigorous,” said Sydney, who believes the additional work is well worth it. It gives her an outlet outside of academics where she can just focus on playing and not have to worry about all of her other responsibilities. She said that at Yale, not many people are able to do that.
As far as Julia joining her sister, Sydney couldn’t be more thrilled. She said that she is incredibly excited to be able to be that person to help get her through being a freshman and being in a new environment.
As for any competition between the two, Sydney said that luckily, the girls are polar opposites in every way, so there isn’t much. In softball, they play opposite positions. Sydney is more of a power hitter and plays first base and catcher, while Julia is a pitcher.
According to Sydney, they are more supportive than competitive.
“For Julia, it is going to be a difficult journey and she is going to have to work her butt off, but it is probably the most rewarding experience she could ever imagine,” said Sydney.
Jill Fox is an Emmy Award-winning writer and producer. She is currently a Senior Account Director at Lon Haber & Co., a leading full-service public relations firm. Fox worked at NBC Miami for eight years after graduating from the University of Miami. She lives in Parkland with her husband, Brian and two children.