Penn State Field Hockey’s Sophia Gladieux Named NFHCA Mideast Region Player of the Year, First Team All American

University Park, PA. – The state of Pennsylvania has always been home to some of the greatest field hockey legends the game has ever produced and Penn State University’s field hockey 19-year-old sophomore phenom Sophia “Phia” Gladieux is keeping that tradition going. She was recently named the  National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) Mideast Region Player of the Year. She was also named a first-team All American. The honor is the latest in a long list of accolades for the young forward.

Gladieux becomes the first Penn State player to win the award. She also recently earned first-team NFHCA All-Region honors for the second straight season. Gladieux ended the season with a team-best 38 points off 18 goals and two assists. The Nittany Lion earned first-team All-Big Ten honors for the second time this season and was named to the 2021 Big Ten All-Tournament Team. Gladieux was a second-team NFHCA All-American last year as well.

Gladieux is no stranger to sports as she has been playing field hockey starting 12 years ago in the 3rd grade. And sports have been a big part of her life as her father played football, lacrosse, and soccer for his whole childhood as well as her sister Sarah who played field hockey until twelfth grade and her brother Scott wrestled for most of his childhood. Gladieux also played soccer and softball up until the seventh grade.

“I actually really enjoyed softball because I didn’t take it so seriously, it was more of a fun hobby, but I actually ended up doing really well and I was able to play alongside my best friends for many years,” Gladieux said.

Gladieux started receiving scholarship offers for field hockey as far back as the sixth grade. It started with Division 2 and 3 schools but soon the offers started coming in from the big Division 1 schools. A few of the big-name field hockey programs that gave her offers, besides Penn State, and showed much interest were Duke, Maryland, and Syracuse to name a few. But Gladieux decided in her sophomore year at her high school, Oley Valley High School, to commit to the Nittany Lions!

It was a very tough decision for her to decide her field hockey college future but she decided on Penn State because she really loved the atmosphere. It was like nothing she had ever experienced. She also loved the coaching staff and how the team culture is so strong, and she felt the athletic and academic programs were one of the most elite in the country.

“I fell in love with the school the moment I stepped on campus,” Gladieux stated. “My sister also went to Penn State so I was able to get a good taste of it early on.”

The young Gladieux has had many great memorable moments in her short field hockey career at Penn state but the one that sticks out the most so far is beating the University of Michigan in overtime. With 3 minutes left to get into overtime, she scored the tying goal.

“Being able to finish in overtime was just so thrilling, I’ll never forget it,” Gladieux happily stated. “I remember sprinting over to the rest of my teammates and just thinking, Man I love this team, these are my girls forever.” 

Gladieux is very honored to be the first Nittany Lion to win the prestigious Mideast Region player of the year and has the potential to even achieve more. She is really focused on her team and wants to bring home a championship to Penn State.

“It is such an honor, especially to be the first Penn State Field Hockey player to ever receive that award,” Gladieux said. “It really is humbling, but I would never be able to get to where I am without the help of my teammates and coaching staff. “

She is very inspired throughout her life on a daily basis by so many people in her life from her family to her teammates, and her coaches, all in their own ways.

” I also would say younger Phia inspires me every single time I pick up a stick… my 11-year-old self would be so proud of me, considering how much work I put in from the moment I first picked up a field hockey stick,” Gladieux stated. “I always think about the struggles I had to face at such a young age, and the times I was nearly burnt out from field hockey. I think that is my biggest inspiration, making a comeback from that.”

Gladieux is studying Early Childhood Education. She plans on playing on the national team, and then eventually finding some sort of teaching job working with early elementary students. She also is very passionate about social justice and tries to lead in a very positive image not just on the field but off it as well. She is a strong fighter for equality for all and believes it is an ongoing problem in the country.

She is the daughter of very proud parents Bernard “Bunky” and Lynn Gladieuex.