Hard work helps young soccer players achieve success

Local News

Like the main character in Fox’s new show “Pitch,” which tells the fictional story of the first-ever female pitcher in the major leagues, one local young woman understands the sacrifice it takes to get ahead in the sports world.

High school sophomore Lily Poff is no stranger to the soccer field. She first started playing at five years old, eventually moving onto the club level.

“I think I just thought maybe I had a future with it, so I wanted to stick with it and start at a new level and play,” Poff said. 

To say Lily is committed would be an understatement. In addition to playing for her Roanoke Star team, Lily plays for Hidden Valley High School and has also played for the Olympic Development Program (ODP) team at the state level.

Her teammates and opponents have come from different states and, at times, different countries.

“I’ve played in Denmark and Sweden,” Poff said. “We trained with FCN – it’s a professional club. And then we played in a tournament called the Gothia Cup.”

Soccer is a huge part of Lily’s life – she practices five nights a week between her different teams and trains year-round, which requires dedication not just from Lily, but also her mom.

“It’s worth it because the enjoyment that the girls get out of playing soccer, the team camaraderie with their players and their teammates is just fun to see,” said Jodi Poff, Lily’s mother. 

All three of Jodi Poff’s daughters have played soccer, so she’s quite the experienced soccer mom. Jodi said one big part of that job is cheering on her daughters on and off the field, which was especially important this past year when Lily tore her ACL and had to sit out for six months.

“It’s been a long road of recovery for her,” Jodi Poff said. “She’s worked very, very hard and is so excited to be back.”

“With the ACL injury it was tough,” Lily Poff said. “Coming back from surgery was not easy. But now that practices have started, I can see myself getting better each week.”

Lily just returned to the game field about two weeks ago after recovering from her injury. Now, she’s looking ahead to achieving one of her biggest goals.

“This year I think I’m going to go visit some schools and go to ID camps, and I really want to play in college,” Lily Poff said. 

The new series “Pitch” premieres on WFXR in September.

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