Samantha Savoy (Left) plays for Bischofswerda FV 08, a club that competes in 3.Liga in Germany. (Submitted)

Samantha Savoy (Left) plays for Bischofswerda FV 08, a club that competes in 3.Liga in Germany. (Submitted)

UBC Okanagan soccer alumni’s long road to becoming pro

Samantha Savoy was in a devastating car crash in 2016

A member of the UBC Okanagan women’s soccer alumni is coming forward to share her inspirational story in hopes of helping others who are facing similar adversity.

In 2016, Samantha Savoy was in the midst of her rookie season with the UBCO women’s soccer team, pursuing her dream of becoming a pro. Much was expected from the then 18-year-old. Prior to signing with the Heat, Savoy’s resume was filled with success.

In her first two seasons playing for Fleetwood Park Secondary School Dragons, Savoy was named Athlete of the Month and was awarded MVP honours as a rookie and then again as a sophomore on the Dragons’ junior team. In that second MVP season, Savoy was called up to join the senior team where she earned a third-place finish in the AAA Provincial Championships. She then joined the PACWEST conferences’ Kwantlen Eagles where she was awarded a student-athlete scholarship for her achievements in both academics and athletics.

All was looking up for the 5’8” l defender. That was until a serious car crash changed the course of her life in November of 2016.

With a break in the CIS schedule, Savoy decided to catch a ride to visit family and friends in Vancouver. While traveling on the Alex Fraser Bridge, a truck swerved into her vehicle’s lane and spun her vehicle 90 degrees, propelling her into a cement barrier going approximately 100 km/h.

“The impact was very severe, and it was a very traumatic experience,” recalls Savoy.

“I had discs out of place in my neck, a large concussion, bruising and PTSD. It really hit me that I was affected by the accident, when for a long time if I was in a grocery store, for example, my body would flinch without my control due to the trauma of the car accident impact.”

Due to the seriousness of her injuries, Savoy was forced to step away from the game.

READ MORE: UBCO Heat women win second tournament of BC Rivalry Series

In 2017, after extensive rehab, she took up competitive running to fill the void. Training under Canadian mid-distance runner, Kendra Pomfret, she was able to place sixth in her category for a half marathon and qualify for the Boston Marathon. Although, she quickly realized her love for soccer could not be replaced.

She would then make the move to Leipzig, Germany in June of 2020, where she ordered a ball and cleats and fell into her old habit of playing the game she loves. Soccer was a natural outlet for Savoy to clear her head and gain a new perspective on her situation.

A short while later after playing recreationally the unthinkable happened. A scout from Bischofswerda FV 08, a club that competes in 3.Liga, came across her talents and offered her a pro tryout.

Savoy didn’t put too much pressure on herself having not played competitively in four years, but after just two days of tryouts, she was offered a pro-contract.

“It’s interesting how things can come full circle,” said Savoy. “I took a lot of time away from the sport, but I feel like this is now my second chance to live out my dream and I am truly grateful for it.”

Before her season was put on hold due to COVID-19, Savoy had made her way up to the starting lineup and was playing full matches. Now, with all sports facilities closed, she still finds a way to push forward, often finding a patch of grass to practice her skills and stay sharp.

Reflecting on her journey, Savoy said she has a new understanding of the importance of solely focusing on the things that are in her control. From suffering a serious injury to moving to a foreign country she never took her eye off her goal of playing pro-soccer.

“With respect to young athletes, there will be setbacks and failure but the most important thing I learned through soccer was to not take ‘no’ for an answer wherever that no is coming from,” she said.

“For example, if a coach doesn’t believe in you, keep trying, someone will take a chance on you. It comes down to belief, grit and courage. I think for anyone struggling, the little things and our little actions are so important to our success, so do them right and be a good person. “

READ MORE: West Kelowna Warriors name leadership group, add NHL prospect to roster


Daniel Taylor
Reporter, Kelowna Capital News
Email me at daniel.taylor@kelownacapnews.com
Follow me on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

santa.
Morning Start: Santa Claus has an official pilot’s license

Your morning start for Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2020

A woman wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 uses walking sticks while walking up a hill, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Interior Health reports 83 more COVID-19 infections overnight

46 cases are now associated with a COVID-19 community cluster in Revelstoke

Robert Gibson, born November 24, 2020 is in BC Children’s Hospital. Photo contributed
Princeton baby fights for his life, with parents at his side

A Go Fund Me campaign has been started to help family with expenses

Mona Fortier, Minister of Middle Class Prosperity, speaks with North Okanagan-Shuswap MP Mel Arnold during a Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce breakfast Monday, March 2 at Eatology. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Despite $381.6 B deficit, better days are coming: Minister of Middle-Class Prosperity

“We want Canadians to know that we’ve got their backs”

By this time next year, the BC Green Pharmadeuticals cannabis growing facility in Princeton is expected to employ at least 150 people, according to the owner. (File photo)
Princeton cannabis plant thriving despite lawsuit and bad press, says owner

Company expects to hire 30 more employees in the next two months

A tongue-in-cheek message about wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 on a sign outside a church near Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection count climbs back up to 656

20 more people in hospital, active cases still rising

A logo for Netflix on a remote control is seen in Portland, Ore.,Aug. 13, 2020. Experts in taxation and media say a plan announced Monday by the government will ultimately add to the cost of digital services and goods sold by foreign companies. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Jenny Kane
‘Netflix tax’ for digital media likely to raise prices for consumers, experts say

The government says Canadian companies already collect those taxes when they make digital sales

The Kelowna RCMP has recovered a replica of Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa after it was stolen from a local business. (Contributed)
Kelowna RCMP recover ‘Mona Lisa’

A local business had a replica Mona Lisa stolen from their business last month

BIG SALMON ranch in Washington State. (Center for Whale Research handout)
Non-profit buys Chinook ranch in hopes of increasing feed for southern resident killer whales

The ranch, which borders both sides of Washington State’s Elwha River, is a hotspot for chinook salmon

Gaming content was big on YouTube in 2020. (Black Press Media files)
What did Canadians watch on Youtube during isolation? Workouts, bird feeders

Whether it was getting fit or ‘speaking moistly,’ Canadians had time to spare this year

(Needpix.com)
Fraudsters projected to use pet scams to gouge over $3M from customers: BBB

The pandemic heavily contributed to the number of puppy scams

Twelve new curbside pickup parking spots are now in effect along 30th Avenue in downtown Vernon. (Downtown Vernon Association photo)
Okanagan city rolls out free curbside pick up parking

12 locations in Vernon intended to help retail and dining sectors amid COVID-19

Vernon North Okanagan RCMP are looking for the next of kin after a member of the public reported finding cremated human remains off the BX Falls trail on Oct. 15, 2020. (RCMP)
Cremated human remains found off Vernon hiking trail

RCMP seek to find next of kin, release photo to public to help ID

A happy, well-fed bear cub plays in the grass in northern B.C. (John Marriott photo)
Bear witness: Shuswap’s John Marriott offers intimate look at black, polar and grizzly bears

Sarah Elmeligi and Marriott’s What Bears Teach Us explores bear/human co-existence

Most Read