Favorite athlete: Julie Ertz
Favorite team: US Women’s Soccer Team
Favorite memory competing in sports: My favorite memory while competing in sports was scoring the winning goal in a semi final game during my club team’s (Hunter soccer) last tournament together.
Most embarrassing/funniest thing that has happened while competing in sports: When I threw the ball inbounds during a ninth grade basketball game and gave my best friend a concussion - we had never played basketball before.
Music on mobile device: Classic Rock and Frank Ocean
Future plans: To attend college, major in Pre-Veterinary medicine, and go to medical school to become a veterinarian.
Words to live by: “Everything you have ever wanted us sitting on the other side of fear”
One goal before turning 30: To get a job I love that involves working with animals.
One thing people don’t know about me: I play the violin.
By Ed Morrone
To fully understand Elizabeth Pohle’s worth to the Abington girls soccer team, one must look at the games she didn’t play.
The Ghosts’ center midfielder was looking forward to a memorable senior campaign, and it turned out that way for all of the wrong reasons. First, two days into preseason practice, Pohle stepped into a massive divot in the field, badly spraining her ankle, which immobilized her foot in a walking boot for about a month. She worked her way back, only this time to be derailed by asthma, allergies and a cough she couldn’t quite shake. Pohle would play in a game or two, only to find herself too sick to be out there again.
It was, to say the least, frustrating.
“I would basically play until I couldn’t breathe, and Coach would hear me coughing and not want me to have an attack,” Pohle recalled. “I was able to contribute a little bit in the middle of the season, but when I couldn’t play, I shifted my focus to helping the younger people on the team. I liked sitting with them on the bench, telling and showing them what they could do to help out. I wanted to cheer my team on and make the most of it even though I couldn’t play as much as I would have liked.”
Rick Tompkins, Pohle’s head coach at Abington, expanded upon his senior’s value, saying she did things to help the program motor along in ways you can’t measure in a box score.
“She kept showing up to support her team, and I appreciated that because I knew she was frustrated,” Tompkins said. “Not having her hurt us, because she would have added an element to our team that we were missing without her at full strength. She would have shone had the opportunity presented itself differently, but there was nothing she could do - it was just bad luck.
“But her whole attitude was, ‘OK, I can’t do what I normally do, so I’m going to find something else.’ She helped our manager out as a spotter for stats, she brought the younger girls along and showed them the expectation of what we have to do. She goes out of her way to make it easier for everyone else. She doesn’t just promote that type of dedication and commitment - she epitomizes it.”
Pohle started playing soccer in kindergarten, following on the heels of her brother and sister. She joined the Hunter Soccer Club in Glenside when she was in sixth grade, meeting many of her future Abington teammates in the process.
Pohle played JV as a freshman, and by her own admission was surprised when she wasn’t cut from the varsity team as a sophomore. Because Pohle is undersized, Tompkins worried about her getting beat up on the field, but at the same time, the coach liked Pohle’s intelligence and her ability to serve as a largely mistake-free playmaker.
Pohle said sophomore year was mostly an adjustment and a growing experience as she got used to the speed and strength of the varsity level. She contributed much more and gained an increased comfort level as a junior. Pohle was just coming into her own when injuries and illnesses derailed her promising campaign.
And while she is indeed a standout soccer player, Pohle is so much more than just an athlete. For starters, she is in the top 10 percent of her senior class, holding a remarkable 4.42 GPA. A dedicated animal lover who works as a rescue transporter, she assists a shelter in South Carolina place animals in no-kill shelters up north. Pohle has ambitions to major in Pre-Veterinary Medicine before moving on to medical school to become a veterinarian.
“When I was really young, my family went on vacation to Florida to visit cousins who own a horse farm,” Pohle said regarding the origin for her love of animals. “As soon as I saw a horse for the first time, I fell in love. I was obsessed. I didn’t even think about it, I just knew then that I wanted to work with animals. It’s all I’ve ever wanted to do, and more recently, I realized I had the potential, school-wise, to be able to do that in such a competitive major. I’m excited to study animals and how to take care of them. They help people more than we realize, and I just want to be able to help something that can’t help itself. Seeing how quickly an abused animal forgives a human, that just inspired me.”
Pohle also is a member of Abington’s student council, where she is currently helping to plan a dance, as well as the school’s Red Cross Club, where she helped organize the annual blood drive.
“I kind of realized recently that I love volunteering,” she said. “It’s fun for me to be involved in the school and helping to plan things for everyone. It does make the whole experience a lot better.”
Not to be stopped there, Pohle also plays the violin in the school orchestra, a leisure activity she took up in third grade. She quit the orchestra in eighth grade only to realize how much she loved and missed it, so she changed course and got back in.
“I love it, and being able to play an instrument gives you a whole different view on music,” she said. “I’m really glad I joined again and kept playing, even if I’m not the greatest anymore.”
Despite the fact that she will have her hands full on her quest to become a veterinarian once the fall comes around, Pohle said she still hopes to play soccer at the club or intramural level. The friendships she built and relationships she forged through the game of soccer are simply too good to just give up, but if for some reason she does decide to stop playing at some point, she will have a boatload of memories to reflect back fondly upon.
“What first comes to mind about my time as an Abington soccer player is definitely all the relationships I made with people,” she said. “Whenever I look back on school or club soccer, I think about my teammates and how much they impacted me. That will always have a lasting impression on me. Going through all of the ups and downs together with the same people all four years, I was just lucky to have a really great experience across the board.”
When August preseason practice rolls around next year, Tompkins will have to figure out how to replace 11 graduating seniors. He will especially have to navigate how to fill the void left by one of his most impactful and reliable players, one who left such an indelible mark on the program even when she was unable to play to full capacity, or even at all.
“Elizabeth is very self-motivated and puts a lot of pressure on herself to make sure everything gets done,” Tompkins said. “She’s very dependable, and not only that, but she’s just so pleasant to be around. She’s tough, but more in the way she acts than how she talks. She fights through things, and I’ll miss that. I’ll miss her caustic wit too. I’m looking forward to seeing her move forward because I’m confident she’ll succeed in anything she attempts.
“She’s a driven kid. You’d like to bottle that up and give it to everyone else. The key to success - she’s got it, and there’s no doubt in my mind she’ll act upon and do very well for herself. It’s hard to quantify exactly what it is, but I know I can’t wait to see her when she comes back to visit and watch us play. I can welcome her warmly, and it’ll bring us right back to the four fun years of memories we forged together. She’ll be missed for sure, no question, but I know it’s not a forever ending. She’ll be back.”