Payton Lennon

School: Lower Moreland




Favorite athlete:  Either Alex Morgan or Carli Lloyd

Favorite sports team: USWNT

Favorite memory competing in sports: Definitely beating Abington. Abington is one of the strongest teams we play, and we’ve never beaten them. It normally isn’t always a close game either. The game we played this year was on our turf, and we were on fire. At the end of the first half, we were losing 2-0, but by the second half, it was like a light flipped in all of our heads. We were knotted 2 by the end of the second half. Then we went to overtime, and we won. We were in complete shock, and I have never been so excited before in my life.

Most embarrassing/funniest thing that has happened to me while competing in sports: In a game during my sophomore year, the entire bottom part of my cleat flew off and someone on the other team had to tell me about it. I came out of the game and taped it back on. When I went back in, the tape ripped off, and bottom part fell off of my shoe again. The same girl who told me the first time, told me again. It was really funny.

Music on playlist: Anything by Rihanna or Coldplay. I also really like Tate Mcrae

Future plans:  I am planning on majoring in health science in order to become a Pediatric Physician’s Assistant. I love kids and helping people, so that career is basically the best of both worlds for me.

Words to live by: “Every day may not be a good day, but there is good in every day.” I used to look at things very negatively, but this quote has caused me to have a more optimistic personality. By finding the positive in certain situations, I am able to get through some of my toughest days.

One goal before turning 30: Get a good paying job and travel to Ireland to see some of my family who lives there.

One thing people don’t know about me: I love the Harry Potter series. I have watched all eight movies probably four times each. I don’t know why, but I never get bored of it.



The saddest thing in life is wasted talent.

That line from the movie A Bronx Tale has been adopted for sports since the movie – starring Chazz Palminteri and Robert DeNiro --appeared in 1993.

Sensing Payton Lennon’s natural skills at soccer, her father, Tim, was not about to see her talent – let alone her passion for the sport – go to waste.

She may not have always understood his motivation, especially when she was younger, but she appreciates it now.

“That’s exactly it,” explained the defensive-minded midfielder, adding that her father had no actual playing experience in soccer, having played more traditional “American” sports (baseball, football, hockey) but went to classes to stay ahead of the curve while coaching her.

Added the standout Lower Moreland senior captain: “He pushed me way harder than everyone else on the team. Basically, that’s how I got to where I am today. Without him, I wouldn’t be as good as I am. I used to think of him as my enemy. But now, when I look back on it, he’s my No. 1 supporter. He helped me tremendously with how I play.”

Meanwhile, her mom, Colleen, was always ready with encouragement – or a box of tissues.

“My mom has been there the entire time,” added Lennon. “She was, basically, the good cop while my dad was the bad cop. My mom is definitely my biggest fan. She comes to all my games. So do my grandparents (Tom and Theresa Lennon). My entire family just believes in me more than anybody else.”

The family affair continues with sister, Payge, a sophomore who plays center defender for Lower Moreland.

“We butt heads a little bit,” confessed Lennon. “I just want the best for her. Sometimes, she just doesn’t have a lot of confidence in herself. We argue a lot, but she is a really good soccer player.”

The bottom line is that Payge seemingly feels a bit in the shadow of her standout sister.

“Yeah, she said she does,” said Lennon. “She has the opportunity, even as a junior next year, to step up and lead the team if she wants to. I feel like she is going to be the one to take my spot.”

The Translator

Lennon’s role, not only as a standout on the field but as a vocal leader, was appreciated by first-year head coach Todd Hill, who guided the Lions to another Freedom Division title before a first-round loss in the District 1 playoffs.

Hill admittedly came into an awkward situation with the Lions, who had won the league the year before with a team of underclassmen led by Lennon.

“That was part of the challenge for me,” he said. “I was a new coach this year. I got to experience some really cool things from her.

“Payton has been invaluable. There is a significant transition, especially when you are coming into a team that didn’t have any graduating seniors. It was a team that had been together, and I was this new guy trying to bring some new things in, but Payton has been such a strong leader and advocate.”

It certainly helped that Lennon was well-established as the undisputed team leader.

“Last year, we had no seniors, so I stepped into that role,” she said. “We all had to play a year older, because there were no seniors. We understood the situation.

“This year, pretty much, it was the same team as last year. We also had a couple of new freshmen. We were all pretty close. They understand me and when to listen, as compared to when I’m joking.”

Before the season started, all the seniors had a meeting with Hill to get on the same page.

“We explained the situation and how we had the same team and stuff,” said Lennon, a first-team all-league choice for all four years. “He understood, right away, how we already have our own ways. Still, he made it clear that he was the coach.”

The meeting was one thing, conveying his message on the practice field, and in games, was another.

Enter Lennon.

“Almost comically, there were times through the year where I was communicating to the team and they would all be kind of staring at me with these blank looks,” said Hill. “Payton would be the one who speaks up and says, ‘This is what he is saying, guys.’ Then, they would all be, like, ‘Oh, OK.’ So, she has been my translator at times. She has been a huge help.”

Split Decision

Lennon plays serious travel soccer for the Ukrainian National Soccer Club, which means indoor home games in the winter and a heavy workload in the spring.

The team practices Tuesday through Thursday, and travels all over the country (New Jersey, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina and even California) for weekend tournaments.

When you love soccer this much, it is not a chore.

She has made lifelong friendship – like with best friend, Demmi Fox, a Lower Moreland and club sidekick that she has played soccer with since “before Kindergarten” – and loves every minute of being part of something bigger.

“I’d also like to thank the entire Lower Moreland team,” she added. “They showed me what true friendship was, and I treat them all like family. They always push me to limits and help me play my best games every single time. I’m going to miss them so much.”

Looking Ahead

Lennon is debating whether or not to continue playing the sport that has been a way of life for her in college.

“I can go to play in college, if I want to, but I don’t know yet,” said the aspiring Pediatric Physician’s Assistant who also plays middle infield for the Lower Moreland softball team.

“I’m still debating on it. If I want to play soccer, I can go to Chestnut Hill College, but that’s really close. If I don’t play soccer, I’ve been looking at Syracuse.”

Lennon says she is leaning toward Syracuse, where she would likely play club soccer or consider walking on, with the main reason being a desire to be in a big-school environment after going to a smaller high school.

“My school now is 900 (students) in all,” she said. “Everybody knows everybody else. I’ve been in the same school with people I went to kindergarten with. I don’t really think I still want that. I want to be in a bigger environment, since I never really experienced that before.”

Lennon has put herself in position to go to the college of her choice with excellent work in the classroom.

That includes being a year ahead in math since sixth grade and AP classes in psychology and science.

A member of the National Honor Society, she finds time to participate in their activities, such as car washes, and also earns money by refereeing youth soccer and babysitting.

Lennon is planning to visit family in Donegal, Ireland, before the next phase in her education.

She had that opportunity when she was in middle school while playing a tournament there, but feels she would appreciate it more now.

“I don’t really remember it that much,” she said. “I have a lot of family in Ireland. Their way of life is a lot different than ours is.

“Once I graduate high school, it’s really a plan for me and my cousin (Avery Lennon), who I am close to in age, to go back to Ireland. That’s something that’s on my radar for the summer.”

A Great Teammate

Several years ago, Lennon had a setback during an innocent club soccer scrimmage against the younger team.

An awkward tackle led to a badly bruised MCL that kept her out of soccer for her sophomore year and had her second guessing herself for a while as she took a good six weeks to recuperate.

“It was hard for me to gain confidence back after that,” she said. “I was really scared to play. I didn’t want to hurt it again.”

But she was able to get back into action, using the innate passion for the sport that makes her a natural leader.

“I like leading the soccer team,” she said. “I know what I’m talking about. I have a high soccer IQ.”

Watching her play now, an observer would not see any signs of lingering self-doubt.

“She is probably the most dominant player,” said her coach. “She is ferocious, strong and powerful.”

But he is still most impressed with all of her innate intangibles.

“There is just this profound tenderness to her,” he said. “She is just really sensitive. She pays attention to the girls that are on the margins. She makes sure that all the girls are included. She watches out for the underclassmen.

“That is what really stood out to me. She could use her platform to be unapproachable or unengaged. Instead, she is very tender toward to the other girls. She is also tough. She calls them out, but they respect her and trust her.

“She’s a great teammate. The girls trust her and look up to her. She’s more than just a good soccer player. She’s a good person, too.”