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

Vacciniation is underway in Golden as of Friday, Jan. 15. (Federico Gambarini/dpa via AP)
Vaccination underway in Golden

Long-term care residents and staff have been prioritized, April is the goal for public vaccination

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
253 new COVID-19 cases, 4 more deaths in Interior Health over the weekend

More than 1,000 cases in the region remain active

The BC CDC data for Jan. 3-9. (BC CDC Photo)
Golden adds 7 cases in first week of 2021; BC CDC

The numbers are down from 14 the week before

Justin Kripps of Summerland and his team have competed in Olympic action and World Cup competitions in bobsleigh. (Jason Ransom-Canadian Olympic Comittee).
QUIZ: Are you ready for some winter sports?

It’s cold outside, but there are plenty of recreation opportunities in the winter months

A map released by the BCCDC on Jan. 15 shows the number of new COVID-19 cases reported for each local health area between Jan. 3 and 9. (BCCDC Image)
Salmon Arm and Vernon see increase in new COVID cases, curve flattening elsewhere

The rate of new cases is levelling off in Kelowna, Penticton and Revelstoke.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C. adjusts COVID-19 vaccine rollout for delivery slowdown

Daily cases decline over weekend, 31 more deaths

Robbie Campbell lost his livelihood when the pandemic shut down Shambhala Music Festival. Instead, he spent part of 2020 working on a children’s book called Tulip that is now available. Photo: Submitted
In a lousy year, a Kootenay man was saved by a pink T-rex

Robbie Campbell became a children’s author after the pandemic cost him his livelihood

Vernon North Okanagan RCMP intercepted an impaired driver Sunday afternoon, Jan. 17, 2021. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Impaired driver pulled off Vernon road thanks to public tip

RCMP Drug Recognition Expert called in for assistance in investigation of Coldstream man

Health-care workers wait in line at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Canadians who have had COVID-19 should still get the vaccine, experts say

Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines were found to have a 95 per cent efficacy

An empty Peel and Sainte-Catherine street is shown in Montreal, Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Poll finds strong support for COVID-19 curfews despite doubts about effectiveness

The poll suggests 59 per cent remain somewhat or very afraid of contracting COVID-19

Classroom chairs (Pixabay photo)
Kelowna elementary school flagged for COVID-19 exposure

Interior Health confirmed an exposure at Black Mountain Elementary School

Interior Health confirms vaccination of priority populations has begun in Salmon Arm. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID-19 vaccinations underway in Salmon Arm

Interior Health confirms vaccination of priority populations has begun

Most Read