By Rubin E. Grant
Anyone who knows Lilly Lowery doesn’t have to wonder what’s she up to these days.
They already know. She’s playing soccer, something the rising Homewood senior has been doing for practically all her life.
“I started when I was 3 or 4,” Lowery said. “I did competitive cheerleading for a while, but I stopped that to concentrate on soccer. It’s something I happen to be passionate about. I love the sport. I don’t think I could just sit at home.”
As she has done for several years, Lowery, a defender, is practicing this summer with her club team, the Alabama FC 03 Elite Clubs National League squad. They practice all summer before starting their schedule of games at the end of August.
“I will play with them right up until the high school season starts,” Lowery said.
Lowery will take a break from her club team next week. She was chosen to play for the North team in the North-South Girls All-Star soccer game during the 2021 Alabama High School Athletic Association North-South All-Star Sports Week in Montgomery.
The all-star soccer games will be held July 21 at the Emory Folmar Soccer Complex near the Auburn University at Montgomery campus. The girls game is set to kick off at 5 p.m., with the boys match following at 7. Both games will be live-streamed over the NFHS Network and AHSAA TV Network.
“I am so excited about the opportunity to play in that game,” Lowery said. “I am really happy about going down next week and meeting all the girls. I already know some of them.”
Lowery is one of six Over the Mountain players selected to play for the North squad in the girls game. The others are Mountain Brook center-midfielder Ellen Anderson, Vestavia Hills defender Ella Denton, Briarwood goalkeeper Savannah Sato, Spain Park midfielder Sydney Soehn and Oak Mountain midfielder Hayley Wells.
Over the Mountain schools also will be well represented in the boys game, with Mountain Brook center-mid Joseph Armstrong, Oak Mountain forward Corbitt Grundhoefer, Homewood goalkeeper Luke Keown, John Carroll Catholic center-mid Christopher LaRussa, Spain Park defender Alan Melendez, Indian Springs center-mid Nathan Tozzi, Hoover forward Kosi Udeh and Westminster-Oak Mountain forward Webster Jackson.
Lowery Was an Early Star
Standing out on the soccer field is nothing new for Lowery. She joined the Homewood varsity team as an eighth grader and was a key contributor as a freshman when the Patriots won the 2019 AHSAA Class 6A state championship. It was the first girls soccer title in school history.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Patriots played only a handful of games before the 2020 season was halted. Even without the pandemic, Lowery would have missed her sophomore season because of a fractured back.
She was healthy this spring for her junior year and had a strong campaign, earning a spot on the 2021 Girls Soccer Super All-State team in voting conducted by coaches in the state. Members of the Super All-State team are from all four classes in the AHSAA soccer competition.
“Lilly was a rock at the heart of a defense that gave up only nine goals in 23 games,” Homewood coach Sean McBride said. “She’s the best defender in the state of Alabama.”
Lowery settled into being a defender early on, playing either center back or outside back.
“I enjoy seeing the game from the back, seeing the whole field and what’s going on,” Lowery said. “I prefer defending instead trying to take on someone one-on-one.”
Homewood (20-3-0) finished as Class 6A runners-up this year, falling 2-1 in a shootout (5-4) to St. Paul’s Episcopal (17-5-3) after regulation and two overtimes in the championship game.
Despite the heartbreaking end, Lowery said it was a satisfying season.
“I was excited we got to play all of our games,” Lowery said. “We didn’t really have any problems with the pandemic.
“We lost some seniors from the previous season, but we had some new girls coming up who were really talented. Even though we lost our last game, it was a fantastic season, the best one I’ve had since I’ve been here. It was so much fun.”
Although she has another high school season remaining, Lowery already is looking ahead to college.
“I’m going through the recruiting process now,” she said. “I’m just still trying to figure it out, but I am definitely going to play in college.”