Abby Lewis was still sifting through her college offers when she received an intriguing request in December from a soccer program in England.
Macclesfield had seen her profile on a national recruiting site and thought the Brentsville High School senior might fit in well with its amateur team. She’d still go to college by attending the nearby University of Central Lancashire in Preston, which is affiliated with Macclesfield.
Lewis researched the team and school. It was a big decision. A number of athletes her age leave the United States to go overseas for soccer, but they do so strictly to become professional players. That was not Lewis’ intention.
Lewis also wanted to study nursing, a program Central Lancashire did not offer. They did offer a degree in sports therapy.
As Lewis weighed her options, she decided in January to challenge herself as a soccer player and go to England first. Lewis said her team will play professional academy teams and semi-professional teams. There are no athletic scholarships, but she will receive academic grants.
Once she’s done following three years, she will return to the U.S. to finish her requirements to become a nurse practitioner or a physician’s assistant specializing in pediatric trauma.
“The level of competition is a lot higher,” Lewis said of playing in England.
Going overseas is nothing new for Lewis. She and her family have visited five different countries.
“Abby has always loved to travel and try new things,” said Brentsville girls soccer coach Sonny Barrickman.
Lewis has yet to see the campus in person. She will visit for two weeks right after graduation in June and then return as a full-time student in September.
Lewis knows she’s in for a lifestyle change and can’t wait to begin the next phase of her life.
But first things first.
Lewis is a captain and two-year starting defender for a Brentsville squad in position to make another run a state title. The Tigers return seven starters from the 2019 team that reached the Class 3 state final, including first-team all-state selections Madison Fitzpatrick (Marshall commitment) and Carly O’Leary and second-team all-state pick Hannah Case. Last season was cancelled due to the pandemic. In addition, Brentsville brings in five freshman who are expected to contribute right away.
“The thing I’m most excited about this season is definitely just taking it all in and making tons of memories,” Lewis said. “With all the incoming freshmen we have, I am very excited to see where we can take this team and get to play with an amazing group of girls led by a great coach for my senior year.”