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Soccer dreams come true

Posted at: 02/14/2013 5:06 PM
Updated at: 02/14/2013 8:13 PM
By: Robin De Wind

It's a dream come true for two local women. As young girls they dreamed of following in the footsteps of Pittsford's Abby Wambach and now they will get their shot this spring.

Two local high school soccer standouts are about to realize their professional dream to play in the National Women's Soccer League. One will play alongside former Western New York Flash star Alex Morgan.. The other next to her childhood hero, Abby Wambach.

Jessica Shufelt and Ashley Grove are like any college graduates, they hope to get a job. They've stayed around the game they love by working and teaching kids at Doug Miller Family Sports Park.

It's their full-time job for now.

Ashley Grove,Western New York Flash pick, said, “To realize your dream is coming true is a blessing and an honor.”

Jessica Shufelt, Portland Thorns draft pick, said, “Ash and I were in the office going through the picks one by one and we were speechless when we found out.”

Shuflet and Grove were drafted in the  fifth round right after each other....

Grove said, “It was nerve racking we went to the camp and hoped someone would want us. I think we were both nervous but happy it happened.”

Shufelt was a high school standout leading her Greece Arcadia team to a state title. She went on to UCONN and will now turn pro, taking the field with former Western New York Flash star Alex Morgan, on a promising Portland team.

Shufelt said, “I'm going to take it as it comes and learn from her not go in star struck and just play soccer that's what I love to do.”

Grove graduated from Aquinas and went on to play at Maryland. She wanted to be like her soccer hero, Abby Wambach. Grove says being drafted by the Flash and now being the second local girl on the team is a thrill.

Grove said, “My best friend and I followed her everywhere she played, Philly, Atlanta, the whole east coast. We would see her play, this is a huge honor.”

Friends, co-workers and competitors realizing the same dream. One will stay home, the other will fly to the other side of the country. Both role models for the next generation.

Grove said, “They've been asking if we've heard the little girls are so excited.”

Shufelt said, “We both coach little girls and want to share our knowledge with younger players they hope to be where we are someday.”

Both Shufelt and Grove get ready for the start of training camp which begins in a month. Shufelt says she looks forward to the Portland-Flash game at Sahlen's Stadium this August. That's when fans will have three locals to cheer for!