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Pfeffer juggles college classes, soccer championship

Ashley Pfeffer has been an unsung hero on the Archbishop Ryan soccer team this year. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Ashley Pfeffer doesn’t have a lot of free time.

The Archbishop Ryan High School senior is almost always on the move and she’s always pushing herself.

Her soccer career is quite challenging.

A starter since midway through her sophomore year, the midfielder has become one of the best players and leaders for the Ragdolls, who defended their Catholic League championship this year.

But as great as she is on the soccer field, she has even better credentials in the classroom and that’s what keeps her the busiest.

“Sometimes I don’t get home until 9 p.m. and because of that, I don’t get a lot of sleep with school and soccer,” said Pfeffer, who lives in Langhorne. “I’m a Diocesan Scholar, so I take classes at Holy Family, so I’m usually really busy, but it’s a good busy. I don’t mind being busy because I feel like I’m getting things done, school or soccer.”

Pfeffer’s academic career couldn’t be going much better.

She is in advanced placement classes at Ryan, and she takes two classes at Holy Family, psychology and biology. Despite the challenging courses, she gets great grades and is ranked 14th in her senior class of about 250 students.

But soccer is also going very well.

A center midfielder, Pfeffer isn’t flashy. She doesn’t score a lot of goals and she’s not one of the players you’re going to hear do a lot of yelling during the game.

But what she does do is play a key role in the success of Ryan.

According to Ryan coach Jon Geist, she always makes the smart play and her play was vital in helping the Ragdolls bring home the Catholic League championship.

She admits she isn’t very demonstrative on the field, but she always does her best to help lift the spirits of her teammates.

“We have leaders who are vocal, but that’s not how I lead,” Pfeffer said. “I try and do it by example. I don’t tell younger players to get water or things like that. I try to work hard and in practice on days before games, I’ll go as hard as I can and hope others follow me.

“I’ve never been very vocal. When I was younger, I would get nervous and I liked leaders who were more leaders by example, so I try to do that. I always try to do what I think I would want a leader to be. You have players who need both.”

Pfeffer believes the Ragdolls’ success has a lot to do with the makeup of the team, which went undefeated in Catholic League play this year.

There are plenty of stars on the team, but there are also a lot of role players who do their job. But the biggest reason for their success is the chemistry the team has developed over the years. It doesn’t hurt that they aren’t just winning, they’re having a lot of fun.

“The best thing about this team is we’re all so close, we’re all best friends and we’re like family,” Pfeffer said. “This team is closer than any team I’ve been on. We all play for each other and want to win together.”

For Pfeffer, this year may be her last playing soccer.

Next year, she wants to go to school and hopes to some day become a pediatric surgeon. That means taking a host of challenging courses in college, so there will even less down time for her than she enjoyed during her senior year.

“I have three younger siblings that I’m really close with, so I think I relate well with children and I really like science,” Pfeffer said. “Science and math are my favorite subjects, so medicine makes sense for me.

“I think (being a pediatric surgeon) would be a great career because you’re able to help people who really need it. You can help a child who needs to get better, and you can just help them feel better and live a healthy lifestyle. It will give me a chance to make a difference and help kids.”

Pfeffer couldn’t be happier with her senior season, but she admits giving up a game she loves will be difficult.

Pfeffer, who is also on the yearbook staff and the National Honor Society, will miss soccer, but she couldn’t be happier about the way her soccer career ended.

She’s going out a champ.

“This year was so perfect,” Pfeffer said. “I loved everything about it. It meant a lot to win it. I loved playing for Ryan and playing on this team. We’ll always be friends. It means everything that we won it this year. I’m so happy we were able to do it.”

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