Ellie Boon’s license has arrived. The Washougal High School senior national level soccer player is officially a Portland Pilot.
“Portland has been my dream school since I was little,” Boon said. “I remember rushing off the bus in second grade to watch them win the national championship in 2005. That’s kind of where it all started for me.”
Boon was already playing soccer by that point in her life, and dreaming big.
The 17-year-old grew up on the Vancouver Timbers United 95 team. On July 30, 2012, the Timbers defeated Eau Claire, Wis., for the U.S. Club Soccer U-17 Silver Division National Championship, in Waukegan, Ill. The game was tied 1-1 at halftime before Boon scored four goals in the second half of a 5-1 victory. She only saw limited action in the tournament due to a stress fracture in one of her legs.
“It makes it even more special when I do get to play,” Boon said. “My body is getting older. I have to make the most of every opportunity because I don’t know how much longer this will last. I could tear my ACL tomorrow and be done.”
Boon became a three-time 2A Greater St. Helens League Offensive Player of the Year for the Washougal Panthers. She was also named to the all-state team those three years. It broke Boon’s heart when she decided not to play high school soccer during her senior year, but she didn’t want to jeopardize this dream of becoming a Pilot.
“Back in my sophomore year, I played through two [strained] hip flexors and then had to go to national camp in two weeks,” Boon said. “It was the hardest decision I ever made in my life. I felt like I let my school and my teammates down.”
Boon held back tears watching from the stands as her teammates lined up to face league rivals Hockinson and Mark Morris. She was thrilled to see the Panthers fight into a playoff tiebreaker.
“I’m really proud of how hard these girls worked,” Boon said. “I’m sad I didn’t get my senior night, but I know it was the right decision.”
National College Signing Day was Feb. 6, but Boon was in the middle of a national training camp in Carson, Calif. She waited to make it official until Feb. 14, so she could sign in front of her friends, family and teachers at Washougal.
“It’s family here. I’ve grown up with these kids. We’ve been through everything together,” Boon said. “A lot of people [tease me] about my school. They say, ‘You’re from Washougal. They’re nothing.’ We work just as hard here as everyone else. When you have that family support and you’re part of a team, you can accomplish anything. That’s what we set out to prove.”
Boon said the opportunity to play soccer for the University of Portland is worth all the blood, sweat and tears. She wouldn’t change anything about the past, and she looks forward to making Washougal proud at a college close to home.
“It feels great to know I have a solid fan base and a great community cheering me on from across the river,” Boon said. “I want to thank my friends, family, coaches, trainers and teammates who have supported me every step of the way.
“A whole bunch of new obstacles are going to be thrown at me, I have to remember to have fun and enjoy the game,” she added. “If you’re not having fun, there’s no point in being out there.”