Consistent, reliable Achterwinter

Published 9:47 am Thursday, January 25, 2018

For the past four years, Longwood University’s field hockey team has benefited from a defense brought to it, in part, by Dusseldorf, Germany.

Lil-Sophie Achterwinter made the trip from Germany to pursue her education in the U.S. and to continue a field hockey career that began when she was 5 years old.

Longwood’s athletics website notes that Achterwinter was a “four-time runner-up at the German National Championships including 2010 at the U14 level, 2011 and 2012 with the U16 squad and 2013 in the U18 championships.”

Email newsletter signup

The website added that she played for Düsseldorfer FC in the 2nd Bundesliga.

“I’ve always just played for a club, because we don’t really do high school sports back in Germany,” Achterwinter said.

She speaks English remarkably well, confirming that learning the language was a natural part of her education growing up.

And when she was in 10th grade, “I also went to school in England for three months,” she said, “so I think that helped…”

Her only exposure to the U.S. came when she was around the age of 14.

“I went with my family on a holiday trip to America before, so I kind of had been here, not exactly in Farmville, but I’ve seen how it looks,” she said.

Her first time on the East Coast came when she began her freshman year at Longwood.

As for what sold her on the school without an in-person visit, Achterwinter said, “I looked (it) up online, I liked the location, so to say, I really liked how the campus looks like, and I’d say my coach definitely played a big part in it because I was Skyping a couple times, and I got along with him really well…”

Longwood Field Hockey Head Coach Iain Byers said “Lili has been an amazing servant for the field hockey team, her personal growth over her four years has been something we can build the defense around. She is one of the most consistent, reliable players I have ever coached. Off the field she is exactly the same. She brings intelligence, kindness and a drive to succeed in everything. As a leader and a person she is going to be hard to replace and will be greatly missed.”

Achterwinter said she is probably headed back to Germany after graduation, where she can still play field hockey for a club. She will also prepare herself for the CPA exam.