Tori Dillard named to USA D3 Scoccer Team

Posted on March 26, 2015 1:02 PM

Centre College soccer player Tori Dillard was recently named to the roster for the USA D-3 Women's Soccer Team on its Brazil Tour 2015, where she and a select group of top Division III players will play four matches in Brazil this summer.

Dillard, a sophomore defender from Bowling Green, received the selection after a season in which she was named Southern Athletic Association Defensive Player of the Year and selected as First Team All-SAA. Led by Dillard and others, the Colonels went on a late-season run that culminated with a 16-6-3 overall record, a third straight SAA Tournament championship, and a trip to the Elite Eight round of the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history.

Tori is the daughter of Russellville High School graduate Shelly Smith Dillard and her husband Bob. She is the granddaughter of Shelby Piper of Logan County and Charles Smith of Manchester, Tenn., and the niece of Kelley Smith Steenbergen, who works at Logan Aluminum and Tim Smith of Bowling Green.

To have reached such a high level of academic excellence is an amazing accomplishment for Tori Dillard. In fact, for her to be alive is extraordinary.

She weighed a 1 lb. 13 oz. when she was born,” Steenbergen recalls. “It’s amazing she endured no birth disabilities. They called her Tiny Tori and a miracle baby. We remember how hard she had to fight to live the. I recall so many times in the months she was at Vanderbilt, doctors said she wouldn't live. She is a fighter and that is why she is so strong and determined now. Not only is she an exceptional athlete, but she is academically strong at Centre.

Dillard was also an excellent softball player at BGH, much like her cousins, Griffin Joiner, who is in her fourth year as the starting catcher for the University of Kentucky, and Aeron Smith, who led Greenwood High School to a state championship and is now catchin for UT Martin. Another cousin, Chanler Steenbergen, was a key player on Logan County’s state quarterfinalist volleyball team in 2013.

As part of the USA team, Dillard will be joining a familiar face in Centre head coach Jay Hoffman, who was selected to lead the team in December.

"Tori is an amazing player who played such an important role in this season's success and the run to the Elite Eight," said Hoffman. "Tori has all the pieces that could make her one of the best players to have worn the Centre uniform. She is committed, hardworking and has a natural gift. I look forward to coaching her the next two seasons."

Dillard is one of 16 players selected for the team, which also features two other SAA players in Sissy Frank of Sewanee and Maggie Midkiff from Berry. The team will gather in Orlando, Fla. for two days of training before flying to Brazil, where they will play four matches around the country from May 28 through June 4. During the trip, the team will also participate in educational and outreach opportunities while visiting historical sites throughout the country.

"I am honored that she will be representing Team USA in Brazil," Hoffman added. "She will be a wonderful ambassador for our school and country."

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