Althoff vs. Belleville West girls soccer

Belleville West's Courtney Vollmer kicks the ball during a Metro Cup Nike bracket pool-play game against Althoff on Thursday, March 14, 2019 at Althoff High School in Belleville, Ill. Paul Kopsky,

Courtney Vollmer is returning to her home away from home.

Vollmer, a recent Belleville West graduate who is currently in preseason training with the SIU Edwardsville women's soccer team, will get one more chance to play club soccer with some familiar faces.

When she and her Lou Fusz 2000-Elam team, based in St. Louis, take part in the U.S. Youth Soccer National Championships in Overland Park, Kan. next week, Vollmer will feel right at home.

Her final run with Lou Fusz this season comes after a brief stint with an Illinois squad.

“I was on Fusz team before a couple of years before,” Vollmer said. “There were three or four girls from Illinois and we rode together on a team and that team combined with (Elam's) team. After awhile, I went with an Illinois team. It wasn't with level I wanted to play at so I came back over here and it's the right decision for me.”

Fusz coach Mike Elam said that Vollmer, who can play a holding center midfield, an outside back or a center back, has been a welcomed addition.

“We're happy to have her come back,” Elam said. “We understand the reason she left was due to proximity of where she was. We were absolutely ecstatic to have her back. She never left on bad terms and the feeling (of the desire for a reunion) was mutual. There were chances for her in Belleville and we respected that. We're very glad to have her back.

“She's a very versatile kid. She's there for the team and believes in nothing but hard work every time she plays. She's a valuable person, that's for sure. She's a professional, as a young woman. She works so hard in practice. She's a tough competitor and she really brings a lot. She's a quiet professional. She's not the captain, but she's a leader through her actions.”

Between the work she has put in with her teammates and the preseason conditioning she's done at SIUE, Vollmer is raring to keep her soccer career on a roll.

The 5-foot-6 midfielder is coming off a first-team, all-Southwestern Conference selection season at West. She was also named a member of the USYS Midwest region Best XI for her play during the club season.

Vollmer scored three goals and added a pair of assists in her final season with the Maroons.

“I feel real confident going into college,” Vollmer said. “The versatility is going to help me going into college. It feels great that I can play just about anywhere. I'm most comfortable at center back. It's the position I've played the most, the longest.”

Lou Fusz will open play at 7 a.m. Tuesday against Legends FC (Cal.) in the tournament, which conclude Sunday, July 28.

“We've done a real great job bonding as a group,” Vollmer said. “It's been fun. On the field, we all work hard and make each other better as a group.”

Elam's teams have come and gone, but the core of this current crop of players has been together for many years.

“We're going to do a scrimmage with a Fusz team on Saturday,” Elam said. “We're working hard (to prepare). We start very early. We're playing at 7 a.m., so hopefully it will feel like a 5 a.m. game for a team from California. We've had this team (largely) together since we were under seven. I honestly couldn't have had this end any other way.”

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