Anna-Marie Popma finishes on top of Tualatin's all-time scoring list
HILLSBORO - It all started back in August of 2008, when an incoming freshman at Tualatin High School was looking to earn a varsity spot on the tradition-rich Timberwolf varsity girls soccer roster.
Three years, three months and 100 goals later, that incoming freshman from 2008, Anna-Marie Popma, finished her high school career as the top goal-scorer in school history, and she also finished as a state champ.
'This all makes me want to cry,' Popma said Saturday night following Tualatin's 1-0 victory over Sunset in the Class 6A girls soccer state title match held at Hillsboro Stadium. 'It's just an amazing feeling.'
An amazing feeling that was four seasons in the making - going back to the fall of 2008.
'I remember her coming in as a freshman saying she was going to make the varsity,' Tualatin coach Rossano Rocha said. 'I don't think everyone liked that, but I felt we needed players with confidence like that. And she backed it all up.'
Popma indeed made her mark as a freshman, earning first-team All-Pacific Conference honors in her initial year playing high school soccer.
She again earned first-team all-league honors as a Tualatin sophomore. As a junior, the honors got greater as Popma was tabbed the Pacific Conference Player of the Year in addition to being a Class 6A all-state first-team pick.
This year, Popma repeated as the Pacific Conference Player of the Year. It would also likely be safe to consider her to be one of the favorites to be named the Class 6A Player of the Year.
But there was some adversity to overcome before all of the records and honors came to be.
Popma entered her senior season with 77 goals scored, putting her 20 goals behind former Timberwolf standout Courtney Verloo, who sat atop the school's all-time leading scorer list with 97 goals.
The 2011 season started off well enough, with Popma scoring four times in the Wolves' season-opening 8-0 win over Hillsboro.
The goals kept piling up. By the time Tualatin bested Newberg 6-0 back on Oct. 6 for its ninth-straight win to start the season, Popma had 20 goals on the season, putting her in a tie with Verloo atop the Tualatin scoring list.
But, in the Wolves' next match, at home against McMinnville on Oct. 11, Popma was pulled down to the turf in the opening moments of the contest and she suffered a broken collarbone. It was thought that her senior season was likely over.
Meanwhile, the Tualatin team didn't seem to miss a beat, as other players stepped up their game to fill the void.
'Everything happens for a reason,' Popma said. 'I think the injury may have helped the team.'
But, meanwhile, Popma was still hoping to get back on the field. Then, on the morning of Nov. 8, the same day Tualatin was scheduled to host Canby in a state playoff second-round match, Popma received doctor's clearance to resume playing. She didn't start, but played in the Wolves' 2-1 win over the Cougars that night.
Then, on Nov. 12, in a quarterfinal match at Southridge, Popma scored a pair of goals late in the Wolves' 4-1 victory, giving her a school-best 99 career goals.
But the legacy wasn't complete. There was still a state championship to win.
And, of course, the Wolves did that Saturday with their 1-0 victory over Sunset in the title match. The only goal of the contest came on a penalty kick by Popma - her 100th career goal - coming with 29 minutes and 22 seconds left to play in the contest.
'Honestly, No. 98 was all I dreamt of,' Popma said. 'But to get to 100 here, and to get to triple digits made it huge.'
'Her four years here meant a lot to the program,' Rocha said. 'She came in with huge shoes to fill, but her work rate since Day 1 has been amazing. She's been something special.'
Popma will now get the chance to do something special at the next level, as she has signed to play college soccer at Boise State University.