The Canton Corner

Achieving Big Goals: Lilley Vesperman’s Journey to Lead Her Team to Victory

Achieving Big Goals: Lilley Vesperman’s Journey to Lead Her Team to Victory

by | Jul 5, 2023

Lilley Vesperman achieved remarkable success this past season as a canton prep soccer player, propelling her team to their second-straight Detroit metro area conference championship and setting a school record for the most goals scored in a season with 24. Despite her impressive accomplishments, Lilley remains focused on something far more important: having a solid group of teammates around her. She and her Chargers found themselves playing over half their games with only nine players on the field, and still managed to maintain a strong record of 7-2-3. Achieving success like this is thanks to the leadership provided by Sam Makki who started the program at Canton Prep six years ago.

Lilley Vesperman has achieved an extraordinary soccer season for Canton Prep, helping the Chargers win their second-straight Detroit Metro Area Conference championship and setting a school record for most goals scored in a season with 24. With her impressive accomplishments, it is no surprise that she is aiming to take on even bigger and better challenges, such as aiding her team in winning a Division 3 district championship and securing playing opportunities at the next level. Despite all this, Lilley remains focused on something much simpler yet far more important – having a team to play with. Her hope for the next spring is that she will have the opportunity to do just that.

With only eleven players coming out for tryouts this season, the Chargers found themselves shorthanded and playing over half their games with just nine players on the field, yet they still managed to pull off a 7-2-3 record. Lilley is proud of her team’s resilience and tenacity in the face of adversity and looks forward to achieving even greater success in the future.

She credits the program’s foundation to Sam Makki, who started the program at Canton Prep six years ago.

Despite having only eight players on the team, they chose to stay in the game and never give up. That determination paid off when they won their first league title in 2018-19. When Makki stepped away for a season to dedicate his time to the Lebanese Women’s team, Canton Prep struggled, not winning a single game. But things turned around when two of the team’s players, Delaney and Versperman, went to plead with Makki to return to coaching the Chargers’ girls team. He agreed, and the team is now back on its strong trajectory to success.

Under Makki’s leadership, Delaney set a school record for most goals scored in a season with 22. They went undefeated during the regular season and only lost the district tournament to Catholic League power Wixom St. Catherine 3-0. This proud and positive team is on track to win their second league title in program history.

Lilley played a key role in the team’s success, often deployed on the back line to stop opposing attacks and sending through passes to Delaney. There were also times when Makki moved Lilley up to striker or into midfield to spark offense. Her set pieces from corner and free kicks often resulted in her scoring goals. It is no wonder that with Lilley’s help Nancy Chouman and Delaney achieved great things this spring, setting a school record for most goals scored in a season with 22 and leading the team to an impressive regular season undefeated streak, only losing the district tournament to Catholic League powerhouse Wixom St. Catherine 3-0. With such an impressive performance, this proud and positive team is on track to win their second league title in program history.

Lilley’s remarkable achievement of breaking Delaney’s scoring record, despite playing part-time on offense, is a testament to her undeniable talent. Had she been in the midfield from day one, as with her Wayne-Westland Arsenal travel team, it’s likely she would have scored 30 goals or more this past season, potentially even reaching 100 goals for her high school career – an astounding feat rarely seen in the modern soccer era. Coach Makki confidently believes that Lilley could easily play Division I college soccer if she keeps up her training. Despite losing three seniors, the team will never stop striving for success, and will always give their best effort – even with players who may not have had any prior soccer experience.

Lilley has been instrumental in the success of Canton Prep’s track team this school year. She not only competed in the 100- and 300-meter hurdles, but was also an invaluable member of the relay team. Her dedication to training for both soccer and track have paid off, as she is now seeking to recruit a few of her track teammates to join her on the soccer pitch next spring. It is clear that Lilley’s hard work and commitment to the program has earned her good faith among her fellow athletes, making her an excellent leader for the team.

With her drive and determination, nothing is stopping Lilley and Makki from pushing their team to a third consecutive championship title in the DMAC.

Lilley Vesperman‘s success this season is a testament to both her hard work and the supportive culture that Coach Makki and her teammates have developed. In spite of their shortage in numbers, the Chargers managed to fearlessly sweep through the competition and become MSAC champs for the second time in a row. With aspirations that reach beyond her own heroics, Lilley hopes to bring greater successes to her team in the coming seasons and relish whatever successes or challenges might come along in the goals ahead.

Read More About Lilley Vesperman

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