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ST. LOUIS – St. Louis native and former Saint Louis University women’s soccer player Maddie Pokorny is moving to the Champions League with her team HB Køge in Denmark.

Pokorny’s team finished first in Denmark’s top league, Kvindeliga, this spring allowing them to bypass the first round of the Champions League. HB Køge’s first Champions League game will be played in August.

Her start in soccer is one that many in St. Louis are familiar with, CYC Soccer. Pokorny played for Holy Redeemer and her skills developed as she rose through the ranks of the St. Louis soccer scene. She then played for Lou Fusz Soccer Club and Webster Groves High School. As a college student, she was a member of the Saint Louis University women’s soccer team for the 2015 to 2018 seasons. In her senior season, the Billikens won the Atlantic 10 Championship. In the championship game, Pokorny scored three goals against VCU.

Once her time as a Billiken came to an end, she tried out for the Chicago Red Stars of the National Women’s Soccer League. She made the reserve team, then she was moved up to training with the first team, and eventually became an international replacement player.

Red Stars head coach Rory Dames then thought Pokorny should get some professional game experience in Køge where the new team was starting out in Denmark’s second league and working to promote to the top league, Kvindeliga.

She said the original plan was to do this, and then come back to the Red Stars.

“But then COVID hit,” Pokorny said. “No one really knew with the NWSL what was happening and HB Køge ended up offering me a two-year contract.”

She said she is really enjoying her time with HB Køge on and off the field. She has another year left on her contract with them.

“The team is, yes we’re good on the field, but the dynamic is just so special off the field, and those girls are incredible people,” Pokorny said.

HB Køge begins playing Champions League games in August, and Pokorny said she is excited to experience other styles of soccer.

“There’s so much out there and the only way I’m going to grow individually and as a team is going outside of our comfort zones, playing against teams we’ve never even seen before,” she said.

Pokorny has continued to support her teammates from her Billiken days. She said she was rooting for them at 2:00 a.m. Denmark time as she watched the A-10 final live.

“My heart will always be with the Bills, and I’m so excited to see where Katie [Katie Shields, SLU women’s soccer head coach] takes the team in the future because she’s already done such a crazy good job,” Pokorny said.