Ashley Lawrence Interview on Women’s Soccer United.
Ashley Lawrence: “I could not pass up the opportunity to join one of the top European clubs”
At just 21 years-old, Canadian international Ashley Lawrence already has one of the most impressive football careers behind her and the ambitious midfielder is only just getting started!
It was a great privilege to get to know one of the most promising young talents in women’s football today and to explore her incredible career to date in more detail. Lawrence’s achievements so far within the sport include appearances at all the major tournaments from youth to senior level, including winning Bronze at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. At club level, Lawrence has recently made the move to one of the biggest teams ion Europe, PSG, where she is set to make appearances in the prestigious UEFA Women’s Champions League and has already played in the Coupe de France Femenine. Fuelled with talent and the drive to make herself the best she can be, she certainly is one to watch.
In an exclusive interview with Women’s Soccer United, Ashley Lawrence discussed her recent move to the top European club Paris Saint-Germain, her experiences representing her country including what it was like to play a World Cup on home soil and Canada’s Algarve Cup 2017 hopes.
Women’s Soccer United: At club level, You recently made the move to the top French club, PSG. How did this opportunity present itself to you and what appeals to you the most about this new challenge?
Ashley Lawrence: Yes, it’s always been a dream of mine to be a professional footballer. Playing at college level was an amazing experience and naturally my next thought was NWSL. After representing Canada in the Olympics, PSG expressed interest and the connection was made. I could not pass up the opportunity to join one of the top European clubs. The level is very high and I know the challenge would help develop me as a player. Also to be able to compete in the Champions League is any footballers dream.
WSU: You made your debut for PSG on 8 January against Bourges in the Coupe de France Feminine, can you describe that first appearance where I believe there were around 4,500 fans in attendance?
Ashley Lawrence: At first I was nervous to be playing in my first professional game for PSG. Huge credit to Bourges on an unbelievable atmosphere. Fans never stopped singing from the first to final whistle. It was exciting to be on the field and getting a feel for my team and our style of play. Overall getting the win and celebrating with my teammates was a moment I will never forget.
WSU: What can you say about the current mood in the PSG camp?
Ashley Lawrence: The current mood is good. Every player understands the importance of the time we have together. There is a commitment to putting in the work, because we know what is at stake. The players are hungry and ready to do what needs to be done to win. It is a very supportive and professional environment and it’s nice to be apart of a group of players and staff that will do whatever it takes to show support to one another.
WSU: You were just 14 when you joined the Canadian youth program, representing Canada at the U-17 Women’s World Cup (2010 & 2012), CONCACAF Women’s U-17 Championship (2012), U-20 Women’s World Cup (2014) and the Pan American Games (2015)! How important is it for a player to gain international experience at a young age and develop skills at these kinds of tournaments?
Ashley Lawrence: To me, it is extremely important for players to gain international experience at the youth levels. To be able to play among your own age group is enjoyable because you are competing with your friends that you grew up playing with. On the developmental side, it’s key for players to gain confidence in their own abilities and learn from mistakes made on a smaller scale. The leadership learned from the youth can be translated into the senior environment, where players will take a different role to the older players.
WSU: At 17 you made your senior debut, now still at just 21 years old you have already earned 46 Caps for your country, scoring 4 goals, winning silver at the 2016 CONCACAF Women’s Championship, first at Algarve Cup and a Bronze medal at the Rio 2016 Olympics! What personal targets have you set yourself for this season and the future?
Ashley Lawrence: Looking back I am grateful for all the wonderful memories football has given me. As I look forward with Canada, we have accomplished so much and continue to push forward. We have the confidence and ability to win the Algarve again and are looking to be number one in the world. We have both the ability and mindset to be world champions and Olympic gold medalists. My goal with PSG was to join a team who had the potential to win a championship while doing my part in making a difference, we have the ability to win the Champions League and what a feeling that would be! For me, I want to keep challenging myself and progressing in the right direction. At times that is recognized with accolades, but my sole focus is improving everyday and giving everything I can, to be the best version of me.
WSU: Was playing in the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup on home soil one of the high points of your career to date? What are your fondest memories from that experience?
Ashley Lawrence: Any footballer would dream to play in a World Cup on home soil. It was one of my most memorable moments in my career. To be able to play in front of friends, family at that level was really cool. Every game, the atmosphere was buzzing and I truly felt the Canadian spirit. Having Canada literally behind us is something I can’t put into words. Thinking about it now gives me chills.
— Andrew Jerell Jones (@sluggahjells) June 15, 2015
WSU: Canada will be defending their title in a couple of months at the 2017 Algarve Cup. What are your thoughts on your group opposition Denmark, Portugal and Russia – can Canada go all the way and win two years in succession?
Ashley Lawrence: Going into Algarve, we will have a plan and strategy like we always do. The other countries in our group are quality and we can’t take any of them lightly. There will be a target on our back since we won it last year, but our focus will be on our game plan and what we can control. It will take a lot of heart and grit to be victorious at the end
Former Brighton and Hove Albion and Sussex footballer. Working with Women’s Soccer United to increase awareness and promote the female game to a global audience.