Canadian Ashley Lawrence in France, looking for apprenticeships for “a unique moment”


At 24, Ashley Lawrence is the reigning Canada Soccer player of the year – an influential back / midfielder who has already won 91 caps for her country.

But the Paris Saint-Germain player has something else in mind these days.

“This is definitely a unique time in which we live,” she said in Paris. “For me during this time, I am still someone who is trying to practice gratitude and really see what I have. I think it’s really more of an eye opener to be at home indoors for such a long period of time. that makes you think.

“For me, it’s recognizing that staying inside is so important. It is difficult for many people, some more than others, but it is a sacrifice that will help us in the long run. I think there’s money doubling that for everyone and there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. Staying inside saves lives and it’s true. “

Lawrence, originally from Brampton, Ontario, chose to stay in France at the start of the pandemic.

“I thought it might last a few weeks and the season would start again,” she said. “And now it’s obviously much longer than that. “

Another important factor was that she lives with her boyfriend. If she had been alone, she said she would probably have gone home. PSG forward Jordyn Huitema and Lyon defender Kadeisha Buchanan, Canadian international compatriots, are back in Canada.

France has been hit hard by the virus. Life has changed.

“Right now, we’re at a point where it’s pretty tight,” said Lawrence.

She can leave her house to go shopping and buy basic necessities, but otherwise she is limited to one hour a day outside and must carry a document indicating when she left and why.

“So it’s very strict, but for obvious reasons,” she said.

There are “huge” queues in stores, exacerbated by the need for social distancing and the limits on the number of people inside. The good news is that Lawrence lives in the Paris suburbs, so the situation is slightly better than in the city center.

Lawrence, who runs occasionally, eats healthily. Her boyfriend studied nutrition.

PSG gave him an indoor training program, as did the Canadian national team. Canada has also hosted webinar sessions so that she can train with her teammates and the national team strength and conditioning coach.

“I think it’s great for the motivation and to see that we are all in the same position in different parts of the world,” she said. “(After) reporting the news of the Olympic Games, collectively, we are still working towards a goal and that is the competition (from Tokyo) – but also our personal development every day. So it was really nice to have this support. “

Another reason why she chose to stay in France was that Paris Saint-Germain was facing a crucial period in its calendar. Second in the French Championship, PSG (13-1-2) had to face Lyon at the top of the classification on March 14, Bordeaux in the semi-final of the Coupe de France on March 21 and Arsenal in the first leg of the Ligue des quarter-final champions on March 25.

“This is definitely a critical time for,” said Lawrence, who joined PSG in January 2017 after a successful college career in West Virginia.

With Paris Saint-Germain just three points from Lyon (14-0-2), the shock from the top of the table was significant.

Lawrence has played in various roles with Canada, from the back wing to the wing and the central midfielder. With PSG, she played on the left side – as a back and wing.

She feels comfortable in both roles but says she likes to play in the left back, which allows her to attack on the flank or cut inside and use her right foot.

“I think I can really add a lot to the back position and reinvent it in different ways,” she said.

These days, Lawrence is proud of the football community that is doing what it can to help during the pandemic, citing people like Portuguese Cristiano Ronaldo who stepped in to make his generous contribution.

But you don’t have to be a superstar to make a difference.

” A hand. I think that’s really what this is about, “she said. “It’s seeing a person and seeing how you can help them in any way, and make a difference. It’s a chain effect. “

Lawrence has been doing her part for several years via Yes She Canada, which she founded to help professional players reach young girls and coach them through sport “show them that they can believe in themselves, that their dreams are possible ”.

“As I continue to learn, I want to pass these experiences on to the next generation. “

His stay in France honed his skills in French, Lawrence saying that it is now the language used at home with his boyfriend.

“I had a hard time with this (at school). I would say that I was starting from scratch when I arrived in France, ”she explained.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on April 14, 2020.

Follow @NeilMDavidson on Twitter

Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press


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