HEISER: Central York grad Lauren Moyer reaches new pinnacle in stellar field hockey career
- Lauren Moyer is a member of the U.S. Senior Women's Field Hockey Team.
- Moyer recently competed in her 50th cap (or match) with the senior national team.
- Moyer scored a goal in that game, a 2-2 tie vs. fourth-ranked Argentina.
Lauren Moyer's field hockey journey has taken her to nearly every continent in the world.
Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Chile, England, South Africa and Trinidad & Tobago are just some of the international stops the Central York High School graduate has made along the way.
It seems appropriate that Moyer recently reached a new pinnacle in her standout career in Cordoba, Argentina — a 5,000-mile trip from her York County roots.
Competing against one of the top teams in the world, Moyer participated in her 50th match (or cap) for the United States Women's Senior National Team.
Fifty caps is a major milestone for any American athlete playing for a senior national team, but Moyer made the contest even more memorable by scoring a goal vs. Argentina, a team that is ranked No. 4 in the world.
Moyer's goal (her second with the senior national team) helped the 12th-ranked Americans earn an impressive 2-2 road tie in their debut contest in the new Fédération Internationale de Hockey (FIH) Pro League.
"It was an unbelievable atmosphere to receive that honor ... and having our team play well and to our potential against a great team like Argentina made it even better," Moyer said.
In a new role: The 23-year-old Moyer has been a member of the senior national team since 2017, joining the squad shortly after it finished fifth in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Recently, however, Moyer has seen her national team role change.
"There has been a lot of turnover within the last year, and especially following the World Cup that ended back in August 2018," she said about an event where the Americans finished 14th. "I’ve transitioned from playing outside midfielder to center-mid, which has been an adjustment and challenge but one that I’m enjoying."
Moyer's coach with the U.S. team, Janneke Schopman, likes what she's been seeing from Moyer lately.
"As with every young player, Lauren’s development has had its ups and downs," Schopman said. "She needed some time to get used to the speed of the game as well as the ‘laws’ of international hockey. In the last couple of months she has shown a lot of growth, playing to her strengths and making an impact."
Coming a long way in a decade: Moyer started playing field hockey as a seventh grader. It quickly became apparent that she was a natural. By 2012 she was a member of the junior national indoor team. She later became an All-American for a powerhouse North Carolina program before earning her berth on the senior national team.
It's a journey that Moyer couldn't have envisioned just more than a decade ago when she was just learning the game.
"First of all I can’t believe that was a decade ago," she said. "I also would have never believed you if you told me this was my future. It’s really special to be a part of a team like this and something I don’t take for granted."
The future: Of course, Moyer's journey is nowhere near complete. At 7 p.m. Saturday, at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, the U.S. team has another FIH Pro League match vs. the Netherlands, the No. 1 team in the world.
That will be a major challenge for the Americans. Playing the Dutch, however, should bring back fond memories for Moyer. She scored her first goal for the senior national team vs. the Netherlands in January of 2018.
After the game in North Carolina, the American team will travel to California, Australia and New Zealand. They will return to their training base at Spooky Nook in Lancaster County for some home games at the end of March.
"Our big event aside from the Pro League will be the Pan American Games in Peru (this summer)," Moyer said. "This will be our first shot at Olympic qualifications, which is our top priority for 2019."
The Olympics? Making the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, naturally, is the ultimate goal for every U.S. field hockey player. The struggle to get there will not be easy. There are certainly no guarantees, either individually or as a team. Schopman, however, believes Moyer's leadership could be invaluable.
"Lauren is a fighter and a leader on the field, someone who can give direction to the team," Schopman said. "She is in the early stages, and she has a lot more growing in her, but when she steps up, it is visible and she makes an impact."
Enjoying the ride: No matter where her field hockey journey eventually takes her, Moyer makes sure to enjoy the ride.
"My experience so far has been nothing short of incredible," she said. "The staff and players make going to 'work' every day fun. I genuinely enjoy what I do on a daily basis. It’s hard work and not always glamorous, but we get through the hard stuff together, which has created a team culture we can all be proud to be a part of."
Moyer, on the USA Field Hockey website, says the best words of advice she ever received are this: "You'll always regret what you didn't do more than what you did."
Well, there's little doubt that Moyer has few, if any, regrets about her field hockey journey thus far.
Steve Heiser is sports editor of The York Dispatch. He can be reached at email@example.com.