'I WANT TO BE AN OLYMPIAN:' Central York grad again named to national field hockey team

Central York High School graduate Lauren Moyer, right, celebrates with teammate Erin Matson after the United States' victory over Chile in the women's field hockey bronze-medal match at the Pan American Games in Lima, Peru, Friday, Aug. 9, 2019. Both players scored during the game. (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)

Lauren Moyer has stepped on the field representing the stars and stripes more than 80 times, but the excitement she felt the first time she was selected to Team USA hasn’t faded away years later.

Moyer will get to enjoy that rush for at least the next two years after she was named to the 2021-22 U.S. Women’s Field Hockey National Team on Tuesday.

“The feeling never really gets old,” Moyer said. “It's an honor to be renamed to the team and I think representing USA Field Hockey on the international stage is something that I'm extremely grateful for and never take for granted. You always look for your name first on one of those lists, no matter how old you are or how experienced you are. It's an honor to be re-selected.”

The 2013 Central York High School graduate is one of a few players returning from the team that failed to qualify for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics in 2019. In addition to some fresh faces, the team also features a new head coach, Anthony Farry.

“This is the beginning of an exciting new era for the USWNT,” Farry said in a news release. “With the support of the field hockey community, we are looking forward to a period of growth that will lead to sustained success on the international stage.”

Moyer was excited to be one of the veteran players on this new team and wants to lead them to the success needed to get back to the Olympics in three years in Paris. The Americans finished fifth in the 2016 RIo Olympics, but Moyer wasn't on that team.

She said that a combination of using the struggles of the 2019 season as fuel and this new group finding its own identity will be key to reach the level of play the country is capable of producing.

Lauren Moyer in USA VS. Belgium in game 1 of a 3 game test series at Spooky Nook Sports Complex in Manheim, PA on 11/26/2018.  Mark Palczewski/USA Field Hockey Photo.

“I think it's gonna be a mixture of relying on past experiences, but also not staying stuck in the past,” Moyer said. “It's important to keep moving forward, but learn from your mistakes. I think part of this journey, creating a strong culture with all these new girls with the girls that are returning, will be a big difference maker for us. Getting everybody on the same page, creating team goals and going after it.”

Failure to qualify for Olympics provides motivation: While she didn’t want to put too much focus on previous performances, Moyer admitted she was motivated by the team missing out on this summer’s Olympics.

With the first chance to begin the qualifying stages in January, Moyer is excited to get to camp and start working toward achieving one of the few things she hasn’t done in the sport.

“Not qualifying in 2019 was almost derailing,” Moyer said. “That's what we worked for, and we didn't reach that. Upon reflection, during all of (COVID-19) quarantine, you sat there kind of with your own thoughts and you can go either way. I decided that's what I want from my career — I want to be an Olympian. I want to try to do this for as long as my body will allow me, I'm having fun and making a difference.”

Lauren Moyer in USA vs. England in pool play of the Vitality Hockey Women's World Cup at the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre in London, England on July 25, 2018.

Keeping focus on the field: As for her post-playing career, Moyer is undecided. She spent part of 2020 as a volunteer coach at her alma mater, the University of North Carolina, and could pursue a position on the sidelines in the future.

Moyer also created Become Uncommon, a company that offers field hockey training courses online and aims to grow the sport, along with her U.S. teammates Ashley Hoffman and Amanda Magadan.

But until the time comes that the national team roster is released and her name isn’t on it, Moyer’s focus is on the field and doing whatever it takes to get Team USA back to the Olympics in 2024.

“It crosses my mind every once in a while. I know that this isn't for the rest of my life, it's such a short time,” Moyer, 26, said. “I've been playing around with a bunch of ideas, but not taking anything off the table. All eyes on field hockey for the time being and kind of putting that maybe on the backburner, but also not ignoring the fact that I'm getting a little older but I think I still have some quality years left in my career.”

Reach Rob Rose at rrose@yorkdispatch.com.