Having made the move from West Virginia University straight to PSG the young defender faced not just a step up in terms of competition but a huge lifestyle change packing up her bags to relocate to France.
“I’m settling well, in terms of football, training is great; very technical as I expected and it’s challenging me but I love it because I know every day I’m growing as a player. And of course, it’s a beautiful place to be and live in, and of course everyone has been really welcoming. It’s been a great adjustment so far,” She continued, “I came straight from university in America and just coming here, the culture has been one of the biggest changes because it’s football. So, the whole country embraces it; women, men, children, everyone.”
With football rather low down the list of sports that capture the national imagination in North America, Lawrence is far likelier to bump into someone doing keepy-uppies in Paris than running around with an ice hockey stick, “Even when you’re walking you’ll just see someone with a ball at their feet so it’s pretty nice to just be in a country where my passion is everyone’s passion. It’s cool to be here, I went to the PSG-Barca’ game at the Parc des Princes and it was amazing just to be in that atmosphere – I’ve never been to a professional game like that, it was very cool.”
Born and raised in Toronto, Lawrence might not have grown up speaking French like her countryfolk in Quebec but having learnt the romance language in school, Lawrence is fast on her way to maîtriser le dialecte: “I get asked it a lot but my French isn’t bad actually, I took it when I was a kid but now being immersed into it has helped me so much, in just a few months I’ve improved.”
Eyes on Cardiff
When we spoke, Lawrence’s PSG had just navigated a home match against Bayern Munich and were heading into the semi-finals against Barcelona, a tie that the Parisiens navigated with ease. But how was she finding life in Europe’s most elite competition?
“Amazing. I mean, it’s every footballer’s dream to play in the Champions League, you get to play against the best clubs in Europe and to advance to this point, it’s amazing for us because we’re a talented team and we should be here. I’m excited to just continue along this journey and of course our goal is to make it to the final.”
With her career and education having followed the same path as international teammate and close friend, Kadeisha Buchanan, Lawrence had moved to PSG as Buchanan signed for Olympique Lyonnais. Having played together for much of their lives, the pair were set to face an unusual scenario as they came head-to-head in the league for the first time, a match that would be replayed a week later as the Coupe de France final.
Ready to face off once more this Summer, PSG will be meeting Lyon for a third time inside of three weeks on Thursday. Lawrence and Buchanan set to square off once more, though it’s still a strange prospect for the 21 year-old has nothing but the highest respect for her fellow Canuck and the entire OL team, “I guess you could say it’s strange but it’s exciting, we’ve played on the same team the majority of our football careers, we’ve never really been on the opposite ends but I think she’s a world class player and Lyon’s a world class team."
She concluded, "When you get to this level, every team is great and I’m excited to move forward because it’s going to be a competition, a challenge but you have to beat the best to become the best and that’s what we’re going to do.”