F Hockey 10.04.17 1

Senior Spotlight: Field Hockey Defender Julie Lazlo

Would you be willing to cross an ocean to attend Monmouth University? It is not uncommon to spend a semester aboard but the thought of four years away from home is an intimidating prospect. Add in the challenge of playing a division one sport and the idea becomes even more daunting.

Meet senior field hockey defender Julie Lazlo, she not only took on that challenge but she has thrived. Born in Rotterdam, Netherlands, a major port city south of Amsterdam, field hockey has been a part of her life since the beginning. In the United States it is common to play basketball, football, soccer or baseball. In the Netherlands, you play field hockey.

“Back home everyone plays Field Hockey, all the people play it,” Lazlo said. “We played field hockey on the streets, with our clubs and I decided to play.”

One of the key differences between the Netherlands and United States in terms of progression through the system stems from the idea of clubs. In the Netherlands if you want to play in a structured environment you begin by joining a club and progressing through the levels as you age. High Schools do not compete against each other in sports and the only way to play is through a club.

“You do not play for High School, you only play for your club,” Lazlo said. “That is one of the biggest differences coming here. Here you play for your school where back home you play for your club. You never have the whole school experience with that.”      

Lazlo began by competing at the mini level and due to her skill, she was selected for the Victoria Club’s team. That meant that she competed in the premier league in the Netherlands and was a top-level talent. Through competing at this level Lazlo was exposed to idea of coming to the United States to play at the collegiate level. It occurred through a friend who played in the US for a semester.

“In my senior year of high school one of my best friends, who was a year older than me. She went to America to play field hockey for a semester and she said she loved it. I asked her how she did that. The process is, you find an agency and they help you out by making a recruiting video. Coaches see that video and if they like it you get contacted to play,” she said.

Lazlo proceeded to hire an agency and with their help produced a recruiting video. The coaches at Monmouth saw the video and she was invited to tour the school. Lazlo visited Monmouth with her dad and she was impressed with the school and the coaches. She decided that coming to Monmouth was the right decision and ran with the opportunity. 

Lazlo saw time immediately as a freshman and helped contribute to the team’s 13-8 record.  After an impressive freshman year, she was poised to become key cog for the team. However, her sophomore year was cut drastically short due to a foot injury. The injury was a major setback for her but she kept at it and pushed through.

“I had a lot of injuries and I thought I could not do it anymore. I learned that you can persevere and no matter what if you think you can you will. Also look for help you need, do not push people who want to help you,” she said.

Coming into her junior year Lazlo took her game to another level. She racked up countless player of the weeks and was named as the 2016 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) Player of the Year. She was also selected to the 2016 National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) All-Mid-Atlantic First Team and the 2016 NFHCA All-American Third Team and many others.

While Lazlo has the personal accolades that would make any athlete envious, she is most proud of her team.

“I am most proud of my team in general. The year before I came here they did not have a good year. The year after as a freshman we got to hop on the bus. We had to work hard but what they did as a team was impressive and now look at us. We have come so far as a team,” she said.  

The team has improved over the past four years and in large part due to the contributions of Lazlo. After a record setting 2016 season, the team is primed to defend their title as MAAC Champions with Lazlo as one of the key components.

As for the future, Lazlo is not entirely sure yet. As a finance major, she wants to eventually work in the business world. She plans on taking it as it comes and is enjoying the moment. One thing is for certain in her future however, no coaching.

“No, I still want to play field hockey back at home with a club. Coaching though, never, way too much work I really respect my coaches because of it but it is not for me,” she said.

In retrospect Julie is pleased with the results of her decision four years ago to come to Monmouth. As of right now she would not do anything differently and is living her life to the fullest.

“I would do it all again, I do not think I would do it differently because that is how I got here today,” Lazlo said.