Yael Like a Girl: Lindsey Horan discusses breaking the mold of US Women in soccer

Image courtesy of leParisien.fr

This summer, when 18-year-old Lindsey Horan signed a three-year deal at Paris Saint Germain, she became the first female American player to “go pro” straight out of high school. With a full scholarship offer from dynasty program UNC and the opportunity to represent her country at the U20 World Championship, she opted to head to France to begin her professional career. The decision was not only unprecedented, but raised many questions and a fair share of skepticism in the women’s soccer world.

From her apartment just outside of Paris and in between sessions with her new professional club, Lindsey took the time to answer some questions about her decision and experience at PSG so far.

Yael Averbuch: When did you first decide that you wanted to be a professional soccer player? Who were some of your biggest influences in achieving that goal?

Lindsey Horan: Around freshman year of high school I started thinking of what it would like to just become a pro. I didn’t actually think it was possible until the time came. I spoke a lot with my coach, Tim Schulz, about the idea. I told him that would be my dream. I would have to say he has probably helped me the most in this process. Of course my parents were also very supportive and big influences on me, but I can truly say I don’t think I would be the player I am today with out Tim.

YA: You had the opportunity to train at Lyon last summer for two weeks. How did you arrange that? What was the experience like?

LH: My coach, Tim, had set it up with a few of his contacts to go over there to train with the team in mid August. The experience was amazing. I went through one week of their preseason up in the Alps, which was very interesting, and was able to train with them for another week. Lyon makes up around 3/4s of the full National Team for France so it was incredible to play with that caliber of players.

YA: Talk about your decision to go pro rather than playing in college. What was the hardest part about the choice for you? When did you first consider not playing for a college team?

LH: Last year was my first opportunity to go pro. Lyon offered me a contract to play with them, and I decided that it would be best for me to finish out high school and come back to it at the end of the year. So, the whole year I spent stressful hours thinking about what my decision would be at the end of the year. It was probably the hardest decision of my life so far. I think UNC is the best college out there and was the best college for me to go to, but my dream was to play professional and the opportunity in front of me was not one I could turn down. I appreciate everything Anson and UNC did for me and my heart is still with them.”

YA: Why did you choose France and specifically PSG? Did you explore the option to play elsewhere in Europe?

LH: The PSG offer was the first one I received this summer. Lyon did not have any other foreign spots available, and the offer I received from PSG was great so I went with it. I didn’t really explore playing anywhere else at the moment because I knew that French soccer was amazing and would be very good for me.

YA: What were you most nervous about before moving to France?

LH: I was a little nervous about being so far away from home and also not knowing the language was a factor!

YA: Describe your initial impression of the level and how it compares to your youth club, youth national teams, and playing environments you’ve been a part of in the past.

LH: This team is very good. The players are incredible. It is a bit of a step up for me, just because it’s a much higher level of soccer playing professionally. The players are more intelligent. The game is such a faster pace and everything is just a step up from before. Everyone is smarter, stronger, quicker, and more decisive. But the style that PSG plays is much like my club at home, Colorado Rush, which is great.

YA: What has been the biggest adjustment so far for you in terms of life as a professional player?

LH: At the beginning it was just hard adjusting to living here on my own. I was not playing for a few weeks so that made is very difficult for me. After I started training everything was much easier. I was happier and it made everything better for me. The whole French lifestyle is very different from the American lifestyle so that has also taken a bit to get used to.

YA: Describe your first pro goal in your debut game for PSG! What was going through your mind during and after?

LH: Well it was not the prettiest goal but I was very excited about it! My teammate got it out wide and I sprinted towards the near post and kind of slid to hit it in. I was just happy I could provide a goal for my team and it was cool that it was in my debut! After the game I was just excited that we won.

YA: What is your life like in Paris? Do you live alone or with teammates? What do you do in your spare time? You can include anything really.

LH: Paris is amazing. My roommate, Annike Krahn, and I live in an apartment in Saint Germain en Laye. This city is amazing is has everything–markets, movie theaters, shows, restaurants, etc. I have taken the train to Paris many times, which is very cool. I have not seen everything in Paris yet so I will find some time to do that, maybe once my parents visit!

YA: Who is your best friend so far on PSG?

LH: All the girls are awesome. There is not one in particular, but I do hang out with many of the players (especially the ones who speak English).

YA: Which player(s) have impressed you most?

LH: There are a few that have stood out to me. I have known Shirley Cruz for a while now but she is always amazing to watch and play with. I also love playing with Laure Boulleau, who is on the French National Team. She is a very intelligent player and reads the game well.

YA: Talk a bit about your decision to get surgery (scope knee surgery) to be ready for the season with PSG and miss out on the U20 World Cup.

LH: The decision to get surgery was, I think, in my best interest at the time. I don’t think I would have been able to perform like my true self in the World Cup, and I could have re-injured it if I tried to play on it. I did not want to hurt the team in any way so I thought it was best for me to get the surgery. I was devastated for a while but I am just happy to know my team won the World Cup. It’s an amazing achievement.

With a goal and an assist in her debut game, Lindsey Horan has proven that she is more than ready to be a professional player. Will her success at PSG set a new precedent for female players in America? Perhaps the U.S. will join the rest of the women’s soccer world, where it is commonplace for high-school-aged players to play on professional teams. Lindsey Horan may not have just broken the mold—she may have created a new one all together for other elite female players in the U.S.

Listed on Soccer Blogs

Posted in: France, PSG, USA, Yael Like a Girl

Post a Comment