As female athletes, we all have a passion for our sport. Unfortunately, injuries are often part of the game. Longstreth Field Hockey recently sat down with USA National Team Defender, Julia Young to discuss her recent injury and recovery. Her positive attitude and mental strength are inspiring.
Julia tore her ACL, medial meniscus, and sprained her MCL during the Pan American Cup last summer. She had ACL reconstruction surgery using a patellar tendon graft and a meniscus repair. Luckily, her MCL was able to heal on her own. Doctors think she’ll be able to be back on the field sometime in May.
“The hardest part of recovery so far was the first week,” Julia told us, “The pain was the worst I had ever felt and I honestly had no idea how I was going to get through it mentally.” The following month was frustrating, learning to navigate around on crutches and depending on others for help. “My recovery schedule is crazy – going to physical therapy 3 times a week and have at-home exercises. I also do upper body lifts 3 times a week and watch all the team practices.”
Team USA field hockey players and coaches have supported Julia throughout her challenging journey. They’ve continued to keep her involved. “The supportive team culture has helped me a lot getting through the mental challenges of this injury,” said Julia, “and makes me feel like I’m still out on the field with them every day.”
When faced with an injury that keeps you on the sideline for a while, it’s important to stay mentally tough. Julia suggests to give yourself time and don’t get discouraged if you are not healing as quickly as you’d hope. “Your body can do amazing things, but you have to give it time to heal,” advises Julia.
We asked Julia what she is most excited about once she is fully recovered. Julia says she can’t wait to get out on the field and be competitive again, and practice every day with her team mates. “You don’t realize how much you love to compete and play, until you can’t.” We wish Julia a quick, healthy recovery and can’t wait to see her playing field hockey again.
Longstreth Sporting Goods is proud to sponsor many of the U.S. Women’s National Team players. Visit the Longstreth Sporting Goods website to learn more about our sponsored Field Hockey players.
Ali Froede, a Longstreth Sporting Goods sponsored player, recently did a Q&A session with us on her experience at FIH Hockey World League Semi-Finals. Froede has been a member of the USA Field Hockey Women’s National Team since 2015, where she plays defense. She attended Miami University of Ohio, and while there, was awarded First-Team All MAC twice, as well as NFHCA All-West Region Second Team in 2014.
First things first, we had to know what her top three favorite moments on the trip were in regards to hockey, and playing in the tournament. She replied that her favorite memory was, of course, winning! She elaborated and said, “This was the first time we have ever won a quarterfinal game – let alone make it to the finals and win.” Her second favorite moment was the thrill of her first major tournament. She said that South Africa was a lot of fun to play in, and that the environment itself was great. Lastly, she recalled that one day at practice two boys were standing at the fence watching them. She said that the team then invited them to play around, and also gave them USA pinnies and sticks, which the boys were super excited about.
We were also curious as to how the team moved past the losses to Argentina and South Africa. We wanted to know if it made things more difficult, or if it made them work even harder. Froede explained that losing to Argentina was not as bad as losing to South Africa. She gave her reasoning when she said, “One, they were the host nation so with that brought a huge supportive crowd that made themselves heard. Two, we felt that we could have definitely won that game, but let exterior factors inhibit us from playing our game – like the refs and the crowd.” In order for the team to get back on track, Froede said, “As a team, we came together and got back to our basics. We are constantly focused on ‘doing our jobs’ – a staple we often remind ourselves to do, and we started playing UN1TED, which ultimately started us in the direction of the finals.”
Many new players have been added to the USA Field Hockey Women’s National Team, and we were curious how that affected their game. Froede said, “A focus of the tournament was learning how to play together with new faces. As one of the newer players, it was a great experience to play so many games and gain confidence in myself and my skills on the field.”
There are a bunch of neat things to see in South Africa, that you can’t typically see here, so we wanted to know what fun adventures the team went on while they were there. Froede said that on the last day they were in South Africa, they got to go to a lion park. “My favorite was playing [with] and petting the baby lions!” said Froede. “They were so cute and fluffy, and it was amazing getting to touch an animal you normally don’t get to see that close! We also got to feed giraffes, see zebras, wild dogs, and wildebeests. It was a great way to end the trip.”
As the Pan American Cup approaches, we wanted to know what the team has learned from this experience in order to have further success in Pan Ams. Froede graciously responded, “We learned that we perform our best when we focus on our individual jobs, and play together and UN1TED. Going into the PAC we are going to take one game at a time and focus on our jobs for the moment.” Although playing in South Africa was fun, Froede is looking forward to playing in front of a home crowd for the Pan Ams.
Longstreth Sporting Goods would like to congratulate the USA Field Hockey Women’s National Team on their extraordinary win in the FIH World Hockey League Semi-Finals, and wish them further success in the Pan American Cup. Visit the Longstreth Sporting Goods website to learn more about our sponsored Field Hockey players.