Lauren Sesselmann is on a mission. Despite nursing a torn ACL, the Houston Dash defender and member of the Canadian National Women’s Team is determined to come back to compete for Canada in the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup. And she won’t settle for anything less than gold.
Growing up with roughhousing brothers in Green Bay, WI, she learned at an early age what it meant to be competitive. “My brothers were always pushing each other around and as soon as I was old enough I started to push them around too. I didn’t mind getting into fights or tackling.”
Lauren started playing soccer when she was 12, and continued to play in high school. She felt right at home in a competitive atmosphere. “I loved battling with the boys. At one of my first practices I threw a guy on the ground and scored a goal!” She went on to play for Purdue University where she set six records in points, assists and game-winning goals.
Over the years, Lauren has proved she’s more than just a pretty face—this girl-next-door beauty has earned a rep for being fierce on the field. “I’m not afraid to get hurt,” she says. “As a former forward, I know how to be aggressive and I use that in my defensive game.”
Scouts have always watched Lauren’s every move—not only because of her aggressive skills on the field, but with a father born in Newfoundland, Canada, she’s allowed to play both north and south of the border, making her a hot commodity.
“I’m a physical player—it just fits me. I love beating people up.”
How She Trains
Off the field, Lauren trains hard (her favorite workout includes sandbags and box jumps) and turns to Pilates for flexibility and balance—two important traits for her sport. Always one of the guys, she often trains with professional football players from Green Bay. “When you work out with other athletes, it pushes you harder. We have the same goals and do certain workouts for injury prevention.”
The team trainers have been there with her through it all. “I’ve had to learn to work out in different situations on the road in hotels and at airports; and with injuries,” she says. “People always ask how professional athletes train. It’s all about being adaptable and staying on top of your game.”
Going for Gold
After a controversial third-place finish at the 2012 London Games—one of the most-watched Olympic events in history—Lauren is looking forward to overcoming that heartbreaking 4-3 semi-final loss to their rivals, Team USA, when they take the field at the World Cup next summer. “We’ll be on top of the podium next year for sure.”
As for her gradually healing injury, she’s not the least bit concerned that it could take her out of the game. “There’s a lot of competition at the pro level—always someone looking to take your spot. But I’m not worried. I feel stronger and stronger each day.”
WEIGHT: 145 lbs
CAREER HIGHLIGHTS: 2012 Olympic Bronze Medalist; 2011 Pan American Games Gold Medalist; Sponsored Athlete; Host of Fit As A Pro DVD series.
FOLLOW HER: Instagram @Lsesselm; Twitter @lsesselmann
Written by Kerrie Lee Brown | Photography by Paul Buceta