PHOTO BY MIKE WALLIN

After its first practice in Poland, Team USA explored downtown Wroclaw, visiting the local market square for a taste of culture – pierogis.

Mission Log: Marie McCool on First World Games Practice, Exploring Poland


Milk soup, kielbasa and meat paste.

Can you guess where I am playing lacrosse? This is the Polish breakfast of champions. With over 50 countries participating in 37 different sports, our dining experience provides different languages being spoken and a taste of different cultures throughout the world.

After breakfast, we went over to the fields to check out the facility and have a quick practice. It was nice to get out on our legs after a few days off.

In the World Games, the rules are different including a smaller field and fewer players. The games are 10-on-10, only holding two attackers and two defenders behind the restraining lines (plus the goalies). Because of these new rules, we have some defenders and attackers playing midfield and Devon (our All-World Team goalie!) playing defense. Practice was exciting as we worked on adjusting to the new rules and helping out our teammates with their new positions. I knew our team was athletic, but today solidified that thought when I saw [defenders] Becca Block and Alice Mercer ripping shots and Devon Wills landing perfect checks during one-on-ones.

After practice, we met the Polish national team. This is their first year together and tomorrow will be their first international game. It was awesome to see how excited they were to watch us practice and meet us afterward. We started to ask questions about each other’s cultures, and of course, I was mainly interested in what the best food in Poland is. They answered by saying “dumplings,” or in other words, pierogies.  I was determined to find pierogies by the end of the night.


I knew our team was athletic, but today solidified that thought when I saw Becca Block and Alice Mercer ripping shots and Devon Wills landing perfect checks during one-on-ones.


Because practice was earlier, we were able to have the rest of the afternoon off to explore. We ate lunch and then decided to check out other events that were going on. The ones that interested us the most were waterskiing and wakeboarding. We hopped on the tram to get to the venue on the river, which included a cool beach-like area with music and food trucks.

While walking up, of course my eye found the ice cream shop, or “ladi” shop. This is when I realized one of the adjustments that one may have to make in a foreign country because all the signs were written in Polish. When I walked in the ice cream shop, I could not figure out what any of the flavors were. My only option was just to taste every flavor until I found that perfect fit! I was definitely was not upset about that. I am still not sure what the exact flavor of the ice cream I got was, but it was still delicious, which is all that matters! We sat in the beach chairs eating our ice cream and pizza before heading back to the dorms to get ready for the athletes party downtown.

The athletes' party was a fun experience with skim boarding, food stands, live music and more. Exploring a different part of town with them team was enjoyable. You would think that after spending 21 days straight together we may get sick of each other, but that is not the case. Each day, we have developed stronger bonds with each other which makes all of the experiences spent together one to remember. The Market Square downtown was beautiful and walking around with everyone was an entertaining way to end a long day.

 

Next stop,Wrocław, Poland

A post shared by Marie McCool (@mariemccool4) on

To conclude, the best part of my day occurred when I was back in my room working on this blog post. This moment was just one of the many reasons of why I have the best teammates. Megan Douty and Katie Schwarzman went out to dinner, and knowing my food obsession, they brought back a box of pierogies, which was then delivered to me in my room. They definitely did not disappoint and it was a great way to cap off my first full day in Poland! I am so excited to get back on the field tomorrow and represent the red, white and blue once again!

– Marie McCool
(Twitter: @mmccool454, Instagram: @mariemccool4, Snapchat: @mariemccool)








Player Profile

MARIE MCCOOL

Nickname: Mary
Years with the U.S. Program: 2
U.S. Senior World Cup Teams: 2017 (Gold)
Position: Midfield
College: North Carolina 2018
Honors: ACC Tournament MVP (2016), First Team All-American (2016-17), First Team All-ACC (2016-17), ACC Midfielder of the Year (2017), Tewaaraton Finalist (2017)
Hometown: Moorestown, N.J.
Current Residence: Chapel Hill, N.C.
Current Career: Student-Athlete

What does playing for Team USA mean to you?

Playing for Team USA means that I am representing something bigger than myself. When I am out there, I am not thinking about the next play I will make or the next goal I will score, but instead, I am thinking about how I am going to make someone else better or the team better. Being a part of Team USA for the past two years has taught me so much about how to not only be a better player, but to be a better person. We are all working hard for something much bigger than ourselves. We are working for our country.




PHOTO BY ADY KERRY

Team USA practiced with new rules in preparation for the World Games, which will feature just 10 players on the field for each team.


When did you start playing lacrosse?

In third grade, I received a lacrosse stick for Christmas. I didn't even know what the sport was, but I went outside Christmas morning to have a catch with my dad and instantly fell in love with it.

What was your youth lacrosse experience like?

My youth experience was a lot of fun, and I was very fortunate to grow up in an area where lacrosse was big. My town was a huge lacrosse town, so I had many resources that helped me become successful for the future with the opportunity to start lacrosse at such a young age.

What other sports did you play in high school?

Soccer.

Who is your favorite lacrosse player?

Lyle Thompson. Although he is a men's lacrosse player, I like to watch videos of him and other players before games to get some inspiration and try to incorporate it into my game. He does crazy things with his stick work and it amazes me.

If you could have one song played after every time you scored or made a big play, what would it be?

"Space Jam" by Quad City DJ. I always loved the movie as a kid and this song makes me happy.

What is your go-to pregame meal?

My pregame snack is Goldfish and peanut butter M&Ms.

What is one thing you can't live without?

My shoes. I have an obsession with shoes.

What's one thing that always puts you in a good mood?

Food. I love food and trying new things, but ice cream definitely will always put me in the best mood.

What advice would you give young players who dream to reach your level?

My advice would be to play with passion and dedication. If you are dedicated and passionate about the game of lacrosse, it will drive you to want to be the best you can be. Also, it is very important to keep your stick in your hand as much as possible. Developing good stick work is very important for the game of lacrosse, and if you start at a young age and continue to practice, it can have a large impact on your game.

Follow the U.S. women's national team as it competes for gold in the 2017 Federation of International Lacrosse Women's World Cup in Guildford, England, and the 2017 IWGA World Games in Wroclaw, Poland. This "Mission Log" will continue throughout both events with each player providing insight on their journey.