U.S. Caps Training Camp, Kristen Carr's Inspiring Speeches, Dempsey's Progress


The rain poured down on Tierney Field as Kenzie Kent contorted her head, navigating an Oreo cookie from the top of her forehead down to her mouth.

Just 20 yards away, Belle Smith maneuvered the Oreo over her left eye, sticking her tongue out in hopes that she could catch the cookie for a quick victory — all while teammates like Taylor Cummings and Kristen Carr screamed out their support.

After a back-and-forth 13-12 Blue-White Game on Tuesday night, U.S. national team coach Jenny Levy preached a “casual competitiveness” to her players before a field day the next morning. She soon learned that no game is off limits — the women of the U.S. national training team want to win.

“We called it ‘casual competitiveness,’ but I don’t think this group is capable of that,” Levy joked. “We just wanted to have some fun, and we’re human, it’s one year out from the World Cup, July 4th week, so it’s good to celebrate the little things.”

The conclusion of the three-day national team training camp featured more than a few rain showers, with players soaked and smiling throughout activities like water balloons tosses, charades, passing footballs and shooting at a pinata hanging in the top corner of the cage.

Assistants Amy Altig and Alex Frank helped Levy plan the “Olympics,” which became one of the more eventful practices in recent memory.

Levy and her training team met for the second time in two weeks after not seeing one another since before the pandemic. After the tryout process in mid-June, a total of 36 players were invited for training this week.

The training team competed in two practices, culminating in the Blue-White Game in front of hundreds of fans at USA Lacrosse Headquarters. The scene — with fans lining the stands after the final whistle, hoping for an autograph from a U.S. national star — brought back a sense of normality and served as a glimpse for what the World Lacrosse Women’s World Championship could be like come next summer.

“Last night was awesome to see the stands packed with all the little girls,” Levy said. “That’s something I’ve been talking about with this group, is trying to inspire the next generation and really have great visibility for our athletes. I’ve always seen the power that this team can have. That’s been my No. 1 vision. They have earned the right to have that impact and have worked hard to have that impact.”

The skill displayed on the field Tuesday night wowed fans throughout the exhibition. Players needed a new set of skills to master the “Olympics” and be crowned a champion. The team “Ladies of Liberty,” eventually won the title, finishing the day with a laser from Dempsey Arsenault that knocked the pinata down to the wet turf.

Arsenault said she had an idea that this would be no ordinary practice, but she was prepared for the chaos that ensued.

“There were some rumors that we were going to have fun, but then we saw whiffle balls and balloons and we knew it was going down,” she said.

The U.S. national team experienced a heatwave with temperatures nearing 100 degrees, a raucous crowd for the first time since 2019 and a torrential downpour en route to building chemistry and preparing for the Athletes Unlimited season, which starts late next month.

“We had all the elements,” Levy joked.


Before every U.S. national team practice or game, shortly after stretches coordinated by Jay Dyer, players gather in a circle near midfield.

With arms adjoined, the members of the U.S. women’s national team are treated to a speech — and the oration typically coming from one player. Kristen Carr, the two-time gold medalist (2013, 2017) is the de facto voice of the women’s national team.

For Carr, an assistant coach at Johns Hopkins, being the vocal leader is a role she embraces, and she delivered several speeches this week at USA Lacrosse Headquarters.

Tuesday afternoon, Carr evoked memories of watching the U.S. Olympic Trials on television to inspire the national team in their pursuit of playing on the world stage. She harkened back to the gratefulness shared among the members of this team, given the 18 months they had been apart prior to this summer.

“When I was watching these athletes compete, you can see on their faces their determination to compete,” she said of the trials. “I couldn’t help but think of the work that is put in outside of the team. It got me very emotional, because we know what it’s like to put yourself out there and train when no one is watching. I thought that could be a good way to get people rallied up and excited for what was to come for us.”

Before the Blue-White exhibition on Wednesday, she delivered a passionate speech about the joy of playing in front of a crowd and the energy that the U.S. national team could take from that experience.

Her inflection rose on many occasions, eliciting head-nods and smiles of approvals from her teammates. “We finally get to play in front of people!” she exclaimed.

“I was feeling pretty amped,” she joked. “Looking into those stands and thinking of myself in their shoes years ago, everything came full circle for me all at once. I think our teammates felt the same way.”

Carr said she’s always been comfortable speaking in front of her teammates, but she studies the attitude of the team to conjure up the perfect words. Often, she touches on the opportunity to play for the U.S. national team. Occasionally, she raises her voice to meet the magnitude of the occasion — and this week, to drown out the sounds of Kygo playing on the loudspeakers.

“I do my best to get a pulse of the entire group, how we’re feeling, what the focus needs to be for the day,” she said. “I’m trying to figure out, what could be something that’s inspiring to help keep us going and pushing forward?”


Dempsey Arsenault made her U.S. women’s national team debut in November of 2018 at the IWLCA President’s Cup.

Then a senior at Boston College, Arsenault was quiet, but her play spoke to a potential that was noticed by coach Jenny Levy. She’s regularly appeared at national team events over the past three years, balancing a budding career in lacrosse with playing for her country.

Over time, Arsenault has grown more confident with her teammates, both on and off the field.  

“That moment was incredible. I just remember looking around and being in awe of everyone that I was playing with,” she said. “I looked up to them and being in their company was amazing. Now, getting to know them is an unreal experience.”

During a Wednesday morning practice, Arsenault darted through multiple lanes in a 6-vs.-6, half-field drill to the delight of assistant coach Joe Spallina — eliciting praise from the Stony Brook coach and a nod to her finishing ability.

One of the top midfielders in the country with Boston College, Arsenault blossomed in 2017 and finished her final two seasons with 129 combined. In two seasons of professional lacrosse in the WPLL, she continued to develop as an offensive threat at the highest level.

During the three-day training camp, Arsenault fit in seamlessly on midfield lines that included Taylor Cummings and Marie McCool. She scored twice in Team Blue’s victory over Team White in Wednesday’s exhibition game, and spent the better part of 30 minutes signing autographs.

“[During tryouts], I felt myself being in awe of playing again, whereas this time I was able to get my groove back a little,” she said. “I remember looking up and seeing these little girls just cheering and smiling. It literally just gave me chills. It was an amazing experience.”

Arsenault is growing more confident in her abilities and platform in this sport, and she’s only two years separated from college. Playing for gold in next summer’s world championship could help bolster that confidence tenfold.

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