Versatile Leader Alice Mercer is Exactly What U.S. Women's National Team Needs

PHOTO BY NICK IERADI


In January, Alice Mercer began a new job at The Field School in Washington, D.C., as a social and emotion learning coordinator and school counselor. It’s been her professional passion to help young people grow. 

Mercer, a defender on the U.S. women’s national team, teaches students from grades 6-12 at the small private school about self-awareness, social awareness, relationship skills, responsible decision making and self-management. Those pillars are the keys to understanding and identifying emotions. 

Those skills directly translate to the locker room, where Mercer is one of the respected leaders of Team USA.  

“Off the field, this line of work that I am in, it really impacts how I’m able to support and care for the people around me,” Mercer said, taking pauses to allow a muffled announcement over the school loudspeaker to finish. “It helps me understand when someone needs a kick in the butt or when someone needs a hug.” 

Versatile leadership like that is hard to find. On a team full of leaders, Mercer provides something unique to the mix. Reading the room and understanding situations is quite literally her life. 

On the field, Mercer’s vocal. She directs traffic on defense and communicates adjustments on the fly. Off the field, Mercer is compassionate and understanding. Megan Douty, who played with Mercer at Maryland and has since played alongside her in the U.S. system, learns from Mercer whenever they’re together. 

“What she does for a living is very unique and special,” Douty said. “We roomed together at the last training weekend, and she just had great perspective about the tryout process and being part of a national team.” 







A conversation with Mercer doesn’t intimate the type of on-field athlete she is. She’s tenacious — the same word Mercer uses to describe the U.S. defense as a whole. Mercer, Douty, Becca Block and Emma Trenchard are athletic, battle-tested and tactical. Best of all, they work off each other’s strengths and are there for relief on the rare occasions someone gets beat. 

“When breakdowns happen, you can feel very alone,” Mercer said. “Meg has always been that person for me. She’s so reliable. She’s consistent. She’s always doing her job. I never feel alone that out there.” 

Jenny Levy called Mercer “a freak.” She meant it in the nicest way. Mercer’s strong, long and can play aggressive, pressure defense or settled, system defense. Instinctively, Mercer knows exactly what to do and when to do it. 

It’s easy to see why her teammates look up to her. 

“She’s constantly reading the room and very honest with people — and very elite defensively on and off ball,” Levy said. “She’s a big communicator for us.” 

The World Lacrosse Women’s World Championship, which begins on June 29 in Towson, Md., is a grind. The tournament is a game-after-game, leave it all on the field type of event. When you’re getting the best another country can offer, that’s to be expected. 

Keeping mentally strong is paramount. Which means Mercer’s mere presence is an inherent advantage. 

“Everybody has mental health,” Mercer said. “It’s something I do think about when I’m with the team, whether we’re playing, communicating or touching base out of practice.” 

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