The Tenacity Project prides itself on having incredible alumni who continue to uphold the values of “Tenacity” long past their time with us. In this case, international lacrosse player Lauren Goerz continues to show grit and tenacity nearly 15 years after her time as a “BearLaxer.” A Bay Area native, Lauren has lived all around the world–working to spread the sport of lacrosse wherever she goes.

Lauren is a member of the original BearLax crew from ‘08. She recalls barely having enough people to make a team and playing with people of all ages, including her younger sister. As a 2010 high school graduate, Goerz was recruited to play Division I by Theresa Sherry–the then head coach for Cal Lacrosse. For Goerz, it was a dream. She had originally joined BearLax to ensure that she would play in college. As a West Coast player in a nontraditional lacrosse playing area, getting seen by colleges was, and remains even to this day, a difficult task. “Theresa was offering what not many others were at the time: the chance to get recruited and train with the elite players in the west,” states Lauren.

Halfway through her freshman year at Cal, the unthinkable happened: Cal Berkeley cut the women’s lacrosse program. Theresa quickly helped her get connected and she transferred to the University of Virginia as a mid-year transfer student. “From my experience at Cal, people were there to play lacrosse and have fun but I wanted to win,” Goerz recalls as she recounts her decision to play for UVA. “I wanted to go somewhere to get better and to win a championship. I thought if I’m going to do it, let’s do it right.” Now, as a player in the highly competitive ACC, her team made it to the final four of the NCAA tournament during her senior year. “It was brutal to lose in a final four but as female lacrosse athletes at that time, it was the closest we could feel to being professional lacrosse players,” Lauren comments. UVA had upset Carolina to get to the final four and she had known it was going to be a solid fight. She describes the focused mentality needed to go up against incredible matchups like Kayla Treanor. As a girl from California, Lauren was grateful for the amazing experience she had playing as a Cavalier.

After graduating from UVA, Lauren had the opportunity to play lacrosse in the UK and Europe. In what she describes as a “quarter-life crisis,” Lauren moved to England and began working as the Scottish National Team Assistant Coach. Now the epitome of a global athlete, this decision then began her journey as a coach in a new nontraditional area. She traveled all around the Midlands in England to coach at various schools and eventually, began coaching at Durham University. There, she was able to join an American coaching program that allowed her to get her master’s in Management and led to her first job in Germany at IBM.

Lauren has lived in Munich ever since and played for Munich lacrosse for 7 years as well as for the German National Team in the last world championship. “Almost all of my friends today are women that I have played lacrosse with whether at Cal or UVA, or in England, Scotland, and Germany. Lacrosse has really pivoted my life in so many different directions and countries,” Lauren states when asked how the lacrosse community has affected her life. Her decision to transfer to Virginia and consequently, move abroad and learn a new language are essential moments in Lauren’s life that she can point to that have helped make her the person she is today. “Joining the Munich lacrosse club helped me fall back in love with the sport, the community, and the fun.”

Lauren also points to her coaching experiences as moments that have helped make her a better person. “Coaching internationally, and especially coaching women who were leaders in their career fields, helped me learn to adjust my style and have patience. If you can coach a lot of different people it really transfers to your life.” When asked about some of the biggest challenges Goerz has faced in the professional world, she emphasizes the importance of being an advocate for yourself. “As a woman in the work place you have to ask for what you want. Go out and get it!” Goerz credits Tenacity for kickstarting her whole lacrosse career. “Lacrosse has been the pivot point for my relationships and work and has truly been a priceless experience.” One thing she wishes she knew as a young BearLax player is that there is always a home for someone who really wants to play. If you want it bad enough, you’ll find your place. Whether that home is in your community, across the country, or even across the globe, the relationships created through lacrosse always stay with you.