However, the communication and understanding between Carler, the center back, and her teammates took some time to build.
She said: “In the Netherlands we are very direct, especially on the pitch. You communicate quickly and loudly, and everyone knows what is expected of them.
“When he came here[naar de VS]Came, everyone thought, “Dang, well, that’s what you want.”
It was team-building activities such as visits to cafes, movies, and game nights that helped Carler and her colleagues understand each other better. And she remembered an unforgettable road trip to Dana Point, California with the team. Although she’s never surfed before, she said “trying to catch some waves” was a great experience with her teammates.
Callie Darst, the young woman who played in the rear with Carlier, considers her a great role model. But in a team with many international players, serious conversations have to take place.
“I think at the end of the day it was about a conversation we had to have, like, ‘Hey, this is what we’re used to,'” Darst said of the different communication styles.
Winkworth said the Dutch could make a surprising appearance, but after the team understood Carler, they liked her.
“Laiski is a very experienced player, so when she speaks, her teammates listen,” he said.
The coach said it’s not just about the way she communicates with her team, but she also strives to understand her teammates and coaches.
Carler’s leadership, football skills, and experience playing in the Netherlands and the United States, with different football styles helped ASU achieve an 8-1-1 start to the season.
“At home, we focus a lot on tactics — technical skills — and less on the physical aspect, desire, and the culture around it,” Carler said.
The defender represented her national under-17 and under-19 national team, and in 2019 she played in the UEFA Women’s Under-19 Championship.
Winkworth said the Dutch defender still holds her own, but has adapted to the American style — playing faster and more physically.
But football was not the only modification.
Dutch is the official language in the Netherlands, but English, French and German are spoken in major cities.
Carler, a student at Arizona State University’s Barrett Honorary College who studies kinesiology, remembered how hard it was to attend her first English class. Although she attended English language courses in the Netherlands, it was difficult at first to read, write and formulate ideas in English.
Another adaptation was American food culture, which was very different from what she was used to — at least in some ways.
“The biggest difference is that we actually cook at home, and I feel like Americans eat out all the time. Or eat here and there,” Carler said.
She added that her family does not always eat the typical Dutch meal – potatoes, meat and vegetables. They enjoy a variety of cuisines from different countries but always bring food as a family.
Family time and food are important to her parents and two brothers.
“I feel like I’m in America, it’s all about time efficiency. Everyone is like ‘time is money,'” she said. ‘I don’t have time to eat,’ she said.
Carler said American food can be found in the Netherlands, but she had never tried acai bowls before moving to the States—and she loves them. However, some traditional American dishes are not to her liking.
“Macaroni and cheese are not my favorite,” she said with a laugh. “I wouldn’t order it myself. I don’t understand what’s so good about that.”
Despite their differences, the United States has family in both countries. Her Dutch family, who make Facetimes long weekends, and her family play football at Arizona State University.
“Of course sometimes you want a hug (from my family in the Netherlands), but now I’ve made a family here,” Carler said.
The defender’s dream is to play professional football in Europe and to be selected for the Dutch national team. But for now, her focus is on helping her team give another boost to the NCAA tournaments taking place in November.
Aside from Karler’s football dreams, her teammate says her admiration goes beyond the limits of the field.
“There’s more to the eyes,” said Darst. “I think it’s easy to see her as a very competitive footballer, and she has basically devoted her life to the sport.
“But when people start getting to know her, she seems like a really cool person outside of football.”
For more stories from Cronkite News, visit cronkitenews.azpbs.org.
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