Life is full of smiles and tears, and one can very quickly give way to the other. Though 17-year-old Canada goalkeeper Lysianne Proulx has a whole life ahead of her, she has learned that lesson early, having just experienced her first emotional rollercoaster ride at the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Jordan 2016.
Voted the Live Your Goals Player of the Match in her side’s second group match against Germany, she was all smiles as she fielded questions from the media after the game, proudly clutching the certificate in her hands. “You have days like this when everything comes off for you, and you have to make the most of it,” Proulx told FIFA.com after almost single-handedly holding the Germans to a 1-1 draw.
Four days later, however, the smile had gone, and it was with sadness and tears in her eyes that she left the pitch at the King Abdullah II International Stadium in Amman, before summoning up the courage to answer our questions. The Canucks had just lost to a Venezuela side reduced to ten just before half-time, a defeat that sent the North Americans out of the tournament.
Proulx put in another solid performance, but could do nothing to prevent Deyna Castellanos from opening the scoring with a wondrous strike into the top corner. “It’s tough because I think I had a good match; I couldn’t do anything about the goal,” said Proulx who managed to pull off a fine save from Castellanos late on, and then watched helplessly as Yerliane Moreno tucked in the rebound. “It’s frustrating because I did what I could to help out my team-mates in front of me, but I couldn’t do much in my own position.”
I pictured us getting to the semis and trying to make history.
No matter how she looked at it, Proulx found it hard to understand how her team had passed up the opportunity to advance to the second round. “I really don’t know what was missing,” she said. “We played with passion and we gave our all right to the end. We just weren’t capable, though, of putting the ball in the back of the net. I’ve no idea what more we could have done.” What made her sense of disappointment all the more acute was the fact that Canada had arrived in Jordan with high hopes. “I pictured us getting to the semis and trying to make history,” added Proulx, who was an unused member of the Canada U-17 squad at the world finals in Costa Rica two years ago.
The time has come to turn the page, and the CS Roussillon keeper is banking on the support of her family and a return to her daily routine of studies and football to put the disappointment behind her as soon as she can. There is no question, however, of her putting Jordan 2016 completely out of her mind, as she explained: “The match against Germany will stay with me because it’s one of my best performances,” she said, drying her eyes. “I’ll try to learn as much as I can from that game and from the Venezuela match too.
“You can learn a lot in defeat. I always watch all of my matches and I try to learn from each of them, looking at what I did well and not so well. In that respect, I think the lessons will be focused on the mental side of things. I need to learn to control my emotions, which I found tough towards the end. It’s emotionally where I need to keep developing, more than anywhere else.”
In wiping away the last of her tears, the defiant Proulx revealed her intention to act on her words.