Just 23, Canadian soccer international Ashley Lawrence is looking after her future while doing her best to help the welfare of others.
Lawrence signed a new multi-year deal with Paris Saint-Germain on Monday. She is currently in her second season with the prestigious French club, which sits second in the standings at 11-0-2 — two points behind defending champion Lyon.
Her existing contract was to expire in June.
“I’m very excited,” Lawrence said in an interview. “I think for me and most players as you’re reaching the end of your contract you start to think of what your next decision will be, your next move.
“For me it was great because I’m happy here in Paris. It took some time to adjust with the language, with the culture, but I can confidently say now that I’ve adjusted well. This is the right place for me to continue my development as a player.”
Lawrence has worked hard on and off the field. She asked her teammates to speak only to her in French, for example, so she could focus on improving her language skills.
During the Christmas break, Lawrence has organized her second annual YesSheCanada Food and Toy Drive in her hometown of Brampton, Ont. The Dec. 22 event at the Brampton Soccer Centre gives girls aged six to 16 a chance to learn some soccer skills from Lawrence and other national team players.
“Last year it went so well, the reaction from the kids and the families was amazing,” she said. “I hope to continue to do events like that. I’m not often in Canada, only in the winter and summer … But for sure there’s always time to give back.”
Camp registration was free with Lawrence asking for participants to donate a toy or canned goods that will go to local families in need. While the event is already booked up this year, Lawrence says people are welcome to stop by for a closing question-and-answer session if they bring a donation.
On the field, Lawrence has played a variety of roles with PSG, including fullback and winger roles on both sides of the field. Lawrence has played right back for the most part with Canada but has also seen time at left back.
Lawrence has already won 68 caps and scored five goals for Canada.
The league title is still in PSG’s reach, providing it can overtake Lyon whose roster includes Canadian defender Kadeisha Buchanan. Come March, Lawrence’s team will take on Chelsea in the quarterfinals of the Women’s Champions League.
PSG is also alive in the French Cup.
“We’re in a really good place,” said Lawrence.
For more information, check out Lawrence’s Twitter feed @AshleyLawrence.
Follow @NeilMDavidson on Twitter
Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press