As a goalkeeper, there aren’t a ton of self-expression opportunities compared to other positions on the pitch. But, off the pitch, Syracuse senior goalkeeper Lysianne Proulx is able to show off her creative side with her amazing photography and graphic design. “I’ve always liked to express my creativity in one way or another,” she told BGN. “And with photography, graphic design or video creating, I am able to recreate what I see in my mind. Every time I spend a couple of hours working on it, I just forget about everything (even the time). It has become some sort of escape for me. And there is just no limit to what you can create and that is something I really like about it.”
Whether she’s flexing those creative muscles or between the sticks for Syracuse, Proulx’s mind allows her to see the bigger picture.
For Syracuse, the success of their women’s soccer program hasn’t quite matched that of some of the other sports on campus. They have only one winning season since 2004, including a 3-11-2 record in 2019 as Proulx led the ACC in saves with 96, twenty more than the second-highest in the league. Despite another slow start this season, Proulx doesn’t think 2020 will end up the same way. “We have a very different team than last year, a lot of new players bringing in some experience,” she said. “We have very talented individuals on the team. I think the biggest thing for our team right now is to trust — trust that we have the talent, that we have the same opportunity, and trust that we deserve the wins as much as other ACC teams.”
Unfortunately, Proulx didn’t get a full chance to perfect her craft throughout the offseason. She explained, “Individually, I was injured all of the spring season and had a second surgery for my hips back on June 2nd this summer. I was in rehab for the most part of the summer and still am.”
“I started light goalkeeping practices in August and was fully cleared about a week and a half before our first game this season. My main focus this summer was really just to build some strength back so I could play and try to get back to playing in goal.”
While goalkeeping is universally about stopping shots, distribution, and setting up a defense, each player in goal brings a different set of skills. “Personally, I think my best attribute on the field is my mind. It is something I have been working on for some time now; on making it stronger and stronger,” Proulx said. “I have relied on my mind a lot so far since I starting playing again. With limited time to get ready before our first game, I knew my mind was what was going to guide me during game day.”
“The mind plays such a big role in sports. Different methods will work for different people, but as for myself, I have realized that I perform my best when I play freely; fearless of making mistakes, fearless of people’s opinion; not constricted to what I can do. I have learned to trust my abilities, not to overthink it, and to really just enjoy doing what I love doing. I put the unnecessary pressure aside and play the way I know I can.”
Proulx’s soccer mind also allows her to appreciate other goalkeepers around the world. “This past men’s UCL season I enjoyed watching (Anthony) Lopes from OL a lot. At 6 foot (considered small for a male goalkeeper) he was flying and owning his box. And obviously Manuel Neuer. Who doesn’t like a good Neuer show?”
She added, “Also, Maxime Crépeau is a goalkeeper I’ve looked up to since I was a kid. We’ve practiced together multiple times and we played for the same club when we were kids. Last winter break we had the chance to practice together again. He plays for the Canadian National Team as well as the Vancouver Whitecaps in the MLS.”
Like Crepeau, Proulx has come up through the Canadian national team system. She has featured in three Women’s World Cups and three CONCACAF Championships between her time with the U-15, U-17, and U-20 squads. She said, “My whole experience with the national team has been unforgettable. The national team brought me to many different countries that I would have never been to if it wasn’t for them.”
“But, if I had to pick one, I think I would choose the U-17 Women’s World Cup back in 2016 in Jordan,” she said about her favorite memory with the national team. “I had just come back from struggling mentally and played one of the best games I have ever played against Germany (where I won the Live Your Goals Player of the Match). The country, the team and the tournament itself was an unforgettable experience, and my parents were able to come and be part of this experience with me so that was a big bonus.”
With that resume with the youth national teams, she is definitely on the radar for the senior national team. What would a call-up to the first team mean to her? “Being called up for the senior national team is a dream, it’s the biggest stage of soccer,” Proulx responded. “There is nothing like representing your country on the world’s biggest stages.”
For now, she is representing Canada down in Syracuse, New York. A native of Montreal, Quebec, Lysianne pointed out one of the misconceptions that she comes across regarding back home. “When I tell people ‘oh I’m cold’ and they reply with ‘you’re from Canada, how are you cold?’ I always think ‘alright chill, I literally live four hours away!’ So I’d say that’s my biggest one,” she said with a laugh. “Maybe it gets a bit colder, but it’s no dramatic change. Now if you go up North it’s a different story though.”
She added that the most underrated things about Canada are the beauty of the country and all of the different things there are to do and experience.
One thing that is no longer under the radar about Canada is the musical talent. With a handful of Canadian artists at the top of the R&B game right now, Proulx definitely has her preferred choice as she lists The Weeknd as one of, if not her top, favorite artists since he came out with Beauty Behind The Madness in 2015. “My first concert I’ve ever been to was one of his,” she said. “Little story, me and my friends were supposed to go to his concert in 2015, but we ended up having to sell our tickets because of a soccer trip in Belgium. So we bought them again the next year and were finally able to go. It was worth the wait.”
For Proulx and the Orange, they will try to avoid “The Hills” and “Dark Times” when they face #1 North Carolina tomorrow at home. Kickoff is set for 7 PM ET as Syracuse looks for win #1 of 2020 with their talented, senior shot-stopper leading the way.