Aug. 13, 2012
Editor's Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa's Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide.
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Karli Johansen returned to Iowa City for the 2012 University of Iowa field hockey season after completing a season's worth of hockey this summer where she traveled the world competing for the Canadian National Team.
Johansen's summer of hockey opened in May when she and fellow Hawkeye Jessica Barnett were members of the Canadian Senior National Team that participated in a four-game test series in Victoria, British Columbia, against former Iowa All-American Lauren Pfeiffer and the U.S. National Team.
Johansen and Barnett also competed for the Canadian Junior National Team that faced Argentina and Chile in Argentina in late May. She continued her travels with the Junior Team to Mexico in June before embarking on a tour of Europe in July.
"Definitely the Europe tour," said Johansen about the favorite moment of her busy summer. "We played so many different teams while we were there. We played Germany, the Netherlands, Brazil, Belgium and Spain. Our last game against Spain, we beat them 3-0. That was a huge step for us."
"This has definitely been a confidence booster. We had some games in Vancouver before we went on tour. We played some provincial teams from across Canada. We played some U18 teams here and the Senior British Columbian team as well as the Alberta team. We won all those games, which was a huge confidence boost."
UI sophomore Karli Johansen
The trip: 16 days, nine games, four cities.
"First we went to Germany, where we played three games," said the 2011 Big Ten All-Tournament team selection. "We then went to Amsterdam where we faced the Netherlands and Brazil before driving to Belgium to face them. Finally, we flew to Barcelona where we played three games against Spain."
The level of competition, the number of games and training sessions, and the opportunity to train with the Senior National Team has greatly improved her game.
"It has been great," said Johansen. "It has forced me to adjust and change my own tactics. We have to adjust for each team we play. They stay similar depending on who we are playing, but the strategy changes every game. The experience has forced me to learn much faster."
These experiences have improved Johansen's game immensely.
"This has definitely been a confidence booster," she said. "We had some games in Vancouver before we went on tour. We played some provincial teams from across Canada. We played some U18 teams here and the Senior British Columbian team as well as the Alberta team. We won all those games, which was a huge confidence boost.
"Being one of the older players, I have had to step up and be a leader. Overall, these experiences have helped my confidence a lot."
The chance to be a member of the Canadian Junior National Team also provided a great opportunity to travel the world.
"It has been really cool," said Johansen. "We had about a day in each city to look around. I could definitely see myself living there. They live for hockey. It was great to see all the different places. There is so much history in Berlin, Amsterdam and Barcelona."
When not traveling, the team has been training in Vancouver. The close proximity to home has been a blessing for Johansen and her family. It allowed many friends and family the chance to watch her play close to home.
"They have not been able to get down to Iowa City too much to see my play," said Johansen. "It was great for them. They love being able to drive the hour, or less than that, to come see me."
Johansen was recently named to the Canadian National Team that will travel to the Junior Pan Am Games in Guadalajara, Mexico, Sept. 7-25.
Hawkeye head coach Tracey Griesbaum is proud of her accomplishments.
"Karli has had unbelievable opportunities this summer," said Griesbaum. "The level of competition has been exceptional. Being taken out of your comfort zone many times will change an athlete's physical and mental abilities. I believe Karli will return to Iowa City a more proficient and mature player. We are excited about her stepping back onto Grant Field after such an incredible summer of hockey."