Quarantine Q&A with Lauren Brzykcy
In the sixth installment of Quarantine Q&A, catch up with Lauren Brzykcy of the UCLA women's soccer team. Brzykcy will enter the new season as the only goalkeeper on the roster with NCAA game experience, having seen action in 15 games, including six starts, from 2018-19. Brzykcy holds an 8-3 record and has four career solo shutouts.
Q: When did you know you wanted to come to UCLA?
A: I have wanted to come to UCLA since I was a little kid! I was actually looking at some of the old projects I made in grade school, I said one of my biggest goals in my life was to go to UCLA and play soccer.
Q: What is your best UCLA memory?
A: Some of my favorite UCLA memories are going to Hawaii with the team and being able to go surfing in the rain with some teammates, and the trip to Italy! That was my first time going to Europe, and it was an experience that I will never forget!
Q: Speaking of that trip to Italy, what was your experience like playing there for the World University Games?
A: It was such an amazing experience playing for our country in the World University Games! Being able to play different countries like Italy and Japan was cool because I was able to learn and get better in my game. The minutes helped me improve in what I needed to work on, and always getting minutes in games is a good learning experience.
Q: Are you looking to pursue soccer beyond your UCLA career?
A: If that is an option for me after my years at UCLA, I would love to play professionally overseas or in the United States.
Q: What are you studying at UCLA and why? Can you please share your interests in a potential career beyond soccer and what spurred you in that direction?
A: I am majoring in sociology and minoring in education. I had no idea what I wanted to study coming into UCLA. When looking into the majors, sociology seemed interesting and something new I can educate myself in. I recently got into the education minor because I took a couple of classes, and they were some of my favorite classes at UCLA. Those classes made me think of becoming a teacher. After my soccer career is over, I would love to be an elementary school teacher for children with disabilities.
Q: What has your experience been like being able to not only be a part of the women's soccer team but also be able to compete with the UCLA softball team two seasons ago as a pinch runner?
A: It was just such a great experience. It was something that I would have never thought of competing not only in soccer but also helping our softball team at a Division 1 level. I have made a lot of new friends on the softball team, one player is actually going to be my roommate in the Fall! It was so cool that the team accepted me with open arms. It was such an awesome experience.
Q: If you could pick any other UCLA athlete to try out for soccer, who would it be and why?
A: Gwyn George on the UCLA track and field/cross country team! I actually played soccer with her when I was younger! She is very quick and is very technical with the ball.
(Note: Gwyn's father Sam and uncle Seth each won NCAA Championships with the UCLA men's soccer team)
Q: Which of your coaches do you think could best compete in your sport today and why?
A: I believe that all of my coaches have different attributes that would allow them to best compete on our soccer team.
Q: Do you have any routines you do before a match?
A: I put my left sock on, then I put on my left cleat, and then I put my right sock on and then my right cleat. I am not very superstitious, but that is the main thing I do before games and training.
Q: Can you share how you have been able to cope with the adjustment in lifestyle due to the current events of COVID-19?
A: The ways that I have been coping with the events of COVID-19 have been working on myself and trying to become the best version of myself that I can be and to help others around me.
Q: Can you discuss the quarantine transformation you've had the past few months?
A: Sure! At the beginning of quarantine, I started to feel less confident in myself mentally and physically due to my weight, and I wanted to change that. I took advantage of this time and worked on myself. I improved nutrition, strength training, and mental health. In such uncertain times, we need to control the controllables. This is something that I have learned and will continue to input into other aspects of my life! I wanted to lose 18 pounds, and I hit the goal! It was such an accomplishment, and again, I learned so much about myself in the process!
Q: What are some of your favorite hobbies to do outside of soccer?
A: I started getting into playing the ukulele, and I played softball for eight years, so whenever I can, I go and throw the ball around. I like surfing and bodyboarding and hanging out in the ocean. I have recently gotten into weight-lifting, and that has been fun setting goals and breaking my PRs.