As part of our weekly Wednesday Chasing the Dream posts, we’ll be featuring a USWNT athlete up until the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
At the keystone, the perfectly crafted wedge that holds together an ever-evolving mini galaxy of personal and professional life, of Julia Reinprecht’s foundation, you’ll find family. The Perkasie, Pa. native and USWNT defender hails from a home that maintains an incredibly tight bond.
“My family is extremely close,” said Julia. “I don’t know what it is, but we always had that dynamic growing up. My sisters and I always bickered growing up, but that phase has passed.”
As a child, Julia not only shared her wardrobe with her two sisters in typical sibling fashion, but also a vast love for hockey. This hobby turned into an incredible journey that swept all three Reinprecht sisters to Princeton University. Throughout her colleague career, the fire to succeed was only fanned and as the flames grew higher, Julia knew there was only one other direction to go – up. Watching her older sister Katie dominate on Team USA and hearing her votes of encouragement, Julia envisioned herself representing the United States. She reached and received. In 2010, her name was printed on a national team uniform. In 2012, her name flashed upon the London 2012 Olympic Games scoreboard as USA roster was announced. Was conquering these massive milestones a solo effort? Hardly.
“My family is really the reason that Katie and I are on this team together,” said Julia. “They raised us to pursue what we wanted and pushed us to our passion of field hockey.”
Endless amounts of support pour in from Julia’s sisters and parents. And for the Reinprecht’s, family also includes fur.
“When I grew up my parents raised us with a lot of pets,” said Julia. “We had rabbits, dogs, hamsters, turtles, birds – an unlimited amount of animals. My grandparents owned a farm which helped draw on this and my aunt now runs this farm in New York.”
Being exposed to animals made Julia naturally fall in love with them. However, her busy schedule of training and practice with Team USA does not permit much wiggle room to take care of critters.
”Though my animals are at my parents' house, I enjoy the extra burst of energy they give or when they cuddle up with me when I am resting on the couch,” said Julia.
As the Champions Trophy and the Rio 2016 Olympic Games draw even closer, Julia reflects on one of the team’s mantras: united.
“United means family,” said Julia. “This group of girls and this united theme we have been embodying has made us a family. It’s holding each other accountable, enjoying moments together and struggling together. With family being such an important part of who I am, having these girls as sisters means the struggles are a little easier and creates a powerful environment. United is everything for me with this team, having each other’s backs.”
When it comes to jerseys, there are two kits that bare the name Reinprecht on the back, but there are 26 jerseys that bare name USA on the front, forging another kind of family. And so, for Julia, home and hockey have become so intricately intertwined that it become difficult to tell the difference.