Before August of this year, Lauryn Hutchinson had never been outside the United States. With one trip to her father’s native country of Trinidad & Tobago, Hutchinson is suddenly about to become a world traveler.
“My life has completely done a 180,” said Hutchinson, who earned a spot on the Trinidadian national women’s soccer team with that August tryout. “It’s been crazy.”
Three years after she was flying around the field as a Dominion High School Titan, Hutchinson is now a key member of the women’s soccer team at Virginia Commonwealth University.
Through a coach’s connection, Hutchinson received an offer to try out for the Trinidadian club if she could make her way down to the South American nation for the impending selection. She was eligible due to her father, Nigel, having been born in Trinidad & Tobago, though he hadn’t been back in more than 30 years.
A whirlwind began.
Hutchinson had to apply for an expedited U.S. passport, then went to Embassy Row in Washington, D.C., to obtain Trinidadian documents. She rearranged her VCU course load for the coming semester to all on-line classes, just in case she made the team. She had to book flights and find accommodation, all while preparing for the ongoing collegiate season.
Hutchinson joked that the new apartment she leased in July and has since slept in “maybe five nights” is “probably wondering where I am.”
She also stepped up her physical conditioning and her learning of soccer, saying that the international game requires increased patience, stamina, and focus on detail.
“There are still a million things I need to improve,” said the Titans’ former captain.
Ultimately, Hutchinson earned a coveted spot as a defensive specialist for Trinidad & Tobago. When that news broke, it sparked a rare, memorable moment between daughter and father.
“It was so emotional for him,” Hutchinson said. “He’s such a macho guy, I’d never seen him so softhearted. It was wonderful to share that with him.”
Getting the nod to join a national-level soccer team is the latest achievement in Hutchinson’s career on the pitch. Before and during her time at Dominion, the lifelong Loudouner—a devoted soccer player since age 5—suited up for travel clubs like the Sterling Fireballs, McLean Netforce and Loudoun Hotshots. She even played on a boys’ team for a season.
At age 13, Hutchinson tallied the only marker in a regional championship match in Rhode Island, claiming the title for her Gunston Team America side.
“That was awesome. The first big tournament I ever participated in and I got the winning goal for the whole tournament,” she said.
Hutchinson played varsity soccer at Dominion for four years, getting the chance to be on the field with many of her teammates from younger days.
“Playing in high school with a bunch of girls I grew up playing with was just so much fun,” she said, rattling off about a dozen friends’ names.
Now she aims to have fun playing around the globe with a bunch of women she is just getting to know, readjusting an already hectic schedule. In late September she’ll return to Trinidad & Tobago for training camp, then a few friendlies before the Pan American Games commence in mid-October.
“I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Not a lot of people get this opportunity, so I’m just going for it,” Hutchinson said. “I’m going to get to travel around the world and see new places all because of soccer, and I feel very lucky for all this.”