Since appearing on the Big Ten’s 2016 and 2017 field hockey preseason Player to Watch lists, Lein Holsboer has captivated spectators’ attention. With her unmatchable speed, deep understanding of the game, and profound passion for her team, the midfielder has dominated play in her fourth and final year with Maryland field hockey. Driving the team’s powerful regular season performance, the senior now leads the Terps into the postseason, supporting its members both on and off of the field.
“As a midfielder, you’re like the engine room of the team. You have to help a lot in the defense, but also set up the attack – passing a lot, having an overview of the field, prescanning, knowing your routes, knowing what you next move is going to be,” Holsboer said. “I like the role a lot because of the opportunity to be on both sides of the field: to help out on the defense, but also, I love to make those big passes, the transfer passes, that can really change the game.”
Holsboer has, in fact, made game-changing plays, leading the team with 11 goals and 10 assists so far this season. One of her most prominent, game-altering performances came against Michigan State, when the Terps entered competition off of a double-overtime loss to Michigan for their third loss in the last four games. The Terps rallied, with Holsboer at the helm, beating the Spartans in a 4-1 victory that would set the tone for the team’s postseason appearances.
Holsboer’s play in 2017 has earned her the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week (9/18/17) honor, as well as selection for participation in the National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) Division I Senior Game. She also secured positions on the NFHCA All-American Team (Third Team), All-Big Ten Team (Second Team), All-Big Ten Academic Team, and NFHCA National Academic Squad last season.
“She is very fast, she is very quick off of her mark, she is very strong,” praised field hockey head coach Missy Meharg. “It’s a very intricate game, and it’s a lot of chess pieces and moves, and she has a great understanding of the game. She knows how to communicate it to other people, so she’s a big-time player.”
"She’s a strong, dominant woman who is going to be confident in whatever she does with her life. Right now, she’s playing at the top of her game and it couldn’t have come at a better time."
While being an efficient communicator and effective team leader comes with its own challenges, English is actually Holsboer’s second language, and the United States her second residence. Guided by curiosity and enthusiasm, the Dutch international student grew up with global ambitions, soon following her field hockey aspirations across the Atlantic.
“A couple of my friends had actually already gone to the U.S., and I heard great stories,” Holsboer said. “I always told myself that I wanted to experience a different culture and learn a different language, so studying abroad was definitely a dream of mine.”
Despite the nearly 4,000 miles that separate Holsboer from her home in Holland, she is constantly surrounded by family. Whether it comes from a visit from her parents, an assortment of hometown snacks, or the support of her American teammates and friends, Holsboer constantly appreciates the comforts of home.
“I’m very lucky that my family and friends have been visiting me very frequently, so I get to see my family more than two times a year which is awesome. They always spoil me and bring me Dutch treats like cheese and chocolate and licorice from home that I miss,” Holsboer said. “But I’m honestly very fortunate that I’m not too homesick all of the time because I have a great group of people around me here, so I always feel at home.”
With four other international students on UMD’s field hockey team – three of them freshman – Holsboer has shared with them advice and insight on adapting to life as a student athlete in the United States.
“I always tell them that they can ask me anything, that I can help them with the process, because there is always an adjustment, so it’s helpful to have someone explain to you all of the ins and outs,” she said. “I try to pass it on to the younger girls that are coming from different places.”
International or not, the majority of the Terrapin field hockey team is underclassmen. As the young Terps advance in the Big Ten tournament, it is clear that Holsboer’s leadership has contributed to the team’s success.
“She’s a strong, dominant woman who is going to be confident in whatever she does with her life,” Meharg said. “Right now, she’s playing at the top of her game and it couldn’t have come at a better time.
“I always say to the women who are finishing up their careers as student athletes, ‘You want to have a legacy, something that people will remember you for,’ and I know that the women that have played with her, this year in particular, will remember her.”
Leaving A Legacy is a special presentation of umterps.com.
Alyssa Haduck is a senior majoring in communications and romance languages at the University of Maryland and is a contributing writer to umterps.com.