PHOTO BY MIKE WALLIN

Gussie Johns and Devon Wills form the U.S. goaltending tandem for the World Cup. Johns is a rising senior at USC where Wills is one of her coaches.

Mission Log: Gussie Johns on the Excitement of Looming World Cup


July 9

After another night filled with lots of laughs and team time over ice baths and the Normas, we all woke up today excited for the events ahead. This would be our last time to face another opponent before the start of the World Cup this coming week and our final chance to prep our game-day routines, which are quite critical. From the food included in pregame meals to the hairstyles rocked by many players, our superstitions run deep. Routines have been established and line buddies have been chosen.

The morning practice consisted of lots of shooting and some walk through time, as well as lots of building upon the previous days of work. One thing that is so awesome about this group is its ability to grow with each new opportunity. Nothing is going to be perfect, but the ability to learn from one’s mistakes or missteps is key to building upon success, in order to reach new heights. This team is not afraid of a challenge. They have embraced each moment head on and have taken all feedback in stride. Just like Ricky constantly tells our team, it’s okay to have setbacks and an array of emotions but it’s how you react to those obstacles that is important.

Our friendly against Japan was a full 60 minutes of action. It gave us the chance to get up and down the field and play much like we would in the coming weeks during the tournament. Japan showed us a different style of lacrosse; they were quick, aggressive, and challenged us on every part of the field. I always find it so cool that lacrosse can be played in so many different ways. There is such a large spectrum of styles, and each country is able to put its own spin on the sport.

After some team bonding, which for this team has been about as simple as sticking us all in a room together, because of the amount of fun and chemistry that we already have, we took some showers and got dressed. We headed out for a team dinner in a nearby town called Marlow and ate at a great Italian restaurant. My section of the table enjoyed some amazing garlic bread and calamari, and then Taylor and I split some pizza and pasta. We opted for the larger pizza, just in case we wanted to bring home some leftovers, but that plan quickly fell through once we decided to eat the entire thing. Oops. Before loading on the bus and heading back to Bisham, we took some team pictures, with the help for our bus driver Jason, and stopped traffic for a few minutes in the process. It’s always important to capture those rare moments when we are dressed like normal humans.


Coming to the site of the tournament gave me goosebumps. I’ve dreamed about being in this position since I was a little kid.


July 10

Following our last night at Bisham Abbey, we completed another practice, which to our surprise ended with an evens versus odds kickball match. While the evens may have handily beaten the odds, with the help of Dr. C’s and Zimm’s awesome outfield skills, Katie highlighted the game with 2 solo home runs. We quickly headed back to our rooms to pack up and got ready to head over to Surrey. Even though we had a huge bus, it was not quite big enough to hold all of our bags underneath. Three weeks abroad never means light packing, even for the guys. It was a game of Tetris to get all of the stuff onto the bus, but we got settled and began our short journey.

As we started to pull up to our home for the next two weeks and unpack our rooms, decorate the halls, and get ourselves accustomed to our surroundings, the entire experience became that much more real. We have been together for five days at this point, but we have all been working so much longer, both individually and collectively, for this event. Coming to the site of the tournament gave me goose bumps. I’ve dreamed about being in this position since I was a little kid, and to be living it, with the opening ceremonies right around the corner, is such a surreal feeling. From the players to the staff, I am surrounded by an amazing group of people. We have had an absolute blast so far, and we haven’t even begun the most fun part. The next two weeks are sure to hold many ups and downs, but we are all ready for what I know will be an awesome ride.

– Gussie Johns
(Twitter: @gussie3johns, Instagram: @gussie3johns)








Player Profile

GUSSIE JOHNS

Years with the U.S. Program: 1
U.S. Senior World Cup Teams: 2017
Position: Goalie
College: USC 2018
Honors: First team All-Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (2016, 2017), Led the nation with a 6.04 goals against average (2016)
Hometown: Washington D.C.
Current Residence: Washington D.C.
Current Career: Majoring in business administration at USC

What does playing for Team USA mean to you?

It is such an incredible honor. Anytime I get to put on the red, white and blue and represent this country is such a special opportunity. There are few greater feelings and It is just such an incredible privilege.




PHOTO BY SCOTT MCCALL

Gussie Johns is one of the youngest players for the U.S. team. She will be a senior at USC next spring and led the Trojans into the NCAA quarterfinals this past season.


What was your youth lacrosse experience like?

I played boys lacrosse growing up and didn't actually play girls lacrosse in any capacity until about 4th grade. I grew up with three older brothers so naturally I wanted to be like them and try and keep up with them. I played on a team with all boys from about age 4 to age 14.

What other sports did you play in high school?

Tennis, basketball and hockey.

Who is your favorite lacrosse player?

Devon Wills. She has not only changed the way people think about goalies but she has also been a huge role model for me.

What is one thing that always puts you in a good mood?

My dogs. I have 4 of them and they are always there to give you unconditional love.

What is something most people don't know about you?

That I love to paint and draw.

What is your favorite inspirational quotation?

"Somewhere behind the athlete you've become and the hours of practice and the coaches who have pushed you is a little girl who fell in love with the game and never looked back... play for her" — Mia Hamm. I love this quote because it always gets me back to the core of why I play lacrosse and why I push myself each day.

Follow the U.S. women's national team as it competes for gold in the 2017 Federation of International Lacrosse Women's World Cup in Guildford, England, and the 2017 IWGA World Games in Wroclaw, Poland. This "Mission Log" will continue throughout both events with each player providing insight on their journey.