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International scholar-athlete excelled in soccer, academics

Photo of Lieske Carleer

Lieske Carleer (right, in black) an ASU women's soccer standout, is graduating in December with a bachelor's degree in kinesiology with honors.

November 28, 2022
Editor’s note: This story is part of a series of profiles of notable fall 2022 graduates.

Lieske Carleer, a standout Arizona State University women’s soccer player and honors international student is a consummate scholar-athlete whose drive on the pitch matched her dedication in the classroom throughout her years as a Sun Devil.

Carleer, whose hometown is Winterswijk, in the Netherlands, is from a family of athletes. She came to ASU in 2019 as one of the top center-backs in the world with international soccer experience under her belt as the captain of the Dutch U17 squad and having earned a spot on the U19 team.  

She quickly became a force on the ASU women’s soccer team, earning second team Pac-12 All-Conference honors as a sophomore, and being named to the 2021 CoSIDA Academic All-District women's soccer team and earning Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week recognition as a junior.

Carleer, who received a soccer scholarship and the New American University Scholarship, also excelled in the classroom as a kinesiology major in the College of Health Solutions and a student in Barrett, The Honors College.

She is receiving a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology with honors in December and is staying on at the university to work on a master’s degree in clinical exercise physiology.

We asked Carleer to reflect on her undergraduate experience at ASU.

Question: What is an interesting moment, story or accomplishment in your ASU career?

Answer: My sophomore year, during COVID-19, everything was online. Our soccer season moved to the spring of 2021 and was shortened, but through all the adversity, I and the ASU women's soccer team persevered and made it to the national tournament when only 48 teams in the country were invited. We made it to the second round of the tournament, tying the record for ASU women's soccer in ASU history. 

Q: What was your “aha” moment when you realized you wanted to study the field you majored in?

A: I have always had an interest in the human body and being an athlete made me want to learn more about my own body. Kinesiology was a way for me to directly apply what I was learning to my life.

Q: What’s something you learned while at ASU — in the classroom or otherwise — that surprised you or changed your perspective?

A: Something I learned at ASU was to adapt to different cultures. ASU provides such a multicultural environment, where so many individuals have impacted me with their background and their culture. I currently live in a household with four different nationalities! This really changed my perspective on the world in general and taught me so much. 

Q: Do you have any favorite experiences in Barrett, The Honors College that helped shape your path to success?

A: The Human Event (the honors college’s signature course) really helped me get started at ASU. As an international student, this course challenged me from the start. English isn't my first language, which made it challenging to take a literacy-heavy course like The Human Event. Right away, I was involved in reading discussions, writing papers and formulating arguments. The course really challenged me to develop my English speaking skills, my critical thinking and my writing skills. I am very happy I was able to take this course because it set me up with all the basic skills needed to succeed in college.  

I did my honors thesis on causes of burnout in athletic populations. I took classes on sports and behavior change psychology through my major and became really interested in these topics. I did an honors contract with one of my professors looking at the effect of exercise on mood. We turned this mini project for an honors contract into a bigger project for my honors thesis. I really enjoyed the experience and learned a lot through the honors thesis. 

Q: Why did you choose ASU?

A: I chose ASU because of the opportunity to combine both Division I athletics with my education and adding an honors college to that experience as well. ASU creates a great environment to learn, but also enjoy college. The weather isn't bad either.

Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to those still in school?

A: Enjoy it and make the most out of it, you only have limited time in school before the rest of your life starts. Make sure to enjoy every moment of it and make memories with your peers. 

Q: What was your favorite spot on campus, for studying, meeting with friends or just thinking about life?

A: ASU has so many beautiful spots. Most of my classes were at the Downtown Phoenix campus, making me spend most of my time there. In between classes I would often sit at the Arizona Center. There are beautiful spots to sit outside in the shade with friends or to just get some work done. At the Tempe campus, I loved just walking or biking around. I spent time studying mostly in Hayden Library and loved being outside by one of the very many grassy areas on the Tempe campus. 

Q: What are your plans after graduation?

A: After graduation, I plan on starting my master's program in clinical exercise physiology in the spring of 2023. The health field is very interesting to me and I would like to help others to improve their quality of life so that they can enjoy their life just as much as I do!

Q: If someone gave you $40 million to solve one problem on our planet, what would you tackle?

A: I would try to make people more environmentally aware. Especially in the U.S., there are a lot of steps that can be taken to make people more aware, protect the environment and Earth we live on to make sure the next generations can continue to enjoy the world like we are able to right now. 

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