Playing college sports is an accomplishment, but playing for a national team is also a feat, especially if it’s for the country that one’s parent is from. For Aubrey Peterson, a junior on the University of Utah softball team, that was the case. She was a member of the Great Britain National Softball Team this past summer.
A native of Everett, WA, Peterson and her two brothers hold dual citizenship in both the United States and Great Britain, thanks to their mother.
Peterson’s mother, Selena Blachford, was born in Church Crookham, which is about 40 miles outside of London, England. Blachford came to the U.S. when she was 11 years old with her family when her dad was recruited by an engineering company.
Peterson has been playing softball for over 15 years. Now entering her third season with the Utes, she still loves playing at the highest level in college. She enjoys the college softball experience and the work she has put in to get to where she is at.
“I was encouraged by one of my coaches here [at Utah] to try out for the Great Britain National Team when they found out that I had my passport,” Peterson said. “I didn’t even know that they had a team over there.”
After making the team, Peterson spent about a week in France for a training camp before starting actual play. She was with a team of women who had never played together, and most of whom had never even met one another. The team played in the European Nationals that were held in Italy. At this tournament, they were playing against teams from all across the world.
“It was surreal to see my daughter playing for Great Britain,” Blachford said. “I was so excited for her and it was amazing to watch the experience unfold. There were teams from 23 nations on the field for the opening ceremonies. You almost never see that many countries together like that.”
Blachford was able to take advantage of the time abroad to visit her family that she hadn’t seen in years, all while watching her daughter compete with her home country. The Great Britain team placed third in the national tournament to earn a bronze medal.
For Peterson, playing internationally was an incredible experience because of the different types of people she met and played against. There were athletes who were in college and players who were in their 30’s and raising families. Regardless of age and circumstance, they all had the same passion and love for the game as Peterson does.
“It doesn’t matter what language you speak or how you compete, people just love to play the game,” Peterson said. “It was totally neat to see softball from a whole new perspective. Here in the States, it is very competitive and intense, but when you go abroad, people are playing just because they love the game.”
Peterson is double majoring in psychology and human development. Although she is hoping to become either a counselor or open and run her own daycare to channel her love of working with kids, right now she is focused on softball.
“Aubrey has lots of future options between work and maybe pursuing professional softball,” Blachford said. “She has a lot of inner strength and is very determined, and because of that, I am confident that she is going to do well at whatever she decides to do.”