Just 15 years old in 4B at the Combermere School, Anaya Alleyne-Germain has come to Trinidad & Tobago as part of the Barbados U21 Girls Hockey team for the U21 Pan American Championships and had an outstanding tournament.
The youngest custodian at the tournament, this experience has represented a number of firsts for the young hockey player. First time representing her country; first time leaving her country; first international match; and according to Anaya, first time having been so busy during a game.
Despite her lack of years and experience Anaya has grown quickly at this competition and very arguably is the rock upon which her team draws it inspiration. Sporting World caught up with her at the tournament and this is what she had to say about her time here.
Being the youngest goal keeper at the tournament on one of the youngest teams here, how has that shaped this experience for you?
It’s been great, I don’t think about my age to be honest. It’s just about skill and executing. So those things don’t really affect me
How different is the hockey from what you have experienced before?
It’s really different. The different countries have so many different styles, structures and strategies added to that the majority of them are more skilful and have more game experience than most of our players.
I guess it affected my and the teams’ intensity. These people move faster and think faster… so I have to move faster, think faster and I guess it took a while for it to sink in.
Having come to that realisation what has become your focus?
Every game I go out and try not to let any goals in and that’s always my goal. To not let any goals score.
How has the experience off the hockey field been?
It’s been so good. This is the first time I’ve been outside of Barbados. It’s just been a great experience with all the girls in the team. Trinidad seems to be more built up than home and it’s been fun to see different things.
What memory stands out for you from this tournament?
It would have to be the second half of the Argentina game. As I became more settled and started to make some saves I could feel the spirit of the girls around rise and as they got more confident it made me even more confident. Everyone kind of came together.
From that game the team seemed to be a bit buoyed, what do think was the main factor in that change?
Well I guess I would have to say me. In the first two games I think I had weak starts and took some time to really step up to the pressure that was on from the first ball. However, from the Argentina game I guess I became more confident.
What are your personal goals moving forward from this experience?
I just want to become better in everything I do. Hopefully that would mean making the senior team. I would really like to be the best goalkeeper at the 2020 U21 Pan Americans Championships and eventually be the best in Barbados and maybe the region.
This week we also caught up to the Mayers sisters Krysten and Krystal. Born to Leroy Mayers an ex-national, the sisters grew up in the US learning the family business from their dad. Both are on hockey scholarships.
Krysten Mayers, the younger of the two, at 19, is pre-med majoring in Human Development at Cornell University where she plies her trade on the field as a high-scoring power forward, while big sister Krystal Mayers is 21 majoring in Psychology with a concentration in Life Sciences at Virginia Commonwealth University making her contribution on the field as a utility midfielder/forward.
How did you girls get into hockey?
(Krysten) We were very young and our dad was still on the team in Barbados and he would always be flying off to go to hockey. So eventually we asked him to teach us, he really wasn’t about it at first but we eventually got him into it. We were probably about five or six when we started, and he eventually went on to start his own club, G Force.
(Krystal) I remember he played on Tri State Falcons and we would go watch him play every Saturday in NYC so we were always around hockey. So ever since ten we’ve been playing in G Force and travelling with him and the club playing tournaments all over the US. He’s a big part of why we play.
Is the hockey here different from what you are accustomed to?
(Krysten) I think the players here are much more experienced than College players and they think the game so much more.
(Krystal) For me the officiating took some getting used to. In College they stop the game a lot for fouls and here the officials really try to let the game flow with a lot of advantages. The first couple games it really took some getting used to but I like this way a lot better.
Off the field how has the tournament been for you guys?
(Krysten) I think our team is really great we really fit in, they are so welcoming, our experience here has been really nice. I go to school up state and it’s really cold there so I’m also enjoying the weather.
(Krystal) Like Katie said everyone is really close and we get along great, it’s really been fun playing with the group.