Read on to learn about the life of student-athlete and Olympic competitor Aline Fobe of the Belgian National Women’s Hockey Team. Along with traveling the world while representing her country, Aline has some amazing insight on abroad experiences thanks to her season in the United States at the University of Michigan!
International hockey player Aline Fobe was born in Antwerp, Belgium. She started playing hockey at age four, and began representing her home country by the time she was fourteen. In 2012, she became a member of the Belgian Women’s National Hockey Team, fondly referred to as the Red Panthers. Aline has since competed for her country in multiple international competition, including the European Championship of 2015 and in the European Championship of 2016. Just Monday night of this week, the Red Panthers took on the National Women’s Team of Belarus in a friendly practice match. Team Belgium came out on top thanks to goals from our very own Aline and teammate Anne-Sophie Weyns!
Aline refers to her ability to represent her nation as an absolute honor, and she’s excited about what the future holds in store bring for her team. We asked her to discuss the goals she’s set for herself and the Red Panthers, and she said, “With the National Team we want to move forward and join the higher ranked teams in the world. And of course with the European Championship coming up we want to get a medal over there, and then in the 2020 Olympic Games as well. I would love to play in Tokyo!”
Considering how busy Aline has been with playing such an important role on the Belgian National Team, it could be surprising to some to learn that she additionally took the LEAP to play overseas! But she managed to do just that in 2011, when she flew to the United States to spend a season playing as a Wolverine for the University of Michigan in the highest league of college athletics there, NCAA Division I!
So, what did she expect the hockey style to be like in the States? Aline tells us she thought it would be, “Very physical actually, and I recognized that when I got to the U.S…it’s more about fitness and less technical, there’s more focus on strength and less on skills and technical game.” She attributes the intense discipline she now has for gym sessions to her time at the University of Michigan, telling the LEAP team that “running at 6:00am” will be something she’ll always remember from her time in the United States, and her fitness level is a big part of what makes her such a fierce competitor in Belgium today. She can of course find a relating ear within the LEAP team, as CEO and Founder of LEAP Worldwide Ainsley McCallister was right there with Aline during those workouts, as she was onto the second year of her college career with the Wolverines when Aline came over from Belgium! Go Blue!
Some of Aline’s favorite memories from her stint abroad include competing in the Big Ten Championships, and the fun trips that the U of M team would take nearly every weekend for their games. She enjoyed the American spin on the holidays as well, including Halloween; “We went in someone’s car and just drove around with pumpkins and threw toilet paper in the trees and that’s funny because we don’t do that at all here…that was a big difference, to go there and just follow the flow of the team and do stuff you wouldn’t do at home.”
While abroad, Aline also took her studies seriously. Finding that balance and succeeding in both school and sport is a grind that she is taking on currently as well, as she’s finishing up her degree in Business Economics at Antwerp University. Here’s what Aline’s typical day looks like as a student-athlete:
“I have training every morning with the national team. After that, I shower and eat quickly and rush to school since I have class in the afternoon. At night I have another club session with video always preparing for the coming game. And then I go home, eat, sleep, play, repeat.”
Since Aline is contently occupied with making big strides with her National Team, she isn’t planning on taking the LEAP abroad anytime soon. However, she’s still made a profile on LEAP Worldwide. Why? Because she’s passionate about sharing her experience abroad in hopes that it can be useful for other players looking to do the same. She says,
“I like the concept of going abroad, and so many people ask me how it was or for advice on how to choose between two universities, and I want to help other people make these decisions and that’s why I want to be a part of the LEAP community… I want to help others have that experience like I did.”
LEAP Worldwide isn’t just concerned with connecting players with coaches and vice versa. Rather, we also work to link communication among players, helping them to share tips, recommendations, and stories about playing overseas. This provides athletes with invaluable insight into possible LEAPs they can take, and makes the choosing process all the easier!
Aline, like countless other international athletes and LEAPers, highly recommends that players make the choice to play overseas. She says, “I don’t think anyone will ever regret going abroad. Go and learn new cultures and get outside of your comfort zone, and I think you will only benefit from it.”
And we certainly couldn’t agree more. No matter what your looking for in an abroad experience, or where you want to go, LEAP Worldwide wants to help get you there. With our always growing network of players, coaches, and sport organizations, the connections waiting for you are endless. Don’t let a once in a lifetime experience pass you by.
A big thank you to Aline Fobe for sharing her story, and we wish her and the Red Panthers the best of luck in their upcoming competitions! Sign up with LEAP Worldwide and you can connect with Aline and many more international players. Click below!