Tanya Britz is an international hockey player from South Africa. In 2016, she took her first LEAP to Perth, Australia to play for the Southern River Hockey Club. Though we are about to hear more about her journey to Perth, the fact that Tanya is currently there for her second season with SRHC tells us that her experience was so meaningful that she came back for more Australian hockey!
When we asked her about any preconceived notions she may have had before heading to Perth, Tanya recalled that she really didn’t know what to expect, but figured that, “Australian and South African culture and ways of living are pretty similar to each other.” Though it sounds as though the overall transition wasn’t too rough, she admits that “It can be pretty lonely because everyone goes about their life as normal and you actually only have contact with your host family or club when they get home from work or at hockey and club nights.” This made Tanya’s connections with other import players extremely valuable to her. She says, “It is nice to have someone with you who is going through the same process as…so having another import friend is great.” And speaking of imports, Southern River is currently looking for a player to join their squad for the upcoming season. Who will be the next person to take the LEAP?
Specifically, the women’s team of Southern River is looking for an impact midfielder who can be in Perth by the end of May, and stay until September. SRHC reached out to us to help them find talent to contribute to their team this season, and with our vast network of talented players like you, we reckon we can get it done! Currently SRHC is in the Promotion One league, where they’re fighting for a promotion to compete next year in the best regional club league in the world, the Melville Toyota league. With a 3-0 record to start, they’re on the right track to achieve their goals! It’s a very exciting time for Tanya and the others out in Perth, and they want someone to take the LEAP and join the team!
Though you’ll join SRHC for the hockey, you’ll also make friendships and connections with some amazing and interesting people from all over the world. Tanya told the LEAP team that she did indeed create lasting friendships with fellow imports, but also crucial to her experience built amazing connections with her Australian teammates and host family! Her host family has brought her in as one of their own and included her in all the great aspects of life in Perth, like big extended hockey community dinners where she built great relationships, and laughed till it hurt! It is obvious that the relationships Tanya has made through her sport in general are very important to her, as she says, “The relationships and friends I have made through my hockey career is insane, not only in the national team but playing abroad.” These connections are often the most memorable parts of an abroad experience. You may go for the hockey, but you stay for the people and amazing memories you make with them. And if you’re like Tanya, you might not be able to stay away!
Check out this quote from Tanya on the culture of SRHC so you can get a taste of what community you’d join if you head to Perth:
Southern River is a great club that plays hard but is also social and a lot of fun. The people are genuine and they make sure you feel welcome; it doesn’t matter to them where you’re coming from. Southern River isn’t just a hockey club. It’s like a family.
In terms of playing style, Tanya reckons South Africa and Australia differ quite a bit. She tells us, “…it took me quite a while to adapt and get used to the terms they use for positions and way of playing , which involves a lot more attacking.” Still, she adapted pretty quickly thereafter, and now reports she’s used to the Aussie playing style! The transitional period and adjustment process is inevitable for all imports no matter where they take the LEAP, but SRHC is committed to doing everything possible to aid imports in assimilating easily. And though they need a player now from May to September, they’d love to bring someone on who could return for another season! Community building at SRHC is key.
And now Tanya has this added exposure that can help take her game to new levels! On this subject, she says, “I think it is good to experience different styles of play and ‘playing cultures’ to broaden your knowledge as a player and also improve your skills and ability in different structures and styles of play all over the world.”
So…would Tanya recommend taking the LEAP? In short, yes! In long, she said this:
I would definitely recommend any athlete looking to go play overseas to DO IT! It is an amazing experience to not only improve your hockey but travel the world and meet so many great people from all over the world, who just add to your life. I had absolutely no idea what to expect the first time I came over to play, but was fortunate enough to end up at such a great club with people I now consider to be family. I know not all new Imports necessarily experience that the first time which is why I think LEAP worldwide is such a great network to find these opportunities. But for anyone looking to play abroad, don’t even think twice.
After this season, she tells us she would love to take her next LEAP to the Netherlands. We couldn’t be more excited to help her in this process with the LEAP Worldwide Sports Network!
Taking your sport abroad certainly entails amazing athletic experiences, but it does not end there. It is the people you meet, the culture you experience, the new places you explore, and so, so much more. LEAP Worldwide is here to make sure you don’t miss out on this opportunity of a lifetime. Sign up to find out more about this available position and become a member of the always-growing international sports network.
Thank you to Tanya for taking the time to share her Australian experience with us, and for Southern River for reaching out in search of talent. We’ll work our best to get the perfect LEAPer to join you in Perth! Click below to join LEAP Worldwide and keep up with international players like Tanya and connect with clubs like Southern River as they search for their next impact player!