International Athletes Thrive on the Wake Forest Field Hockey Team

Nov. 1, 2010

By Katherine Coats-Thomas,

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - International field hockey players have been a staple on the Wake Forest Field Hockey team for many years, and this season is no different. Junior Adelaide Knott, sophomore Lizzie Rae and freshman Jess McFadyen add to the field hockey team a different perspective and mode of play. But what is it really like to be an international athlete at Wake Forest?

Adelaide Knott, from Perthshire, Scotland, learned of Wake through a former Demon Deacon, Aileen Davis, who is a recent Wake Forest graduate and fellow field hockey player. "I really found out more about Wake Forest at the field hockey conference in California," states Knott. "I have played field hockey for 12 years, and I knew coming to the States would better my skills."

After head coach Jennifer Averill saw Knott play, the 19-year head coach knew that Knott was a good fit for the Wake Forest team. "At the recruiting tournament in California, there was probably every single ACC coach on the sideline," says Averill. "Adelaide was phenomenal, and we were lucky to be on the sideline that day." In her three years at Wake, Knott has excelled in her play, yet she still notices differences between her homeland and here. "The uniform is the same, but there is definitely a higher level of play in America," relates Knott. "There are a lot more phrases and techniques, and over here was the first time I had the availability of looking at myself on film."

Like Knott, Lizzie Rae, from Christchurch, New Zealand, decided to come to America to continue her field hockey career. "It was definitely a long process," states Rae. "But when I talked to Jen, I knew I wanted to play at Wake. Jen is just such a passionate coach and I felt a really positive vibe." After Averill viewed Rae's YouTube video, she offered her a position on the team. Rae has had to learn a lot since coming to Wake. "Everything here is a lot bigger and foreign to me," says Rae. "The biggest difference is that a lot more skill is involved at home. Here there is an emphasis on being an athlete before a field hockey player, whereas I necessarily wouldn't call myself an athlete back in New Zealand."



Jess McFadyen of Wellington, New Zealand, heard about Wake Forest through a teacher at her old school who played tennis at for the Demon Deacons. After Averill saw McFadyen's DVD, she was asked to play for the Wake Forest field hockey team. "She adds a different element to our game that we wanted to have," affirms Averill. "So we jumped on McFadyen and we're so lucky to have her." McFadyen also notices differences in play between home and America. "The intensity here is really, really high, and it is definitely improving my hockey," says McFadyen. "At home there is quite a different style of play, more creativeness and flair over there."

Averill notices the advanced play of the international athletes because they start earlier. "All three girls are six to eight years more advanced," assures Averill. "And what I love about international students is I've never had a discipline issue." The international players bring diversity to the team that adds to the team's success. Despite the differences in play abroad and in America, Knott, Rae and McFadyen know they made the right choice and are looking forward to continuing their careers with each other.

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