Dutch life proves a winner for Miki

15 Jun 2018

YOUNG hockey champ Miki Spano has learned plenty in the past four months - a new style of game, a new culture and picking up a few Dutch words after a placement with Dutch hockey club HC Zwolle.

Photo credit: Hans Smit

Miki recently returned from a four-months stint in The Netherlands, along the way celebrating her 21st birthday with her host family.

Miki played in the women’s top team as part of her development as a striker.

Celebrating her milestone, away from her close-knit family, could have been a bit tricky but Spano said she had a fantastic time.

“My host family was amazing and did everything for me, whatever I needed, they helped,’’ Spano said.

“And it was really funny because their daughter Laura celebrated her 21st two weeks before mine so we seemed to have one, long celebration.

“About half way through my stay my host family then went to Australia and met up with my parents who were visiting my brother in Melbourne. It was lovely and they all enjoyed meeting each other. My host family was like a family away from home.’’

Gamewise, Miki picked up plenty of tips and tactics although the language barrier took a while to sort out.

“I had to learn some of the Dutch words really quickly like pressure and turning left and right but we got there,’’ Spano said.

“When I approached a group of players I could hear them talking Dutch but when I joined the group they spoke to me in English. The standard of the games was really high and our team was second on points at the end of the season and won promotion which was the aim.’’

Miki, who played in Australia’s junior world cup team in 2016 which won a bronze medal, was SASI’s female hockey player of the year in 2017.

She also was one of the youngest athletes to be placed overseas in a host arrangement.

The Adelaide University Hockey Club centre forward will focus on representing SA at the under-21 national titles in Sydney between July 4 and 11. She then hopes to make international teams on offer later in the year.

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