Unlike the majority of her teammates, Melyssa Olsen didn’t grow up playing netball. As an American, she played basketball throughout her youth. But when Hall approached her last year and told her about netball, she was curious. After observing the team and figuring out the rules of the game, Olsen became the goal defender, a position she was familiar with from her basketball experience.
“The transition from basketball to netball wasn’t difficult,” Olsen says. “I just had to show more physical awareness and control as an individual. Basketball is so aggressive that I had a natural reaction to defend the ball. I’m sure I looked like a comedy show when I first started because of that.”
Whenever the team competes, their rivals are often surprised to discover there are Americans on the team. “I guess I’m the token American,” Olsen jokes. “I feel proud about that.”
“Being in the United States and getting involved in a sport no one knows about is rare and rewarding,” she adds. “I think we’re on the cusp of something new that’s growing throughout the country.”