On Nov. 12, sophomore Alexa Vojvodic left Geneseo for a once in a lifetime opportunity: to try out for the Croatian National Soccer Team. A defender for the Geneseo women's soccer team, Vojvodic hoped to make Croatia's roster for two of their United European Football Association Women's EURO championship qualifying matches, the first against Serbia on Nov. 19, and the second against the Netherlands on Nov. 24.
Vojvodic found out about the opportunity to play for Croatia from a high school teammate but was unsure what to expect during tryouts.
"I knew the level of play would be higher than I had ever experienced, but I didn't know how much higher or quicker it would be," she said.
The team invited 19 players to try out for 18 roster spots, and no one wanted to be the lone player sent home.
"When I left the field I wanted to know that I tried my absolute hardest. Whatever happened after that was not in my hands," Vojvodic said.
But she was better prepared than she expected, stating she had no trouble with any of the drills and she had even done most of them before.
While Vojvodic said she didn't find the drills unique, her new teammates certainly were. Some of her teammates were as young as 16 – like the team's goalie – while the oldest was 26. She said the veteran players on the team would playfully tease her, calling her nicknames like "little one" during training sessions.
Though Vojvodic performed well in practice before the match against Serbia, she was left off the team's roster due to her small exposure. But when the team returned home following the 2-4 loss, Vojvodic really stepped up her game.
"I became more comfortable with the style of play, the girls and the pace of the game," she said.
Because of her good showing, Vojvodic replaced one of her teammates and was granted a roster spot for the team's next match against the Netherlands.
"I was so excited I immediately texted my mom and dad to tell them," she said.
Even though she did not get a chance to enter the match, which Croatia lost 0-2, Vojvodic said she was proud of how well she had performed while having fun.
"This experience reminded me of why I love soccer, why I spend hours upon hours on the field," Vojvodic said. "I can't really describe why I do it; I just know I do it because I love it."