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Alana Werwa: An Unexpected Change

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Written By Charlie Goldberg

An unexpected change can be all someone needs in order to grow.

This change was for 15-year-old Alana Werwa, who adjusted from playing on her middle school volleyball court to the high school field hockey pitch. 

Growing up in Livingston, New Jersey, Werwa developed a connection to serving and spiking volleyballs for the Golda Och Academy middle school team. 

However, in 2020, the Covid shutdown brought this experience to a screeching halt and ended Werwa’s volleyball career. 

Directionless, Alana decided to speak with a familiar face. 

Werwa explained, “I talked to my guidance counselor and I was like, ‘I don’t know what to do. He said my [field hockey] rec team needs players.’” 

Field hockey? This was unfamiliar to Werwa but with her trusted counselor as the local rec team coach, Werwa decided to try something new. 

“I never expected to go anywhere with field hockey. I always thought volleyball was gonna be my thing and I quickly realized it wasn’t. I have a purpose now I have a thing I enjoy.”

At the start, Werwa played positions on offense and defense but soon made a big transition to goalie. 

“The goalie for my rec team tore her ACL and no one really wanted to play goalie,” she said. “They were like well you’re a defensive player we want you to try out for this position and I tried it and I fell in love with it and stuck with it.”

As a goalie, Werwa had to face a plethora of new challenges having to do with her mobility underneath heavy amounts of goalie gear. 

Struggling, Alana almost gave up until she met the right mentor at the perfect time in Rutgers field hockey player and her future coach: Gianna Glatz. 

“I saw her play and I wanted to be her,” Werwa described. “She coaches me now and I got to tell her that in person.” 

Underneath the tutelage of her idol, Alana improved her game to a whole new level to where she now finds herself traveling to Argentina as a part of this year’s Pan American Games. 

Alana is not only thrilled to represent her country but she’s also ready to lead as well. 

“I love the idea of getting to play for my country and the idea of people seeing me knowing I represent my country and every time I go to a tournament in the states. I always go in and want to take home the gold,” she said.

“I want to be the leader because that’s what goalies are. We’re the glue that holds the team together and I want to make sure that me and the other goalie can do that so we can ensure we take home that medal.” 

Curious, Determined, Excited, Optimistic and ready for the Pan American Games in Argentina, Alana Werwa will make her name known on the pitch this winter. 

Charlie Goldberg is from Merrick, Long Island, New York. He is a junior at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications.  Connect with him on Twitter @CJGoldberg, Instagram @TheCharlieGoldberg and follow him at www.maccabiusa.com 

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