For this week’s Q&A with a LIU Brooklyn student-athlete we have Annika Foit, a junior who just received the Northeast Conference’s Player of the Week award for her stellar effort during the Campus USA Credit Union Invitational in Florida last weekend.
The 22-year-old Foit originally hails from Hausach, Germany and is currently majoring in chemistry. On top of her Player of the Week honors, an award she won six times last season, she has also been named the 2012 NEC Player of the Year and the 2011 NEC Rookie of the Year. On top of that, she was named to the NEC COmmissioner’s Academic Honor Roll last season.
Brooklyn Eagle Sports: First question, how is it that you came to LIU via Germany?
Annika Foit: I just sent a lot of emails to different coaches and waited for their answer to see if they wanted me. I was surprised to hear from coach Kyle Robinson because he wasn’t even one of the many coaches that I emailed. It turned out that there was a Czech girl on LIU and I played with another Czech girl and they knew each other. Somehow one showed the other my video and that somehow got back to the coaches at LIU and they called me.
BES: You must have been pleasantly surprised.
AF: Yeah, I was very surprised. I was hoping to come to the United States, but to come to New York was unexpected because I didn’t apply. I didn’t even know how they saw my video, but when they called me they had great things to say and were very nice.
BES: What was their reaction to the video?
AF: They were interested right away. I still talked to other coaches from other schools, but as soon as I got the call from LIU, I looked it up. I looked at the coaches who were both former volleyball players on the national team, which impressed me, and I noticed that they had other international players and it sounded great.
BES: What happened after that? Did you come for a visit?
AF: No. I didn’t even come for a visit, I just committed and came in August for preseason.
BES: That’s a major life decision to make without even visiting the school. What was that like?
AF: Yeah, It was very frightening. When I went to the airport and said goodbye to my parents it was very hard because I Didn’t know where I was going or what to expect. At that point I had only spoken with the coaches on the phone.
BES: Was it hard adjusting then?
AF: Well, we stared preseason right away and there were so many new things to learn. It was all very exciting so there was no time for being home sick at the beginning. By the time I had a moment to relax and think about it, I was already used to living here.
BES: Was there a reason that you wanted to come to America to go to school and play volleyball?
AF: I just saw it in the movies and I wanted to see it how it really is. I thought it would be nice to play volleyball while going to school. In the movies you see a lot of team camaraderie and I liked that and wanted to be apart of something like that.
BES: Now that you are in your third year here, is it what you expected?
AF: Yeah, I mean, LIU is a little bit of a different school because it’s in the city so people have other things to do, so we don’t have as many people watching our games, but it’s still it is what i thought is.
BES: What did your friends and family think when you told them that you were going to school in Brooklyn?
AF: At first when I told my parents I was going to Brooklyn, the school is called Long Island University so most people thought I was going to Long Island. I had to explain to them that I was actually going to Brooklyn. They asked if I was scared, but I figured that people wouldn’t come here if it wasn’t a good place to be.
BES: What would you tell any other potential international students who might want to come to LIU?
AF: I would tell them that, for me because I”m from a very small town, that it’s very different. I call it a huge playground. You can find anything you want, do whatever you want in the city. There are so many things to do and so many opportunities, I think it’s one of the best places to be especially when you are a student.
BES: Were there any other schools that you considered before LIU? And why did you ultimately settle on LIU?
AF: I talked with San Diego and some other, bigger schools like Georgia and VCU. They were talking and said they were interested, but it was never 100 percent. Georgia wanted me to come for a week for training camp and that’s not possible when you are coming from Germany. It cost a lot of money and not knowing if they would take you. It just wasn’t possible. It was weird. With LIU, they wanted me right away and were more welcoming from the start.
BES: What was the biggest difference you faced between playing in Germany and playing here?
AF: The biggest difference is practice. I wasn’t used to practicing so much and practicing every day. Food was also a huge difference for me and so was having people playing who were my age. Back home, I used to play people that were way older than me. So when I came here and everybody was the same age as me, I really liked that.
BES: You just won Player of the Week and you’ve won so many awards in the past, what does that mean to you?
AF: I’m really not used to it. We don’t have all of the accolades in Germany so I didn’t really know what it meant at first. My coach and the other girls told me that it was a big deal. I guess people think it’s nice, and for me it’s nice, but when my dad or coach tells me that I played well it would have the same effect.
BES: Do you feel that it puts more pressure on you to be a team leader?
AF: They said that they always looked at me as a leader just by how I played. It’s nice getting the respect from all of the other coaches, but at the same time, yes, there is pressure that comes with it. It helps to motivate me too because since I won it in my sophomore year now in my junior year what can I do? I need to win it again and that’s going to be hard because it also motivates other players to try to top me.
BES: What do you think of this year’s team? What are your expectations?
AF: I think our team is very good. Almost everyone is back. That makes us strong. The new girls that we do have coming in are also good. If we work hard and work as a unit, stay disciplined then we can surprise some big teams.
BES: What is your favorite thing to do in Brooklyn?
AF: I like going to the Brooklyn Heights Promenade and looking at the skyline. There are lots of beach volleyball courts around Brooklyn and I like going there.
BES: What about food? Do you have a favorite place to eat?
AF: If I go eat somewhere outside of campus, I never know what to choose because there are so many different things. I like to try new things, but it can be overwhelming. I tried sushi for the first time this summer and I really liked that though. Oh, and Ignazio’s is my favorite place to get pizza.
Thanks to Annika for taking the time between being awesome at volleyball and getting good grades to talk with me. Her Blackbirds are in Maryland this weekend for the Maryland Invitational where they will take on Penn, Maryland, and UMKC this Friday and Saturday. Check the weekly scoreboard for game times and score updates. Don’t forget to read our past interviews with LIU Brooklyn student-athletes and follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook to get regular updates on Brooklyn sports.