After leaving her sister, dog, and parents in Australia, 10,000 miles and 15 hours away, basketball player Ceara Leavai said the Queens University of Charlotte women’s basketball team has become her new family.
Leavai, a guard from Sydney, Australia, said, “Leaving home at a young age has allowed me to become a lot more independent.”
Leavai left home at the age of 18 to pursue a collegiate basketball career in America, where it has always been her dream to go to school for her sport. She has played for Queens for two years and will be going into her senior season. Before attending Queens, Leavai spent her freshman and sophomore year at junior colleges in Nebraska and Texas.
She is optimistic about the upcoming season. Last year, the team finished 10th in the South Atlantic Conference with a 4-22 record. Leavai said this year’s team has a positive mindset going into a new season and the women are fired up to get on the court to showcase their hard work and preparation.
The program also has four other players from different countries: Spain, Portugal, China, and Finland. Because home is also extremely far away for these players, Leavai has a shared experience with her teammates, creating an intimate family atmosphere. Leavai said she is tremendously grateful to have an opportunity to attend Queens and call it her home.
Women’s basketball has added six new players and two new coaches to go along with the eight returners and Head Coach Sarah Jansen. The season begins November 7 on the road, when the Royals take on the Davidson College Wildcats in Davidson, North Carolina.