Deacon Spotlight: Anne Van Hoof


Will Zimmerman, Sports Editor

A senior from Schijndel, a town in the south of the Netherlands, Anne Van Hoof’s journey to the Wake Forest Field Hockey team was anything but traditional. “I lived with my two older sisters, parents and wiener dog until coming to America when I was 18 years old,” she told the Old Gold & Black. 

In her first three seasons with the team, the defender started in 57 of 60 games and racked up numerous accolades. As a sophomore, she was named to the All-ACC Second Team; and as a junior, an NFHCA Second Team All-American and to the All-ACC Academic Squad. 

Van Hoof, who is studying communication and entrepreneurship, is looking forward to what she hopes will be her team’s most successful season yet. Here, she discusses how she got into field hockey, what it has been like to play at Wake Forest over the past several years and how the global pandemic has affected aspects of her training and the season at-large.

Will Zimmerman: How did you get into playing field hockey?

Anne Van Hoof: I started playing field hockey when I was four years old but have been around field hockey since I was born. Both of my sisters played field hockey and so all my Saturdays were spent at the field hockey club. At home in the Netherlands we only have club sports and I played for my hometown club until I was around 11 years old when I joined our large City Club. From there on, I joined the regional and national teams under 16 and 18 whilst playing for my club team. After I finished high school, I started my journey here at Wake Forest to study and to play for our field hockey team. 

WZ: What was it like coming to play here at Wake Forest after training for years in the Netherlands?

AVH: Coming from a country where field hockey is one of the biggest sports to a country where most people don’t know about field hockey was quite a shock. Here, a lot of people may not be familiar with the sport. Our games are broken into four quarters, each of 15 minutes. The total time of our game is only about an hour and 15 minutes, including breaks. 

WZ: What is something that many people may not know about field hockey?

AVH: Something I’d say that many people may not know about field hockey, for those that are not familiar with the sport, is that you cannot use the “wrong side” of your stick.

WZ: What was your training like this summer? How was it affected by the pandemic? 

AVH: I trained all this summer … I mean that was all we could do right? Training definitely looked different than usual. Because Wake Forest shut down during springbreak and European countries were shutting their borders due to rising COVID-19 cases, I flew back home as soon as possible. And I mean literally. I booked a flight, and the next day I was home. Over the four or so months when I was at home, I trained a lot by myself to improve my endurance. Distance, shuttles, sprints, biking, swimming, and obviously climbing the fences of my old field hockey club with a ball to work on my stick skills. 

WZ: Now that you are back here at Wake Forest, how has the field hockey team’s ability to practice and play been affected by COVID-19?

AVH: When Wake Forest shut down, we were unable to to practice or play, but this did not keep us from staying connected and growing as a team. We had Zoom meetings every week to stay in touch, as well as, a group-chat where we would send videos of new skills we learned for others to try. We also had teammates facetiming each other while running to support and challenge each other from far away. 

WZ: As a result of COVID-19, how does the game-day routine of 2020 differ from that of years past?

AVH: Everything is a little bit different. We have to get to the facilities earlier to get our temperatures checked before we are escorted to our locker room. We have to wear our masks in the locker room and we are not in the locker room if not necessary. We also wear our masks during warm ups and in between quarters. 

WZ: How do you feel about your teammates and how the season has progressed thus far?

AVH: We have an amazing squad this year, full of highly talented, hard-working players. The results, however, have not always mirrored our talent and reflected our growth. We have won some games, such as our first against Virgina, but we have let opportunities during other matches slip out from right beneath our fingers. 

WZ: As a team, what can you do to capitalize more, going forward?

AVH: Simply, we need to score. There are many things to work on for our upcoming games, but the hunger to get better and to win is definitely there.

WZ: What are your goals as a team?

AVH: In the short-term we are looking to improve as a squad with each drill, practice, day and week. We are working towards winning the ACC championship in the beginning of November, that’s our goal. 

WZ: What is the best part about being a member of the Wake Forest field hockey team?

AVH: My favorite aspect of being a member of this team is being around girls with the same goals, that work so hard with me on the field every day, but at the same time are my best friends off the field. I am gifted to have 21 sisters that challenge me, but also lift me up and make me smile every single day. I am very grateful for every single one of my teammates.