Allison Schroder’s talents have already taking her a long way and they’re about to take her even further this weekend.
The 13-year-old Fruitvale baseball player will be heading to Cuba for Baseball Canada’s Girls’ Development Camp in Havana from Feb. 14 to Feb. 21.
The standout athlete has already turned heads at the national level and she has been picked to take part in the trip, which serves as an identification camp for potential future players on the women’s national team.
Schroder will be part of the Canadian group that will train and compete with Cuban student athletes as well as train with members of the vaunted Cuban National Team.
“The idea of the Cuban Goodwill tour was introduced to all the teams at Nationals in Quebec last summer, and I was invited by the Team Canada coaches to attend,” said Schroder.
“Being coached by international coaches is a once in a lifetime experience,” she added. “I’m also excited that we have the opportunity to volunteer in a Cuban orphanage.”
To date, 21 athletes who have attended the Girls Development Camp in Cuba in previous years, including another Fruitvale product, Ella Matteucci, have gone on to participate with the Canadian Women’s National Team program.
The Development Camp is in its seventh year of operation under the direction of Canadian Women’s National Team Manager André Lachance.
“This trip is an invaluable experience for players looking to take their game to the next level,” he said.
“Players will be challenged each day on the field as they compete in an environment that is foreign to them. Another important component to the trip is a cultural and learning exchange where players will be exposed to Cuban culture and history with off-field activities scheduled each day.”
Schroder’s participation will certainly turn heads. The camp is usually reserved for players 15-to-18-years old but Scott Mackenzie, director of programming and operations manager of female baseball for Baseball BC, stressed each player is judged on an individual basis for maturity, responsibility as well as playing ability.
“She’s definitely one of the standouts in her age group,” said Mackenzie.
“It’s definitely rare,” he said refering to her age compared to the majority of players headed to the camp. He’s been to three previous Cuban camps and in his trips, Alli is the youngest player to attend the camps.
“I’m not intimidated by the older players,” explained Schroder. “Because I see it as a chance to learn from them.”
As a relative youngster compared to her peers in camp, Mackenzie said what puts Schroder above other players her age is the intangibles on the playing field.
“She has a calmness that allows her to make plays whereas other younger players tend to panic or rush their throws.”
Schroder won’t be going without some family support.
“My dad is going with the team, he traveled with us (Team BC) this year to Saskatchewan and Quebec, so I’m glad he’ll be in Cuba too.”