Sports

Set up across the globe

Two-year Trojan has travelled the world for volleyball

Tyler Latu'ila poses for a portrait at SAIT in Calgary on Feb. 7, 2017. Latu'ila is originally from New Zealand, but moved to Canada to pursue volleyball at SAIT. Photo by Dawn Gibson

Tyler Latu’ila poses for a portrait at SAIT in Calgary on Feb. 7, 2017. Latu’ila is originally from New Zealand, but moved to Canada to pursue volleyball at SAIT.
Photo by Dawn Gibson

International student and men’s volleyball player Tyler Latu’ila has played volleyball across the globe for most of his life.

A current student athlete enrolled in business administration, Latu’ila first started playing volleyball at Penrose high school, in his hometown of Auckland, New Zealand. 

“The high school coach was just going around and picking out guys who were tall to play, and it just started from there,” said Latu’ila

That moment marked the beginning of a 10-year volleyball career that eventually brought Latu’ila across the world to play for SAIT.

After high school, the newly graduated player went on to join the New Zealand Jr. national team for two years.

Following his time playing on the national team, he played for the Australian Volleyball League. 

Some of his former teammates from the junior national team in New Zealand have also played for the Trojans, a factor that influenced Latu’ila’s decision to change teams once again.

When it comes to the way volleyball is played in different countries, he said that Canada is focused more on the basics than New Zealand.

“You focus on fundamentals here, and back home you just play. There’s no college volleyball, you just pick it up as you go.”

Focusing more on fundamentals was an easy switch for the left-side player, but it was assimilating into Calgary’s unique culture that was most difficult.

“The biggest adaptation was the culture. The country music, and that sort of vibe. Other than that, there’s not a huge difference.”

Although country music may have been difficult for Latu’ila to get excited about, he was pleasantly surprised with other aspects of Canadian life.

“I thought that it [would] be a lot more like America than it is. Canada lives up to the stereotype that the people are friendly here.”

Living on his own was another new experience for Latu’ila.

With his father in New Zealand and his mother in Australia, Latu’ila has always lived with a family member, until coming to Calgary. 

“Learning how to cook for myself and that sort of thing was new, but I got use to it really fast.”

Because he has moved around throughout the majority of his adult life, Latu’ila said he doesn’t experience
homesickness.

“I miss some things for sure, like the beach and my parents. But other than that, I’ve always been moving between Australia and New Zealand, so I don’t get homesick in that sense.”

Next year, Latu’ila plans on transferring into the business degree program at SAIT.

After that, the New Zealand native would like to spend some time travelling Europe and South America.

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