One of the most stable players of the team, who demonstrated the assured game during the whole last season Alika Keene, put her signature under the contract for the next year and will continue to defend the honor of Šiauliai “Gintra” team.
The defender, who is celebrating her 27th birthday on January, remained loyal to the “Gintra” team and hopes that the next season will be full in all aspects. Alika arrived in Lithuania last spring, just before the global coronavirus pandemic, and the course of the entire season.
“It was a difficult period, we didn’t even know how to stay in Lithuania or go to the USA. Of course, it was hard for everyone, the whole world of sports was just stopped. After discussing the situation with the club leaders, we decided to “wait” and later I never regretted the decision. It was just very disappointing that we ended the season with such a defeat.
“I always wanted to try my hand at Europe, at the same time get to know other cultures, people, discover something new. I would even like to learn Lithuanian, although I know that it is a very difficult language”, – said the player, who just arrived in the city of the Sun last spring.
She did not give her promise to learn Lithuanian, but already during the season team players and coaches noticed A. Keene’s progress in this area. When she came to training she usually greeted in Lithuanian, and while Lithuanians communicating with each other in her native language,carefully analyzed words and increasingly tried to get involved in the conversation.
“After almost a year spent in Lithuania, I can only confirm that the Lithuanian language is definitely not easy. Deep down, I hoped that I would surprise those around me and myself by gaining at least a basic level, but it seems that such achievements will take at least another year”, – smiled A.Keene.
Asked what the main reasons were for her decision to stay on the team, A.Keene went back to the past, remembering the injury suffered by Madie Gibson in the summer and the conversation between the players.
“Madie suffered a serious injury in the summer, which hit us hard. We already talked to our teammates then that if circumstances allowed, we would stay on this team no matter how the season ended. I believe that by keeping most of the players, we can do a lot, and when Madie returns to the lineup, we will be even stronger. Frankly, the last match of the season, which we lost with a crushing result, was also one of the cornerstones of our determination. I would feel very bad if I left the team after such a shameful performance. Our team was very close and united this year, I did not feel such a team atmosphere since my first team as a child. The leaders of the club believe in us, give us another chance, so I see no reason why we should not take it and show that we can be better”, – said the defender, who was wearing a yellow-black shirt marked with the number 21.
“I want Gintra to finish the headlines in the Champions League early next season,” replaced by “Gintra shakes Europe with big wins again”, – Keene added.