Sydney, NS — The Cape Breton University women’s basketball team is pleased to announce the signing of Dutch international point-guard, Chermensa van la Parra for the 2020-21 season.
Having played at both the international level for the Netherlands and for CBV Binnenland in the highest echelon of Dutch club basketball, van la Parra brings a wealth of talent and experience that will no doubt help the Capers to achieve their goals in 2020 and beyond.
Coming from a country in which soccer often dominates the sporting news cycle, van la Parra bucked the trend and was a committed basketball and tennis player in her early years. After finding she had less and less available time for both sports, the future Caper found herself more drawn to the team-orientated nature of basketball.
“There was a period in my life when I used to play basketball and tennis at the same time, I never wanted to choose because I never had an answer. Basketball is a team sport and I love the energy that radiates with your teammates when you are playing together and tennis was just the opposite. It was very hard for me to make a decision because I liked both but at some point, I did need to choose. I started basketball because of my Mum, she played basketball as well and took me to all her games. It was my first sport and that’s why I chose basketball.”
That decision would prove to be extremely fortuitous for van la Parra, who first represented the Netherlands at the 2017 U16 FIBA European Championships in Bourges, France. Playing for your country at the age of just 15 might be an overwhelming experience for some players, but the future Caper is convinced that this early exposure to high-level basketball will allow her to adapt more easily to the Capers style of play.
“To play for your country is an incredible feeling. First of all, I felt super blessed to be part of it. Other than that it gave me so much confidence and it made me realize that I am a good basketball player. I have learned a lot, not only on the court but also off the court and it will definitely help me out in the AUS conference.”
As a player, van la Parra is a Swiss army knife of sorts, boasting impressive speed in transition, an exceptional handle and accuracy from both two and three-point range. On the defensive side of the ball, the 5’4 point-guard offers a high energy approach that is sure to have a positive impact for CBU going forward.
“It is difficult for me to say what my best on-court attributes are. I’m a fast point-guard, who can play hard defense and shoot 3-pointers. What the fans can expect from me is a never give up attitude, high energy and to always give 100% on the court.”
Having visited Cape Breton in May of this year, van la Parra found herself impressed by the positive atmosphere both on campus and within the women’s basketball team. With a number of options to consider coming out of high school, it was the warm Sydney welcome that eventually swayed the Dutch international.
“The reason I decided to go to CBU is that they gave me a lot of trust. I felt so comfortable and everyone was so sweet. Not only the staff, it was everyone. I have never met such kind, sweet helpful people like the people there. I think Canada is so different from other countries, everyone I know is going to America and that was my first option too but I wanted to make a different step and CBU gave me that extra feeling.”
The move to Cape Breton will undoubtedly bring about some feelings of apprehension for the international student-athlete with 2,800 miles separating Sydney and her home-town of Rotterdam. Despite this potential difficulty, van la Parra says she has the full support of her family and is certain that the relocation will be a major step in the right direction for her sporting and scholastic future.
“My whole family supports the fact that I’m leaving next year. They all know that I want it so much and they will support me whatever it takes. I’m so lucky to have them. It’s kind of hard that I’m leaving because we are a super close family, and of course, we will miss each other, but we will be fine. We can Skype, FaceTime and maybe they will come to visit me. It is hard but if I want to go further with basketball I have to do it.”
As for her on-court goals, the Barendrecht point-guard says her ambitions revolve around winning AUS titles, making an impact on the national level and bettering herself as both a player and a person.
“My long term goal, first of all, would be winning as many conference titles as possible. I also want to become the best version of myself, both playing basketball and as a person. I really think CBU can help me reach these goals. Of course I also want to make it to the national level. I’m going to have my ups and downs but without struggle, there is no progress and I always keep that in the back of my head.”
Perhaps a good omen for van la Parra’s future career with the Capers is her strong connection to the colour Orange. Orange is synonymous with Dutch sport and fans can often be heard serenading their team with renditions of ‘Wij houden van Oranje’ which literally translates to ‘We love Orange.’ Whilst that version may not be sung in the Sullivan Fieldhouse anytime soon, let’s hope that with the support of CBU’s Orange Army Chermensa van la Parra will still be able to say ‘Wij houden van Oranje’ for many more years to come.
– T. Bennett
Information from the Cape Breton Capers contributed to this post.