Hannah Soper is determined to make a difference in the lives of netballers and help grow the sport.
The Netball South Canterbury youth board member was announced as one of nine new faces on the Netball New Zealand youth board this week, and she intended to use her voice to help grow the game.
“It’s about getting netball out into the places where it’s not as popular, to get more males playing competitive netball and get it more into the disabled foundations, like the Blind Foundation,” Hannah (17) said.
Knowing the difference being active and playing sport made for people with disabilities in her community led her to want to help those further afield.
“Through the South Canterbury youth board we talked about it a bit, but we didn’t really get the opportunity. We didn’t have the large scale force to put into place those sorts of things, so just being able to give those sorts of people the same opportunities that everyone else has.”
She also wanted to provide better pathways for men to play netball, and get them playing at a competitive level.
The Waimate High School pupil was “super excited” to be appointed to the national board, and hoped to be able to promote the needs of South Canterbury’s youth.
“I’m a super-confident person, so I feel like people come to me with their ideas and it’s a good way for me to be able to spread their ideas out into the netball community more.”
The player, coach and umpire joined the Netball South Canterbury board nearly three years ago, and it helped her stay involved in the sport when she ruptured her anterior cruciate ligament last season.
It was the drive to get to know the behind the scenes administration of netball that led her to join, and it opened her up to a wider scope of the game.
“It’s a really good way to understand more about the game itself, and I really want to get the younger people, and the youth enjoying netball.
“We have a kids [year] three and four competition up in Timaru that I help out with, and it’s really cool to see the enjoyment the kids have out of it, so I really want to keep that enjoyment through to more competitive, because that’s what I’ve had, so I just really want them to have those experience as well.”