Her last visit to Fijian shores was in 2011 but that doesn’t make the 17-year-old Trina Davis any less excited about representing her mother’s home nation in this week’s OFC Women’s Nations Cup Qualifier in Lautoka.
In fact, it’s a double homecoming of sorts with her mother Vikashni having been born in raised in the town on Fiji’s western side.
The USA-based striker Davis is excited and ready to wear Fiji colours when the campaign kicks off in her mum’s home town today.
“I am so excited and ready to fly the Fijian flag here and I am sure my mum must be so proud of me as well,” Davis said.
“It makes me feel really proud and happy to get to show people what I am capable of.”
Davis’ journey to Fiji began while she was playing college soccer at Grambling State University last April.
The Grambling State coaching staff had a connection to the Fijian national team, and after learning Davis’ Indo-Fijian ethnicity, Davis’ path to Fiji began.
After exchanging emails and sharing her video highlights, Davis impressed coach Marika Rodu and she was called in to join the team.
“I was honestly shocked, I couldn’t believe that I would have an opportunity to represent mum’s country,” she said.
Davis already has established a legacy at Marysville Pilchuck. She’s the soccer program’s all-time leading scorer with 36 goals. She owns the school’s 100-metre track and field record and has received multiple accolades for her athletic achievements.
Now she’s looking to make a similar impact while playing for Fiji women team.
It hasn’t been a simple journey to wearing the sky blue however with Davis having to organise her Fijian citizenship and passport before she was eligible.
She also had to undergo an MRI to ensure the injured knee she had been nursing was back at 100 per cent.
Having cleared those hurdles, Davis made the globe trotting trip to join the women’s national team.
Coach Marika Rodu has been happy with Davis’ integration into the team.
“She has definitely brought in lots of experience up front with her speed and skills,” said Rodu.
“I have seen her calibre, which is a boost for the side and she has also gelled in quickly into our style of play.”
Davis’ mother Vikashni moved to the USA as a 22-year-old and has always done her best to teach her children about the Fijian side of their culture.
“My kids always ask me, ‘Who are we?’,” Vicky said. “Their dad is white and from the US. Trina doesn’t look anything like her dad. She has to learn about her cultural background, and I think this is a really great opportunity.”
Twice previously Trina has visited Fiji, but her last trip came in 2011. While she’s eager to discover more about the Fijian lifestyle.
“My mom talks about Fiji all the time,” Trina said. “She tries to get me to speak some of the language. We just laugh because I can’t say most things. We have a lot of food. She teaches me a lot about the Fijian culture, and I’m super excited.”
Trina still has plenty to learn, though, including a particular pre-game song she will need to know.
“My mom was telling me songs I should know, like the Fijian national anthem,” Trina said. “My mom has been singing it. I’ve been practicing, but I don’t know one bit.”
“I was nine years old the last time I visited, and it’s very different.”
A downside to Trina’s trip is the ramifications it has for her pre-season training back in the US. Trina expects to return before Marysville Pilchuck’s first game but needs 10 practices before she can play and therefore will miss several regular-season games.
The choice wasn’t easy for Trina, who clearly described her love for high school soccer, but she couldn’t pass up the chance to compete at such a high level and so intimately connect with her culture.
“I’m really sad to miss part of my senior season,” Trina said. “We have new players this year and figuring out how to play could be kind of hard, but I’m really excited. Playing high school, you have a lot of fun.”
Trina is hoping her time in Fiji will benefit Marysville Pilchuck on the field through learned skills on and off the field thanks to the new-found cultural perspective she is getting from this competition.