The Kent State field hockey team added a new player on Wednesday and even though she probably won’t see much playing time this year, she is sure to make an impact off the field.

10-year-old Mary Alice Tryda signed a letter of intent to join the field hockey team, becoming the second Team IMPACT child to sign with a Kent State athletic team this semester, joining Malyk Foster who signed with the basketball team on Aug. 26.

Mary Alice started her day in the locker room where she got her own locker and uniform, which she wore the rest of the day, proudly displaying her new Kent State jersey with the number one on the front.

Mary Alice signed her letter in a press conference Wednesday with her mother, Kelly, and the field hockey head coach Kyle DeSandes-Moyer by her side, where much of the conversation centered around the excitement of the addition of the team’s new player.

“We’re really excited to have everyone here, joining us today as Mary Alice is going to join the Kent State family,” DeSandes-Moyer said.

Team IMPACT is a nonprofit based in Massachusetts that connects children with chronic or severe illnesses with college athletic programs in order to “give them a little more support, another family to help them through some things,” DeSandes-Moyer said. Mary Alice was diagnosed with a connective tissue disorder in 2018, and has another surgery coming up. DeSandes-Moyer said the team is excited to give her their love and support to help her and her family.

Mary Alice and her family recently moved to the area from Massachusetts, where through Team IMPACT she signed as a member of the Stonehill College field hockey team in September 2018.

“We actually started recruiting Mary Alice probably back all the way in March… so it’s almost like we have a transfer,” DeSandes-Moyer said. “We have you moving up to bigger and better things!” 

Mary Alice loves field hockey, and also loves cheerleading, so DeSandes-Moyer said she can hopefully help cheer the team on, and get them pumped up for games. She will be an honorary captain for the team for their game against Miami (OH) on Oct. 11, and will “hopefully ring the bell for us when we beat Miami,” DeSandes-Moyer said.

DeSandes-Moyer’s excitement to have Mary Alice on the team, and the excitement to support her through anything she may encounter was echoed by one of her players.

“Something that we say on our team is ‘we don’t complain we do the work,’ and I think Mary Alice is super exemplary of that and definitely an important part of our family now,” senior midfielder Hannah Weidman said. “Once you sign that letter, you’ll have 25 big sisters who will always have your back from now on, so we’re very excited to have you.”

Mary Alice then signed her letter of intent, impressing her new coach with her attention to detail: “She has beautiful penmanship,” DeSandes-Moyer said.

Mary Alice was also given a gift bag with Kent State clothing, gummy bears, some stickers and her favorite snack, peanut butter flavored Oreos.

After she signed her letter of intent, the press conference was over and the Golden Flashes field hockey team had a new team member, and maybe the only person more excited than Mary Alice was her mother, Kelly: “We’re so excited to be here, thank you so much, it’s nice to have a family here.”

Contact Aaron McDade at amcdade2@kent.edu.

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