Digging Deeper Into The "Off-Season"

You've seen them on the court. You've seen them in the community. But where do the Liberty and other WNBA players go in the off-season? Not many fans beyond the "W" community know about the lives led by our players outside the summer months.

Here's the scoop; at the conclusion of the summer, a majority of WNBA players sign contracts with teams overseas to keep their bodies in shape and their game on point. With each passing year, players get better, which in turn makes WNBA play better. And overseas competition in the off-season is a large contributing factor to that success.

Sure, we see the updates about their play. But what else goes on? Is it all fun and games? Is it a cultural thrill? Or is it just part of the job? NYLiberty.com's Jessica Quas spans the globe and gets to the bottom of it all to find out more about their lives once the Liberty shuts its doors each year.

Today, she tracks down forward Cathrine Kraayeveld in Prague.

How many seasons have you played overseas?
This is my fourth season overseas.

Where was your favorite city to play in and why?
I have really liked all of the cities I have played in. They have all been great, a lot to offer, to see and do!

Do you keep in touch with former overseas team-mates? Do they ever visit New York when you’re in town?
Yes, I keep in touch with a few team-mates from other teams I have played on. I have had one friend come visit a couple of times, it's been great!

Have you ever tried to learn the country’s language before heading overseas?
Unfortunately no. These past two seasons, the languages have been pretty difficult.

What about during your time overseas?
I have picked up very very little of the languages. I probably could of learned a little more French while in Belgium. I was only there for four months at a time. So it's a little harder to learn a language in such short time.

How do you stay in touch with friends or family?
I mostly stay in touch through Skype and e-mail.

Is there any time for fun/entertainment? Is it comparable to the U.S. in anyway?
Yes, we have some days off to do different things. Europe has a lot to offer and is very historic, so it's a lot of fun to see everything the city has to offer.

Do you have a lot of free time to travel or sight-see? If not, is that something you’d be interested in?
We have some days off, but not a lot. I love to walk around the city and just explore!

How do you stay up to date with the current, popular music and television shows while over there?
I don't really! I watch lots of movies. I guess I will catch up when I go home!

Do you ever eat any of the local cuisine or do you just stick to things you know?
Most of the time I stick to what I know. Prague has anything you want, so it's nothin' too crazy.

How would you describe your local culture? Can you relate to any of it? Does it feel like home in any way?
No, it doesn't feel like home. Everything in Europe is so old, but that's what makes it such a great experience!

What is one of your fondest memories about playing overseas?
Just being able to play basketball all over the world. It's a pretty amazing experience and I'm so blessed to be able to do it! All the people you meet and the friends you make!

If you could play anywhere you haven’t before, where would it be and why?
Hmm, I don't know!

Season tickets for the Liberty's 2010 campaign at Madison Square Garden are on sale now by calling 212-465-6073.