Two Argyle Secondary students are taking to the field with Team Great Britain this summer. Henry Cheyne and Cayden Allen have been invited to join the U18 baseball team at the European Baseball Championship and a little support would help them along the way.

Playing in the park

All the swings and misses and running in circles of Lynn Valley Little League T-Ball games did two things for Cheyne and Allen: it helped them discover a passion for baseball and solidified a friendship that has now taken them halfway around the world. 

Cayden Allen

“It’s North Vancouver, I play ice hockey, everybody plays soccer but we have played baseball since kindergarten and I think we just fell in love with the game,” said Allen. “We just want to keep playing at a high level.”

Cheyne echoes the early interest in the sport. 

“It’s just really fun for me. It’s not like soccer – doing just running and kicking – there are so many aspects of the game.”

 Recent advancements to the the BC Premier Baseball League have finally separated Allen (playing for the North Shore Twins) and Cheyne (Coquitlam Reds) but for the previous nine seasons – back to T-ball – they were part of the same team.

“We have so many memories of playing together and with the same group all the way until grade nine,” said Cheyne. 

They credit great coaches – like Allen’s dad Chris – and the thoughtful progression followed by LVLL that kept the game fun while building important skills for success and the chance to play internationally.  

“There are so many opportunities at LVLL. They do Fall Ball and Summer Ball. They selected for AllStar teams that give more opportunities for training and travel,” said Allen. “It helps with so much with development. I got so much help.” 

Bigger leagues

The two players have a lot in common: both love baseball, both are in grade 11 at Argyle Secondary and coincidentally both have dual citizenship with the United Kingdom. That little piece of joint family history came into play last year when they were watching the World Baseball Classic. They noticed Great Britain had a team – which led to some digging and discovering GB also fields a team at youth events. 

Henry Cheyne

“Baseball is a growing sport in England. They don’t have the same participation as in North America but it’s growing fast MLB (American Major League Baseball) is hosting games this year in London,” said Cheyne.

The limited popularity of the sport in the UK presented an opportunity for Cheyne and Allen. They contacted the coach – something that would not have been as easy to do for Team Canada.

“That initial contact was definitely easier for Team GB but we needed to prove ourselves. They have players from all over the world so we needed to earn our spots,” said Allen.

Those conversations last summer led to an invitation to join GB for a tournament in Spain this past winter. An invitation the teens could not turn down. 

Cheyne and Allen in Spain.

“We went to go play baseball and have fun. It was so cool to hear different languages and accents all playing together. We played against Italy so they were yelling in Italian – it was about baseball but somehow cooler,” chuckled Allen. 

Their brief time with the U18 team for GB paid off: both Allen Cheyne received invitations to join the team this summer, which has sparked dreams of more play for GB – the way to the Olympics in 2028.

Out of the park

As the school year draws to a close the two athletes will be boarding a plane to train in England before the GB national team heads to Germany in early July. 

“It can be tricky sometimes,” said Allen. “There is training, practices, gym sessions. We make sure to get our school work done but there isn’t a lot of time for other things. Sometimes it’s waking up at 5 am to get a project done.”

They estimate training can take 18-20 hours some weeks with games added on top. It’s all worth it with dreams to one day play in the Major Leagues. Between now and then they hope for more international play, and to follow a plan to balance education and playing opportunities through US junior colleges followed by universities. 

“I am grateful to my parents and family for the time this takes,” said Allen. “They drive us all over – I think the furthest tournament was Arizona. It’s definitely a sacrifice they have made”

Cheyne sees the support too. 

“It’s an expensive sport and if you advance you go to lots of places, which cost a lot of money and all the time and effort to try it out everywhere. I play in Coquitlam now so that’s a lot . . . “ 

Like many amateur athletes – even those at an international level – families are primarily responsible for costs. The teens are trying to fundraise $10,000 through a GoFundMe to help them seize the opportunity to play internationally this July. 

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