Field Hockey Holds Day Three of Training

Aug. 06, 2008, 1:09 a.m. (ET)
BEIJING, CHINA (August 6, 2008) - The U.S. Olympic Team for Women’s Field Hockey held their third training session Wednesday, their first at the Olympic Sports Center Hockey Stadium. The training included shooting drills, penalty corner practice and a team scrimmage.

“Once we got our touch on the new field, we really got started,” said defender Rachel Dawson. Dawson, captain of the 2007 University of North Carolina national championship field hockey team, is a native of Berlin, N.J. “We brought intensity to our scrimmage today. It was nice to be competitive again. We’re really excited. We’re chomping at the bit to get playing.”

“I think we’re all feeling pretty sharp and ready for the tournament,” said Amy Tran. Tran, a Grantville, PA native, is regarded internationally as the number one female goalkeeper in the world.

In the months leading to the Olympic Games, the team developed strategies to help cope with the heat and humidity in China, including weightlifting and athletic training inside a heat tent. The team is housed at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, CA.

“We’re pretty content with the conditions,” said Tran. “The heat is not affecting us.” With a smile, she added, “It’s definitely hotter than San Diego, but we’re happy.”

“It feels good to get a little sweat going,” said Dawson.

Wednesday’s training also had an audience: a group of twenty bystanders packed together to peer through a break in the banners on the surrounding fences to sneak a glimpse of practice. The Olympic Sports Center is located on the outskirts of the main Olympic complex; on the opposite side of the fence is the regular hustle and bustle of Beijing.

“I think it’s pretty cool,” said Dawson of the onlookers. “They had genuine interest in what was going on, to be a part of the Olympic vibe.”

The U.S. Olympic Team for Women’s Field Hockey will hold a scrimmage with the Korean Olympic Team tomorrow, August 7, at the Olympic Sports Center Hockey Stadium at 7:30 pm.