The U.S. Olympic Team for Women’s Field Hockey begins competition Sunday, August 10 against Argentina, one of the most decorated and formidable teams in their pool. Game time is 6:30 pm at the Olympic Green Hockey Stadium, Pitch 1. The contest will be televised live on MSNBC and Universal HD.
U.S. field hockey returns to the Olympic Games for the first time since 1996, facing a familiar foe in Argentina. The two teams dueled for the automatic Olympic Games bid in the finals of the 2007 Pan American Games. In fact, the USA has faced Las Leonas in five of the last six Pan American Games finals. Argentina has won all five.
“Given the location of the teams and the frequency with which we play each other, there’s a healthy competitive respect,” said USA Head Coach Lee Bodimeade. “These are two best teams in the Pan-American region.”
Argentina traveled to the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, CA for a four game test series against the USA Field Hockey Women’s National Team in April.
“At the Pan-American Games, we struck an agreement that the team that did qualify would help the other in their preparation for the Olympic Games qualifier,” said Bodimeade. “Unfortunately, we were the team that missed out, but the Argentines were true to their word, and they came out for four games.”
The USA won three of those contests, including two shutouts from goalkeeper Amy Tran, and Las Leonas held off a tremendous comeback attempt by the Americans in the fourth game. Striker Angie Loy, of Loysville, PA, scored five goals in the series to lead the U.S.
“Over the last 18 months our team has ramped up their level of play and has made us more competitive with a very strong Argentine side,” said Bodimeade.
Argentina, ranked number two in the world by the ABN-AMRO WorldHockey team rankings, boasts some of the world’s most formidable players. Midfielder Luciana Aymar has claimed has the International Hockey Federation’s “Player of the Year” Award four times. Magdalena Aicega is the team captain and member of the 2000 silver medal team and 2004 bronze medal team.
“Aymar is the best player in the world,” said Bodimeade, “and Aicega, to be at the top of her game for so long, is very pivotal to their success. Combined with the rest of their team, they make for a very potent opponent.”
Bodimeade says the U.S. Olympic Team for Women’s Field Hockey is ready for the Pan-American rivals.
“We’ve targeted this game as an opportunity to get a head start in our pool. We’ll be fighting hard to get the win.”
The United States is slotted in Pool B with Argentina, Germany, Great Britain, Japan and New Zealand.
For media and interview requests in Beijing, contact Jeff Gamza at 13910824442.
For more information about the U.S. Olympic Team for Field Hockey, visit fieldhockey.teamusa.org.
For more information on USA Field Hockey, visit www.usafieldhockey.com .