Mens YOG Qualifying Team Continues to Display Growth in Puerto Rico
The U.S. Men’s Youth Olympic Games (YOG) Qualification team journeyed to Puerto Rico last week to contend for an internationally desired slot at the 2014 YOG in Nanjing, China this summer by earning one of the top two spots during this week’s preliminary tournament. Games began early this week and run until February 8. Team USA’s first match-up was against Mexico which concluded with a 5-5 score. From there the squad met Guatemala on the pitch and earned their first win of the tournament, 9-3.
“The Under-18 men are growing into the tournament with improvements every game,” said Rutger Wiese Head YOG Coach. “After a difficult start the first game against Mexico, the team committed to go through the processes with a third place after the first two days of competition.”
The team proceeded to take tactical knowledge from each match and apply those lessons to the next game. After a 9-1 loss to Argentina, Team USA focused on key details to make pivotal changes for next opponent Puerto Rico. By adapting their plan of attack, the U.S. earned their second win of the tournament with a 11-0 score.
“I think that as a team we clearly grow every period of every match,” said Wiese. “The boys are quickly learning the lessons of international hockey. Especially the matches against Argentina and Puerto Rico on Wednesday showed what we are capable of as a team. I am excited about the next matches this tournament.”
Team USA will compete against Canada tomorrow to establish their pool play position.