Super seven: the USA's "old-timers"
*Article courtesy of the FIH
Super seven: the USA's "old timers"
While Team USA come into the Rabobank Hockey World Cup with a squad that has a lot of players who have not played on the big stage with the regularity of a Maartja Paumen or a Luciana Aymar, the team does consist of a core of players who have been together for a long time.
Leading the way is the strong, midfield core of the team, captain Lauren Crandall and Rachel Dawson, who have 224 and 233 caps respectively. Both Rachel and Lauren joined the squad in 2005 and have played in two Olympic Games. In 2006 Rachel was one of six athletes nominated for the World Hockey Women's Young Player of the Year and she has gone on to collect the National Player of the Year award in 2007 and the Olympic Qualifier Player of the Tournament in 2008. Rachel's ability to work at the heart of the team could be attributed to her upbringing – she has seven siblings, including two sisters who have also played on the national team.
Katelyn Fagolwski was the youngest USA player in the 2006 World Cup and since then she has won 172 caps for her country, despite a potential career-ending injury sustained in 2010. This was a bitter-sweet time for the 26-year-old. She suffered concussion and a horrific anterior cruciate ligament injury in 2010 but through aggressive rehabilitation was back in the fray in 2011 and was named in the 2011 World All-Star team by the FIH, largely due to her performance in the Pan American Games final, when the USA beat Argentina 4-2 in the final.
Michelle Kasold joined the national squad in 2006, and since then she has notched up 160 caps. Along with Katie O'Donnell (158) and Caroline Nichols (158), she is one of the players who made USA hockey history in that 2011 Pan American final, the victory ensuring the USA a place in the 2012 Olympics.
Katie O'Donnell is the youngest ever player to be named in the US team, she joined the national squad in 2005 at the age of 16. Four years later she won the Sportswoman of the Year award, an honour previously won by Serena and Venus Williams and Mia Hamm. At the recent Champions Challenge 1 in Glasgow, Katie was top scorer, her goals helping the USA win the tournament and qualify for the Champions Trophy in 2016.
The seventh player in the list of long-serving USA players is Caroline Nichols. A penalty corner specialist and a reliable force on penalty strokes, Caroline is the rock in the USA defense. In turn, she relies on the support of her family – she Skypes her father before every game to get his words of encouragement.