COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – February 22, 2016 – 2016 holds vast potential for the U.S. U-21 Women’s National Team to grow and excel on the international stage. Following a weekend of wins over college competition against Wake Forest University and Duke University to enhance their preparatory phase for substantial upcoming events, a roster has been solidified for this year’s Junior Women's Pan American Championship. The Junior Women's Pan American Championship will be hosted in Tacarigua, Trinidad & Tobago from March 30 - April 10, 2016. Team USA resides in Pool B with Bermuda, Canada, Mexico, Trinidad & Tobago as well as Venezuela. Pool A includes Argentina, Barbados, Chile, Guyana and Uruguay. On the first day of competition, the red, white and blue will contend against Venezuela. Click here to view the entire tournament schedule. The top-two finishers of the Women's Pan American Championship earn berths to the prized Junior Women's World Cup in Santiago, Chile from November 23 - December 4, 2016.
"The selection process started July 2015 with the Young Women's High Performance tournament and the players were evaluated after each camp we had. Most important in the individual evaluation is the willingness to learn and their ability to improve and grow to ultimately become a national team player," said Janneke Schopman, U-21 USWNT Head Coach. "Choosing the final 18 athletes from the group of 24 was difficult as the group and the individual players improved a lot during the last months. Some areas we focused on are executing basic skills under pressure, penalty corner execution (attack and defense), transition from attack to defense and vice versa, attack with speed and contest in defense."
Schopman commented that the strengths of this U-21 team are: their intent to be better every time, they work hard, challenge each other at times and want to improve. Although the circumstances in the weekend in Chapel Hill weren’t exactly great, playing on a dry turf with temperatures around 15 degrees or colder at times, the girls rarely complained and were able to make the most of it, which was great to see. The team tries to defend and attack as a team, everyone contributes in both areas to the best of their ability.
"With this being my first international tournament, I am most excited about the opportunity to compete and represent the United States alongside my teammates in Trinidad and Tobago," said Megan Miller (Palmyra, Pa.), U-21 USWNT athlete. "I'm looking forward to the atmosphere of international competition and hope to not just enjoy the experience, but succeed as a team."
The team will meet again in mid-March to battle Old Dominion University and the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, N.C.
Team USA’s 2016 Junior Pan American Championship Roster:
Maddie Bacskai (Berwyn, Pa.), Kelsey Bing (Houston, Texas), Cat Caro (Martinsville, N.J.), Sarah Helgeson (Landisville, Pa.), Ashley Hoffman (Mohnton, Pa.), Laura Hurff (Newark, Del.), Amanda Magadan (Randolph, N.J.), Gab Major (Royersford, Pa.), Erin Matson(Chadds Ford, Pa.), Meghan Miller (Palmyra, Pa.), Lauren Moyer (York, Pa.), Margaux Paolino (Villanova, Pa.), Jenny Rizzo (Hershey, Pa.), Julianna Tornetta (Plymouth Meeting, Pa.), Sophia Tornetta (Plymouth Meeting, Pa.), Tara Vittese (Cherry Hill, N.J.), Nicole Woods (Beverly, Mass.), and Julia Young (Yorktown, Va.). Team USA’s reserve athletes are Carrie Hanks (Niskayuna, N.Y.) and Kristy Bernatchez (Belgrade, Maine).
Keep up with the U-21 USWNT athletes as they pursue gold and glory this year by visiting usafieldhockey.com and following @USAFieldHockey on Twitter.