SANTIAGO, Chile - November 22, 2016 - This past Sunday evening, the U.S. U-21 Women's National Team and staff made the 4,868 mile trek from Norfolk, Va. to Santiago, Chile for the women's Hockey Junior World Cup 2016 (JWC) which begins on Thursday, November 24. The 16 best junior women's teams in the world will compete for the championship title at the vast mutli-sport Club Deportivo Manquehue complex, playing host to 10 days of high speed action featuring the next generation of global hockey stars.
The U-21 USWNT departed Norfolk, Va. in the evening on Sunday, November 20 following the NCAA Division I National Championship. The team practiced and had a test scrimmage against England before their first game on Thursday, November 24 against Zimbabwe at 12:00 p.m. EST.
“It’s obviously going to be a big challenge for us being in a pool with The Netherlands who are the most recent Junior World Cup champions and being in a pool with Korea which is a bit of an unknown,” said Janneke Schopman, U-21 USWNT Head Coach. “The only way I look at it is I want our team to play to our potential with respect to the teams we play against and at the same time really showcase ourselves. I’m convinced we can do that.”
In the tournament of 16, Team USA is in Pool A along with Korea, The Netherlands and Zimbabwe. All competing nations at the JWC qualified through their respective junior continental championships. The continental quotas for the event were as follows: Europe: 6 teams, Asia: 3 teams, Oceania: 2 teams, Africa: 2 teams, Pan America: 3 teams.
Korea booked its ticket to the JWC with a third place finish at the Junior Asia Cup 2015, which was played in Changzhou, China. The team earned a 3-2 victory over India in the bronze medal match, scoring twice in the final 4 minutes to secure its place in Santiago. One of those scorers was Cho Hyejin, who will captain the team in Chile.
The Netherlands are bidding for a third consecutive JWC first-place finish, following on from their successes in 2009 and 2013. The squad has gone through tremendous change from the 2014 European Champions, with only team captain Maartje Krekelaar, goalkeepers Josine Koning and Anne Veenendaal, Fabiene Roosen and Charlotte Adegeest remaining. Krekelaar, Koning, Pien Sanders, Frederique Matla and Joosje Burg were all members of the Den Bosch team that became European Club Champions earlier this year.
A second place finish behind South Africa at the Junior African Cup in Windhoek, Namibia earlier this year earned Zimbabwe a return to the JWC for the first time since 2005. The squad's qualification was sealed thanks to a 2-1 win over Namibia in the semifinal, with Kelly Diplock and team captain Stephanie Campbell helping the team over-turn a 1-0 deficit to confirm its appearance in Santiago.
Team USA's JWC Schedule
|Thursday, November 24||12:00 p.m. EST||USA vs Zimbabwe|
|Friday, November 25||6:00 p.m. EST||USA vs The Netherlands|
|Sunday, November 27||12:00 p.m. EST||USA vs Korea|
The pools were formulated based on the rankings of the senior teams ahead of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, being adjusted to ensure that teams from the same continent were in different pools (where possible), as approved by the International Hockey Federation (FIH) Competitions Committee. The top two teams from each pool will progress to the quarterfinals, with the remaining eight teams playing for classification.
Adding even more event coverage of the JWC, the International Hockey Federation (FIH) has announced that Diversa TV will be live streaming all matches in Santiago, Chile. Click here to watch and be part of the U-21 USWNT's journey.
Follow Team USA throughout their journey at the JWC by staying tuned to usafieldhockey.com. #SQUAD #HJWC2016 #RockTheJuniors