Images below are courtesy of ESPN and Jeff Lipsky
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – May 24, 2017 – Olympian and U.S. Women’s National Team veteran, Paige Selenski (Shavertown, Pa.) announces her decision to leave the international pitch after seven years on Team USA's roster. The 5’7 feisty forward collected a total of 142 international caps, along with the global recognition as one sharpest shooters for the red, white and blue.
Selenski is not only known for her pitch prowess, but also as a pioneer within the field hockey world, using her talent as tool to empower young women to be confident and strong. Keeping that message constant throughout her career, Selenski was also part of ESPN magazine 2015 Body Issue, a yearly feature that showcases the build and training behind some of the top names in sport within the United States. Selenski used this piece to explain and share the unique strength field hockey player, something she fully embraces and encourages other athletes to do the same.
Capitalizing on her turbo like speed and the strength of her stick skills in the attacking circle, the 2013 University of Virginia alum became a tremendous threat on the international scene. The connection between Selenski and a hockey ball was somewhat magnetic. More than likely that means hitting the hard, plastic ball into the backboard, but there are have been a few occasions when Selenski has been on the receiving end, earning some shiners. Perhaps the collection of five battle scars, acts as warning signals to her opponents that she’s an all-out, without-hesitation aggressive attacker that won’t stop for anything until the goal whistle blows. When looking back on her favorite on-field moments, these black and blues were indeed acknowledged.
“Oddly enough, a few of the many times I’ve been hit in the head with the ball make the list,” said Selenski.
When reflecting back of her career from another perspective, Selenski highlights the historical 2011 Pan American Games win against Argentina in Guadalajara, Mexico, the 2014 World Cup in The Hague, The Netherlands, specifically her 100th cap against Great Britain, as memories she’ll cherish for a lifetime.
But the cherished reel of career spotlights doesn’t end there for Selenski. She recalls the fond off-field times of living in the “birds nest” in Coronado, Calif. with teammates, a team retreat to Breckenridge, Colo. in 2011 and the London 2012 Olympic Games and Rio 2016 Olympic Games Opening Ceremonies.
As a 2012 Olympian, participating in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games was a goal for Selenski even despite a medical setback. Selenski was able to push through the adversity to earn one of the two alternate openings on Team USA’s Rio roster.
“I had a tough year and a half leading into Rio, in terms of injuries, and was honored and thankful to be part of the group in Rio as an alternate,” said Selenksi. “Before the start of the Olympic Games, Craig Parnham [previous USWNT Head Coach] had us go around in a circle and talk about what the person sitting to left and the person sitting to the right of us brought to the team. Jackie Briggs and Rachel Dawson spoke about me, and I will never forget it for as long as I live.”
“Paige was a player with great speed and a fantastic backhand shot,” said Janneke Schopman, USWNT Head Coach. “At first, seeing her play for the USA she just seemed like a nice girl to me, but below the surface there was this determined player, not always knowing how to do it, but with a willingness to make it happen. A testament to her grit for me was her ability to play in Holland just before the Champions Trophy and making the Olympic selection as a P accredited [alternate] athlete after more than 9 months of injuries.”
Field hockey has engrained qualities in Selenski that are now cornerstones for her life, one of them being resiliency. Losing her mother at an early age to ovarian cancer, field hockey became a physical and emotional outlet.
“My success in the sport was a means of making her proud and living out opportunities she likely never even considered reachable,” said Selenski. “Sometimes I question whether I would have made it as far in the sport if I hadn’t gone through such a traumatic experience. It ignited a fire in me as 13-years-old and that fire still burns with me today.”
Selenski would like to share a special thanks to her family, friends, coaches and teammates for their unwavering support throughout her career. Specifically, she would like to thank her dad, who is, and will always be, her hero.
“Growing up, he displayed an overarching strength and work ethic that I’ve come to admire and adopt throughout the course of my life,” commented Selenski. “Reflecting back, I think he saw something special inside of me that I didn’t always see in myself, and in turn, challenged and supported me to be the best version of myself."
Selenski currently resides in Philadelphia, Pa. where she’ll be attending Thomas Jefferson University's Pre-Medical Post-Baccalaureate program this fall and is looking to pursue a career in the medical field. She also recently started volunteering for a number of ovarian and breast cancer foundations and is mentor the young women and the mothers of young women considering genetic testing for the BRCA gene. She is also a new member of the junior committee for the Sandy Rollman Ovarian Cancer Foundation in Philadelphia.
USA Field Hockey wishes Selenski the best of luck and success in all her future endeavors.