Images in video courtesy of Mark Palczewski
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – October 16, 2017 – It’s an end of the year showdown you won’t want to miss! U.S. Women’s National Team Head Coach Janneke Schopman and coaching staff have confirmed the 18-athlete roster that will travel to Auckland, New Zealand for the women’s FIH Sentinel Homes Hockey World League Final, November 17-26, 2017. The selected squad is a mix of veterans and young talent, some of whom are getting their first opportunity to perform abroad on the international stage.
“We had to make some changes to the roster since last summer because of injuries and college season, but I’m excited to bring new players to this level of competition,” said Schopman. “With this team, we will bring the fight and it gives us a great opportunity to see where we stand amongst the top nations in the world.”
Leading with experience will be goalkeeper Jackie Briggs (Robesonia, Pa.), captain Melissa Gonzalez (Mohegan Lake, N.Y.) and Michelle Vittese (Cherry Hill, N.J.). This is counter-balanced with a few rookies who get the chance to wear the red, white and blue for the first-time off home soil. Casey Di Nardo (Virginia Beach, Va.) will be earning her first international cap for Team USA as Erin McCrudden (Yorktown Heights, N.Y.) and Carissa Vittese (Cherry Hill, N.J.) will look to build on an already started solid career platform. McCrudden competed in the USWNT vs. Ireland series in May and C. Vittese saw action in the 2017 women’s Pan American Cup (PAC).
A few athletes, who hope to still be competing in their collegiate seasons, were left off the roster due to an overlap in NCAA post-season and Final competition schedule. Some injuries have also sidelined a few other players.
Watch the video above for the USWNT’s FIH Sentinel Homes Hockey World League Final Roster. Click here for a list of the athletes selected.
Jackie Briggs (Robesonia, Pa.), Casey Di Nardo (Virginia Beach, Va.), Ali Froede (Burke, Va.), Melissa Gonzalez (Mohegan Lake, N.Y.), Amanda Magadan (Randolph, N.J.), Alyssa Manley (Lititz, Pa.), Erin Matson (Chadds Ford, Pa.), Erin McCrudden (Yorktown Heights, N.Y.), Lauren Moyer (York, Pa.), Alyssa Parker (Woodbine, Md.), Kathleen Sharkey (Moosic, Pa.), Loren Shealy (Charlotte N.C.), Caitlin Van Sickle (Wilmington, Del.), Carissa Vittese (Cherry Hill, N.J.), Michelle Vittese (Cherry Hill, N.J.), Taylor West (Princess Anne, Md.), Alesha Widdall (Whitney Point, N.Y.), Jill Witmer (Lancaster, Pa.)
In its third edition, the Final will take place at the North Harbour Hockey Stadium and feature eight teams that are currently ranked in the top-nine of the FIH Hero World Rankings. Team USA is ranked No. 4 and as first time Final debutants they sit in Pool A with No. 1 The Netherlands, along with host No. 6 New Zealand and No. 9 Korea. Equally as competitive Pool B consists of Rio 2016 Olympic Games Gold Medalists No. 2 England, recent Pan American Cup Champions and defending Final Champions No. 3 Argentina, No. 7 Germany and No. 8 China.
The USWNT will open up tournament play in the first match of the event against Korea on Friday, November 17 at 2 a.m. ET (6:00 p.m. local time).
FIH Hockey World League Final Pool Matches:
Friday, November 17, 2017 USA vs. KOR 2 a.m. ET
Saturday, November 18, 2017 USA vs. NED 4 a.m. ET
Monday, November 20, 2017 USA vs. NZL 4 a.m. ET
Click here for the full FIH Sentinel Homes Hockey World League Final schedule.
The International Hockey Federation (FIH) has not finalized details in regard to the live stream of this event. More information will be made available soon.
Just before the Final, the USWNT will travel to Australia to participate in the International Festival of Hockey (IFOH). This world-class tournament will see the nations of Australia, Japan, New Zealand, The Netherlands and the USA battle it out across a week-long competition. Now in its second year, the IFOH will be a valuable experience before Team USA heads to New Zealand for the Final.
“The International Festival of Hockey gives us the opportunity to play high level games prior to the World League Final,” added Schopman. “Playing against countries like Australia, Japan and The Netherlands will gives us the chance to try some things out and be fully ready for the start of World League especially coming of of a couple of months of training without actual games.”
USWNT midfielder Anna Dessoye (Mountaintop, Pa.) will partake in the International Festival of Hockey, but will return to the United States at the conclusion of the event. Matson will only be competing in the Final.
International Festival of Hockey Matches:
Monday, November 6, 2017 USA vs. AUS 2 a.m. ET (Bendigo - Test Match)
Tuesday, November 7, 2017 USA vs. JPN 11 p.m. ET (Melbourne)
Thursday, November 9, 2017 USA vs. AUS 3:30 a.m. ET (Melbourne)
Friday, November 10, 2017 USA vs. NED 10 p.m. ET (Melbourne)
Click here for the full International Festival of Hockey schedule.
Set your DVR! For the first time in history, all USWNT games and the women’s medal matches of IFOH will be broadcast live on the Olympic Channel. This per cable subscription service is at no additional charge.
For all information regarding the FIH Sentinel Homes Hockey World League Final in New Zealand, including the full schedule, check out the event page by clicking here. #HWL2017 #UN1TED