COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – March 2, 2018 – Following a week-long trial, U.S. Women’s National Team Head Coach Janneke Schopman and coaching staff has extended the roster by three by adding Laura Hurff (Newark, Del.), Margaux Paolino (Villanova, Pa.) and Tara Vittese (Cherry Hill, N.J.) to the senior squad. All three athletes spent last week on the West Coast and were evaluated during multiple trainings including test matches against Canada. Hurff and Vittese will join the team in May following college graduation and Paolino, still a college sophomore, will join the team when time permits.
“I am very excited to add Laura, Margaux and Tara to the roster,” commented Schopman. “All three of them are very talented players that I have come to know well coaching the U-21 team. In the games against Canada, they showed they all can add something extra to our team and that’s why I have selected them. Their willingness to become better players will strengthen our team and I’m looking forward to seeing them progress the next couple of months.”
Like seven current members on the USWNT, these three athletes were all part of the U-21 USWNT team that earned silver at the 2016 women’s Junior Pan American Championship in Tacarigua, Trinidad and Tobago, to qualify the team for the women’s Hockey Junior World Cup in Santiago, Chile that November.
A native of Newark, Del., Hurff got her start playing field hockey in the 7th grade and excelled through high school at Ursuline Academy achieving MVP, Best Conference, All-State and All- Conference honors. She also played for Xcalibur Field Hockey Club. In 2014, she went on to play collegiately at Syracuse University (2014-18), where she was part of the program’s first-ever National Championship in 2015. She also accumulated a handful of personal accolades being named NFCHA First Team, Second Team and Third Team All-American, NFHCA First Team All-Mideast Region, First and Second Team All-ACC, NFHCA All-Academic Team honoree, All-ACC selection and All-ACC Academic Team.
Active within the Olympic Development Pipeline, Hurff entered the Futures Program in 2010 and competed in the National Futures Championship, Futures Elite Championship, AAU Junior Olympic Games and Junior National Camp before being named to the U.S. U-17 Women’s National Team in 2013. She went on various tours with the Junior USWNT which only helped elevate her skills and grow her game. In 2016, Hurff was named to the U.S. U-21 Women’s National Team and she got to compete at the 2016 women’s Junior Pan American Games and secure a second-place finish. That placement earned the squad a spot at the 2016 women’s Hockey Junior World Cup in Santiago, Chile, where they finished eighth.
After being selected to the U.S. Women’s National Development Squad in January, Hurff quickly transitioned to the senior squad and will add depth as a flexible athlete.
“Laura is a versatile player than can play in both the defensive and midfield line,” mentioned Schopman. “She is a hard worker who will do what the team needs her to do and will give it her best effort always.”
“Being a part of the U.S. Women's National Team is my childhood dream come true,” commented Hurff. “It is an honor to be given the opportunity to represent my country and wear the red, white, and blue. I am eager to become part of a new family as we will compete together for our dream. I hope to represent my country well and inspire others to chase their dream.”
Young to the scene at only 20 years old, Paolino made a direct impact in her first international game by scoring in her debut. From Villanova, Pa., she attended the prestigious Episcopal Academy where as a senior captain she helped led the team to an undefeated season, No. 4 national ranking and a state championship. She also helped her team win state titles as a junior and freshman, in addition to three league championships. Personally, she was a two-time NFHCA All-American, garnering first team recognition as a senior. She was the 2015 Delaware County and Daily Times Player of the Year and three-time All-Region, All-County and All-League selection.
Paolino is currently a sophomore at Duke University. She was twice named to the NFHCA All-South Region Team, second team as a freshman and first team as a sophomore, ACC All-Tournament Team and All-ACC Academic Team. As a freshman, she led the Blue Devils in assists with 14 and as a sophomore was honored as a Longstreth/NFHCA Division I All-American Second Team and First Team All-ACC.
Like other USWNT athletes, Paolino has been involved within the Olympic Development Pipeline for a few years having made her way through the junior high performance program. She participated in the Futures Program from 2011 to 2016, and was selected to various National Futures Championships, Futures Elite Championships, AAU Junior Olympic Games and Junior National Camps before being named to the U.S. U-17 Women’s National Team in 2014. A year later she was named to the U.S. U-19 Women’s National Team where she traveled to Belgium for a tour and a year following was named to the U.S. U-21 Women’s National Team. She was part of the squads that were selected to represent the USA at the 2016 women’s Junior Pan American Games in Tacarigua, Trinidad and Tobago and women’s Hockey Junior World Cup in Santiago, Chile.
She also was heavily involved with the U.S. Women’s National Indoor Team traveling to both Argentina and Germany for tours.
Paolino was invited for the trial on the West Coast and made a direct impact using her scrappy nature and never give up assertiveness to aid in the USWNT vs. Canada series.
“As a forward Margaux adds some extra fight to our forward line, she likes to put pressure on the other teams and is not afraid to compete and fight the battle,” said Schopman. “Her mindset fits well into our team and I’m curious to see her growth in this environment.”
“To be selected to Team USA and represent my country means a great deal to me,” added Paolino. “I have always loved to compete and having the chance to challenge myself at the highest level has been a goal of mine since the very beginning. It is very humbling and gratifying to know my hard-work and dedication is being recognized. I look forward to the opportunity to play with and against the best hockey players in the world, as well as continuing to gain the knowledge from others to help me learn and grow as a player and individual on and off the pitch.”
The third sister to etch her name on the USWNT, Vittese will add depth to the midfield after a stellar career at the University of Virginia where she will graduate from in May. From Cherry Hill, N.J. she attended Camden Catholic where she set a career goal record with 166, while being named two-time high school All-American, three time All-State and four-time first-team All-Conference.
As a Cavalier, she will go down in the books for achieving many firsts for the program. She was the first Virginia player to be a four-time First Team NFHCA All-American, first to repeat as ACC Offensive Player of the Year, first to be named Longstreth/NFHCA South Region Player of the year three times and first player to ever win the honor of VaSID State Player of the Year four times. She was also the only player to ever win the Longstreth/NFHCA National Player of the Year award three times and was a four-time First Team All-ACC selection.
Vittese’s advanced skill set helped her make her way quickly through the ranks of the Junior U.S. Women’s National Teams, often times playing up an age division. She started on the U-21 USWNT in 2011 before advancing to the U-19 USWNT for a three-year stint before being named to the U-21 USWNT from 2014-16. Despite being the youngest player on Team USA at the 2013 Junior World Cup in Monchengladbach, Germany, she was the top scorer for the U-21 USWNT as they went on to finish 7th. She was also part of the U-21 USWNT that competed at the 2016 women’s Junior Pan American Games that finished second.
“Tara is a great player that can make things happen on the ball, but she’s also a team player who can make her team better by doing the work, that combination convinced me she’s ready for this step,” commented Schopman.
“I am honored and grateful to have been selected for the U.S. Women’s National Team,” said Vittese “The journey up until this point has been one full of excitement, challenges and development. I am looking forward to growing both as an individual and as a player, alongside some of the best players in the country, and my sisters!”
For more updates on the USWNT program, visit usafieldhockey.com.