Whether she's wearing green, Carolina Blue or the Stars and Stripes, Ashley Hoffman (Mohnton, Pa.) knows just one way to play field hockey.
The former Twin Valley standout will take her passion for the game to South America for the 2019 Pan American Games in the biggest international competition of her young career.
But when the U.S. Women's National Team faces Mexico Monday to begin its first bid to qualify for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Hoffman said she won't approach the game any differently.
"Every game I play I am nervous, it is no stranger to me," said Hoffman, a 2015 Twin Valley graduate, "What helps me combat that is knowing first and foremost that if I compete to the best of my ability, win or lose, I will be glorifying God. Second, I have to trust in my and our team's preparation."
Playing on the big stage is nothing new for Hoffman. She helped North Carolina win the NCAA championship last fall when she was named Most Outstanding Player at the NCAA Tournament. A two-time first-team All-American, Hoffman was voted the 2018 Honda Sport Award Winner as the nation's top field hockey player and the Atlantic Coast Conference Female Athlete of the Year.
She made her Team USA debut on March 25, 2017, and has already played in 58 international games.
"The principle is the same whether it's NCAA or Pan Ams," Hoffman said. "It doesn't matter what you have done the entire season, or three years before in this case, it will all come down to a handful of games. The pressure feels very similar; it was great learning for me to be able to experience Final Fours before joining the national team."
Hoffman, a midfielder and defender for the Tar Heels, finished her career with 43 goals and 24 assists while starting all 96 games during her four-year career.
She holds the Berks all-time record with 75 assists, to go with 104 goals. She helped Twin Valley win back-to-back Berks titles in 2012 and 2013 while her mother, Brenda, was head coach.
Brenda Hoffman was the National Player of the Year in 1982 at Penn State and earned an Olympic bronze medal at Los Angeles in 1984.
"My mom had a huge impact on my field hockey career," Hoffman said. "She was my first-ever coach and would encourage me to practice or stay active wherever and whenever I could. She and my dad (Scott) showed me the possibilities that would open to me if I was coachable, humble, worked hard and had discipline."
Still more than three months shy of her 23rd birthday, Hoffman has played field hockey on three continents and earned a gold medal in Johannesburg, South Africa, in the 2017 FIH World League Semifinals.
Hoffman and her teammates are in Lima, Peru, preparing for the 18th Pan American Games, a quadrennial Olympic-style competition for countries in North and South America.
"It's always an honor to represent my country, but especially this time since we will be surrounded by other athletes from many different sports across North and South America," Hoffman said. "We have the unique opportunity to represent both Team USA and field hockey."
Team USA, with Conrad Weiser and North Carolina graduate Jackie Briggs in goal, won two straight Pan American gold medals. This year's team is much younger than the 2015 team that won the gold medal in Toronto and qualified for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
Also on the American roster are 2019 Donegal grad Mackenzie Allessie, the national scholastic all-time scoring leader, and other players with limited international experience. In addition, Janneke Schopman replaced Craig Parnham as Team USA head coach in 2017.
"The turnover this Olympic cycle has made us all extremely accountable for maintaining but also building a culture that we can thrive in," Hoffman said. "We have to continually challenge one another, push past what we perceive to be our limits, define our DNA, and put a huge emphasis on growth.
"We expect to play to our potential and give our all as individuals and as a team every game. If we do that, whether we win or lose, we can go home without regrets."
Contact Brian Rippey: 610-371-5070 or firstname.lastname@example.org.