USA Field Hockey NEWS Athlete Spotlight: P...

Athlete Spotlight: Paul Singh

July 24, 2020, 1:40 p.m. (ET)

Each athlete that wears the red, white and blue has a unique story to how their careers came to fruition. From the junior level to the senior squad, USA Field Hockey is putting national team athletes under the spotlight to share their journeys.

It takes a lot to be at the top of one's game, and as the old saying goes, anything is possible if you just believe. According to U.S. Men’s National Team athlete Paul Singh, it takes both solid physical and mental abilities to break through that barrier and has used this mindset to help become a reliable member of the Wolfpack.

Like many of his teammates, Singh grew up in Moorpark, Calif., a West Coast hotspot for the men’s side of the game, and picked up the game at the age of six. He credits picking up the game through his dad and the local community, all of which played with a passion, so was only a matter of time until he caught the field hockey bug while watching from the sidelines.

“My dad played a little bit when he was growing up in India,” said Singh. “He usually stuck with cricket, but he always loved the sport and encouraged me to get into it. Also, at the time in the late 90’s until 2010 the men's side was based in Moorpark for the most part. Either you played overseas or you moved to Southern California and trained and played in the league in Moorpark.”

That extra exposure from grassroots play to the elite level is what Singh credits in inspiring himself and several other athletes to one day reach the Olympic level. While he grew fond of the game, Singh also played basketball up until high school before having to choose between dribbling only one type of ball full-time.

“My journey to the USMNT was a journey of a lot of work and commitment,” said Singh. “At that time we had four regions and would train year-round. We would all meet in San Diego and play a national championship. This was the way you would get selected to the U-18 or U-21 USMNT. That’s how I got into the pipeline and I also trained with men’s team when we were in Moorpark as well.”

At the age of 13, he was named to the U-18 USMNT. While working through the U.S. Men’s Olympic Development Pipeline, Singh was very active in club play even from a young age.

“I started playing for the Huntington Beach Surfers when I was about six,” continued Singh. Then, when I turned eight or nine, my dad and some other friend split from that club to start their own thing. At the time he started the Wizards and Raptors in Moorpark, and we all started progressing really quick. Some former national team players like Rinku Bhamber, Sean Harris and Ben Maraquin were our coaches.”

Still at the age of 13, Singh began playing Division 1, the highest competition level for men in Moorpark. He then transitioned to the LA Tigers club team where Bhamber was also team captain. Together, the club regularly travels the U.S. and Canada for tournaments around the year, including the world-renowned California Cup. In 2011, Singh helped USA to a fourth place finish at the Junior Pan American Championship in Guadalajara, Mexico.

In 2012, Singh packed his bag for San Diego, along with several other junior USMNT athletes, to train full-time at the Chula Vista Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif. When not training on the pitch, he attended Southwestern Community College and worked a multitude of jobs through the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC). That same year Singh was named to the senior USMNT and picked up his first international cap in a 22-0 victory over Guatemala.

When he was not competing with USA, Singh made a huge leap and decided to play club ball overseas beginning in 2016. With school now on hold and thousands of miles away from the nearest family member, he settled in with Southgate HC in London before moving on to Bundesliga in Germany with HTC Stuttgart (2017-19) and currently with Crefelder HTC. 

As a member of the USMNT, Singh helped the red, white and blue to multiple medals and top-finishes in recent years, including bronze at the 2017 men’s Pan American Cup in Lancaster, Pa. and at the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, Peru. Despite being a part of field hockey, his favorite memory thus far has been playing under the lights at the 2019 FIH Series Finals in Bhubaneswar, India.

“For me honestly the best [moment] was playing in India in Kalinga Stadium,” commented Singh. “The best part was my relatives in India could turn on the television and see me play and watch me get interviewed. Also, it was awesome because my parents are from India, I felt a lot of love there from my family and the fans who came to watch all hockey there. That was amazing!”

While not competing, Singh has returned to the classroom to pursue a degree in business management through DeVry University and its close partnership with the USOPC. When back home in the Golden State, he volunteers his time to help out every age group practicing around Moorpark, coaching the Ventura County Red Devils club team or picking up where he left off with the LA Tigers. Wherever the road takes him, Singh always looks to give back to others around the field that helped mold him into a member of Team USA.

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Paul Singh