The United States women’s field hockey knows that, four years from now, they will be suiting up for a home Olympics in Los Angeles.

But to get to those games, they have to get through the Paris Olympics first. It’s a team which pulled together an enormous effort to qualify in one of the last-chance qualifiers in India, mainly thanks to a defense which spun numerous clean sheets.

We thought that an unchanged U.S. squad would be making its way to Paris, but head coach David Passmore and the selectors made some not insignificant changes to the qualification roster.

All in all, four players from the qualifiers did not make the U.S. team. The additions are quite sparkling, and quite offensive-minded. Sophia Gladieux, who scored 206 goals for her high school team and was an all-American at Penn State, made the team alongside Megan (Rodgers) Valzonis, who once scored 81 in a single scholastic season.

Join these two with record-breaking players like Meredith Sholder (217 goals in her scholastic career), and two members of the 100-100 club (Leah Crouse and Emma DeBerdine), and you get the feeling that this team will be geared towards the offensive end of the pitch.

The U.S. side, of course, will have to get a lot out of a defense led by goalie Kelsey Bing, Sholder at corner flyer, and midfielder Maddie Zimmer. And I think Ashley Hoffman, daughter of 1984 Olympic bronze-medalist Brenda Stauffer-Hoffman, will be counted on to have a captain’s effort in every match.

It will be interesting to see how the changes in the qualifier side will affect the team’s performance in Paris.


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