We’re less than 100 days out from the Olympic women’s field hockey competition in Paris. The United States, having qualified earlier this year, has a number of decisions to make in whittling down its national team pool to the 16 players and three alternates which need to be named in the summer.

Offering insights into the thinking of head coach David Passmore and the U.S. selectors, the 25-player roster for the four-match series in the FIH Pro League is one which will be examined with great scrutiny, as this is one of the last major rosters for the national team before it steps on the biggest world stage.

We said, at the conclusion of the Olympic qualifiers in India, that I thought the U.S. team had the right balance of enterprising hockey and defense. The States strung together clean sheet after clean sheet in the tournament in front of goalkeeper Kelsey Bing, who is going to be a major figure in these Games.

But I’ll point you to three players to look for in the Pro League.

One is Lauren Wadas, the defensive midfielder late of Northwestern. She’s an extremely strong and thinking player, and could, with the right assignment of responsibility, be a true asset to the U.S. fortunes in the midfield.

A second player is Megan Valzonis. You may have known her as Megan Rodgers, who benefitted from the Score-O decade to knock in 167 goals in her career at San Diego Canyon Hills (Calif.). She matriculated to the University of California, Berkeley, and has spent the last three years in the U.S. national team pool.

A third player to watch has to be Phia Gladieux. She was one of the only scholastic field hockey players to score more than 200 goals in a career (at 208, she’s eighth all time). She also had a distinguished career at Penn State. She’s one of those players who finds spaces in opposing defenses and sometimes appears to melt around defenders.

I can’t begin to prognosticate who is going to make the U.S. roster when it comes out, but all I know is that this group has all the makings of a good run in the Pro League and the Olympics if the right combinations are put out onto the pitch.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here