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May 30, 2016 — An Olympic roster taking shape?

Today, USA Field Hockey made its announcements for rosters leading into the women’s national team’s first entree into the FIH Champions’ Trophy since 1997.

The U.S. earned its way into the tournament in London by virtue of winning the 2014 Champions’ Challenge, the Applebees’ first major world-level trophy since the inception of international play in 1920.

In preparation for the tournament, head coach Craig Parnham is taking a team of 19 players, which, after playing a two-game series against world No. 1 Holland, will be cut down to 18. U.S. head coach Craig Parnham has played his first roster card by bringing 19 players to Europe, but leaving Paige Selenski off the Champions’ Trophy squad.

The 19-player roster includes veterans Lauren Crandall, Rachel Dawson, Katelyn Falgowski, Katie (O’Donnell) Bam, Michelle Kasold, Michelle Vittese, Katie Reinprecht, Julia Reinprecht, Melissa Gonzalez, and goalkeeper Jackie (Kintzer) Briggs. Combined, the core of the squad has 1,920 caps.

But I think some of the more recent additions are going to be key to the success of the team this summer. Jill Witmer is the speed in the midfield and in the final third. Kelsey Kolojejchick and Kat Sharkey have been awesome on the front end as well. Alyssa Manley, Stephanie Fee, and Emily Wold are going to be counted on for critical minutes as defenders and holding midfielders.

The London tournament is a precursor for the 2016 Rio Olympics, and as such, these rosters will form the basis of the 2016 Olympic team depending on performance and injuries. Anyone on the European roster can be changed at any time; remember that, a year ago, Kat Sharkey broke her ankle just a week before the Pan American Games.

It’s an interesting youth/veteran mix that could be the right combination headed into Rio; the Champions Trophy is going to provide a great test.

 

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