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Aug. 4, 2018 — Moneyball in field hockey

Today, Ireland made the final of the FIH Women’s World Cup with a penalty shootout win over Spain.

And that, in and of itself, is a story.

Ireland’s national field hockey program, which covers the entire island as a unified team, has been terribly underfunded over the years. The team had to do special fundraising in order to send its men’s team to the Rio Olympics two years ago, and I’ve read figures saying that the entire budget for the Ireland women’s program at somewhere between 300,000 and 500,000 Euros, and Ireland does not have its own national hockey stadium.

Compare that to the United States, which is in the midst of spending somewhere between $12 million and $22 million on Spooky Nook alone.

You have to commend Ireland for not only being able to create a winning team for its 2018 Women’s World Cup effort, but for strategic spending. And you know that, going forward, Ireland is going to have invest resources heavily in its goalkeeper, Ayeisha McFerren, a rising senior at Louisville.

Yep. Ireland’s goalie, who is being viewed by some observers as the best goalkeeper in the tournament, if not the world, plays in the NCAA.

Think of that as the Green Army take on the Oranje tomorrow afternoon in the World Cup final.

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