‘We are fully aware what we are up against and respect each opponent equally, but will not fear anyone,’ U.S. Women’s Field Hockey head coach David Passmore

The last time the U.S. Women’s Field Hockey Team went to the Olympics was Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 2016, where the red, white, and blue finished fifth.

Since then, there have been five who’ve attained the rank of head coach and a slate of female athletes nationwide striving toward making a roster that, if having the right chemistry, could qualify America to compete at the highest level internationally.

Newly appointed David Passmore, head coach, and Tracey Fuchs, assistant coach (Northwestern head coach), are working with the senior team’s Manager Krista Page, and High Performance Director Craig Parnham. Parnham, former head coach of the senior women’s team, led his 2016 squad to a fifth-place finish in Rio.

In recent months, Team USA has made administrative changes to try to ignite a resurgence of the American hockey brand and create a global presence. Could it be found in the 24-athlete roster named to play in the upcoming International Hockey Federation (FIH) Pro-League tour in New Zealand and Australia?

“It is hard to know exactly where we are at without having played any test matches and with some new athletes being added to the squad for the forthcoming matches,” Passmore said. “Naturally, we are a young team, so we will need to work on our game and situational understanding to overcome the lack of experience. What I do know is that we have made significant progress in all areas and the team is motivated by the playing style.”

Two areas of focus for the traveling team are to “improve penalty corners and goalscoring,” Passmore said.

Passmore joined the team as head coach in late August. He’s been working with centralized athletes in the past five months to determine an international travel roster. He announced the 24 names two weeks ago after a handful of athletes were invited to a national team training for 12 days at the Chula Vista Training Center in California.


It’s the first time the developing team was able to spend time together.

“Chula Vista was a busy and hard camp for all involved, but we came away knowing more about ourselves as a group and the journey ahead,” Passmore said.

Chula Vista was more than a training. The camp set the foundational principles for potential in 2023 and 2024. The upcoming tour is rounding out the second part of 2022-23 FIH Pro-League competition. Later in 2023, it’s time for the Pan American Games, which could qualify the U.S. team for the Olympics.

Team USA is also working toward completing construction of a new facility in collaboration with the United States Performance Center, which is funding the build.

“Plans are in place to have the squad training together full-time from August 2023 and it is hoped that the astroturf pitch will be laid by then,” Passmore said. “This will form part of a new United States Performance Center facility at (the University of North Carolina) Charlotte and is crucial for the full development and actualization of the team.”

Passmore acknowledged that he’s had to step in to step up the pace of relationship-building. The current roster is behind other nations when it comes to preparation, but the response of the athletes to the new coaching team and determining the team’s playing style has been “very positive.” Additionally, “fitness levels are improving quicky,” according to USA Field Hockey.

“The team has a very young overall average age, but there are some really talented younger players within the squad, which also provides an exciting backdrop to Paris 2024 and the Los Angeles 2028 Olympic Games,” Passmore said. “We talk about Paris on a daily basis as a motivating factor to all the work and training we are doing but we recognize it is a big ask at this stage of the team’s development. It is hard to know where we are exactly, but the forthcoming Pro League matches in New Zealand and Australia will help give us a better understanding of where we are at, and what we need to do to qualify. We won’t leave any stone unturned.”

The No. 16 ranked U.S. women are set to play in eight matches. Two matches are against No. 2 Argentina, No. 9 New Zealand, and No. 10 China. The first game is scheduled for Feb. 17 at 9 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.

“The team is motivated to play against the diverse playing styles of New Zealand, China, Argentina, and Australia, and of course, two of the teams are top two in the world,” Passmore said. “We played some friendly games against Argentina and The Netherlands in December, so are fully aware what we are up against and respect each opponent equally but will not fear anyone. We have been working to make as many quick wins as possible in terms of what we can control in our development and the physical development of the group alone is a testament to how hard they have embraced the new system and us as coaches.”

Photo: Olivia Bent-Cole, provided by USA Field Hockey

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