USA has announced the 16-member men’s team to compete for the United States at the XV Pan American Games, 15-29 July, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Selections to the team are subject to approval by the United States Olympic Committee (USOC).
Head coach Nick Conway’s U.S. roster features nine players with previous Pan Am Games experience including Rinku Bhamber (Simi Valley, Calif./ ’99, ’03), Pat Cota (Camarillo, Calif./’99, ’03), Pat Harris (Moorpark, Calif./’03), Jarred Martin (Saratoga Springs, N.Y./’03), Shawn Nakamura (Camarillo, Calif./’99, ’03), Jeb Saez (Thousand Oaks, Calif./’03), Ian Scally (Thousand Oaks, Calif./’03), Brian Schledorn (Thousand Oaks, Calif./’99) and Jason Wellings (San Diego, Calif./’03).
Athletes making their first appearances at the Pan Am Games for the USA include Nate Coolidge (Sandwich, Mass.), Remco Couwenbergh (Northridge, Calif.), Jed Cunningham (Moorpark, Calif.), Jon Ginolfi (Simi Valley, Calif.), Mick Harner (Hanover, Pa.), Sean Harris (Moorpark, Calif.) and Binh Hoang (Westlake Village, Calif.).
Nakamura was named the captain of the USA team while Cota will serve as vice captain.
The tournament is also the first Pan Am for U.S. head coach Nick Conway. Conway was named the U.S. head coach in 2005 and successfully guided the U.S. to a spot in the Games following a qualifying series victory over Mexico earlier this year.
The USA enters the Pan American Games as the No. 6 seed and will begin play in Pool B with traditional Pan Am rivals Canada and Chile in addition to the Netherlands Antilles. Pool A features defending champion Argentina, Cuba, Trinidad & Tobago and host Brazil. The USA men open play on 16 July against Chile.
"It is an interesting pool and one that will undoubtedly spring a surprise or two," said Conway on the USA's Pan Am draw. "There is no question this is a very competitive group and every game will be a challenge. I don't want to try to make a prediction, but we need to make sure we get a result in every game we play in order to secure a top two position in our pool and move on to the semifinals."
The USA men’s Pan Am history includes bronze medals in 1967, 1987, 1991 and 1995. The team placed 5th in its last two Pan Am Games appearances in 1999 and 2003.
The winner of the Pan Am Games earns the continent’s automatic berth in the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. In addition, teams placing 2-5 in the men’s tournament will earn spots in one of three Olympic Qualifying Tournaments in early 2008. The winners of the three tournaments will earn the final berths in the 2008 Olympic Games.
Source: USA Field Hockey
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