USA Field Hockey and men's coach Nick Conway have announced their roster for the best-of-three Pan American Games qualifying series against Mexico, 8-11 March in Devonshire, Bermuda.
The winner of the series will join Argentina, Canada, Chile, Cuba, Netherlands Antilles, Trinidad & Tobago and host Brazil at the Pan American Games, July 15-25 in Rio de Janeiro. The Pan American Games serve as the continental qualifier for the Olympic Games with the winner of the competition earning the continents automatic berth in Beijing in 2008.
The U.S. roster for the event includes a wide range of experience from 1996 Olympian Steve Danielson (San Diego, Calif.) with 80 international caps to newcomers Remco Couwenbergh (Northridge, Calif.) and Andy Sheriden (New York, N.Y.) who will be looking to make their first international appearances.
"We've had a great series with Rotterdam," said Conway on the roster selections following a four-game series with the Dutch club at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista. "It was a fantastic preparation for the Mexico series and we came out of it with a very positive attitude. We're ready to come back reenergized and work hard toward the common goal."
In addition to Danielson, the U.S. roster includes Pan American Games veterans Rhinku Bhamber (Simi Valley, Calif.), Pat Cota (Camarillo, Calif.) and Shawn Nakamura (Camarillo, Calif.) from the 1999 and 2003 Pan Am Games as well as Jarred Martin (Saratoga Springs, N.Y.), Ian Scally (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) and goalkeepers Jason Wellings (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) and Jeb Saez (Thousand Oaks, Calif.). Brian Schledorn (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) was a member of the 1999 Pan Am team while veteran Binh Hoang (Westlake Village, Calif.) was a member of the 2001 USA World Cup Qualifying Tournament team.
The series will serve as the debut international event for Couwenbergh and Sheridan as well as a crucial international test for the next wave of promising U.S. players including Nate Coolidge (Sandwich, Mass.), Jonathon Ginolfi (Moorpark, Calif.), Mick Harner (Hanover, Pa.) and Sean Harris (Moorpark, Calif.).
A favorable outcome in Bermuda would not only send the USA to the Pan Am Games, but would also keep alive the team’s Olympic qualifying hopes. Teams placing 2nd-5th at the Pan Am Games will earn spots in one of three six-team Olympic Qualifying Tournaments in 2008. The winners of each of the qualifying tournament will advance to the Olympic Games.
The USA has appeared in every Pan American Games field hockey tournament since the sport was added to the in 1967. The USA placed 5th at the last Pan Am tournament in 2003 and last won a medal (bronze) at the 1995 Pan American Games in Mar de Plata, Argentina.
Source: USA Field Hockey
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