As part of our celebration of International Women's Day, FIH caught up with Rocío Sanchez Moccia, long-standing member of the Argentina women's national team. Rocio returned to the Argentina national side after giving birth to her baby to help steer Argentina to a silver medal at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. She is yet another athlete demonstrating that it is possible to combine motherhood with the challenges of being an elite athlete.
2021 was a great year for Rocío and her fellow Leonas as they won silver at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 and then reestablished themselves as Pan American Cup champions, which also served as a qualifier for the FIH Hockey Women's World Cup 2022.
At time of writing, they are also topping the table in Season Three of the FIH Hockey Pro League.
FIH: Rocío, what is your reflection on all this after your return to action after your maternity leave? How do you feel?
Rocío Sanchez Moccia: The truth is that this was super good. We close our 2021 with a silver medal at the Olympics. We started a new cycle with great enthusiasm, because in a very short time it will be the World Cup. We went to the Pan American Cup with the goal of qualifying for the World Cup and being the champions, and we were able to do it. We are very happy that we have started off on the right foot in the FIH Pro League, playing at home and winning all the games, I think we are all very clear about what is coming so we are very excited.
What have you found to be the biggest challenges when it comes to combining motherhood with being an athlete at the highest level?
Mainly with a lot of help, from the father of our daughter, Fran; my mom and the whole family who are supporting us. Because I knew from the beginning that I wanted to play again after being pregnant and trying to be able to be in the Olympics and train and be able to win a place in the team. The good thing is that I was able to do it, and all this with the help of my family. I was more than convinced that I could achieve it. It was like putting the car in first gear and you see that you're ahead, because I already had my routines, I tried to make Fran mould a little to me, the place of me to Fran (I know that this was very difficult), but I was so convinced and so eager that sometimes I was going to train without sleeping, I still had a good time, obviously afterwards I finished the training and ended up super exhausted, but I was very happy to have achieved it, especially to have had the chance to be able to have gone to the Olympics. The truth is what I wanted, it's what I still want, and that our daughter Fran can be part of this, long live the sport, because I think that sport is health, it's super nice and it's as a team, it's very nice to be able to pass that on to her and obviously to my family.
What message can you share with other female athletes who are in a situation like yours?
When a person has a dream to fulfill or personal goals, I believe that nothing should stand in the way, except life circumstances. With the help of the family, it is possible. With a lot of personal drive and desire, I believe that everything is possible to achieve. In my case, everything went very well, and thanks to the team we also ended up winning a medal, so I would tell you with will and effort everything is possible.
Do you think that being a mom changed you as a person and as a hockey player in any way?
I think that yes, being a mother changes some things like patience, for example, maybe I used to have less patience than now, maybe I also think that age may have given it to me. Empathy is also something that I developed with being a mom, I think I practice that more with the team or in the game itself.
What does it mean that Fran (your daughter) is part of your career today, of your daily life as a player and as a mother?
I love it, I love being able to share this with her, that she is always with me when she can. Luckily, she can accompany me to most places with my partner and my mother, or with whoever, but she is always there, I love that she can experience this team sport because it is beautiful, because of the values that this sport represents. that it is wonderful and that she lives it and values it (whether it is this sport or any other that she chooses).
Rocío, we want to thank you, we hope you continue to enjoy this enormous career that you have achieved to date after 50 international competitions and 263 international matches, and that there are many more to come.