Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Sunday's game versus Germany was the breaking point for us. We have been knocking at the door of some of the best teams in the world, dominating them at times, yet falling short on the scoreboard. We knew our time would come, and it did on Sunday, after extra time and strokes.

Sunday's game was not only hard fought by both sides for 70 full minutes, but for the 15 minute extra time to push it into strokes. We saw ourselves down a goal at half, but fought back to tie it up in the 2nd. Falling behind yet again, we continued to persist and got the equalizer before the end of the game. With chances in overtime, and a corner with no time left, we didn't connect on the final goal.

We continued forward, trusting in our teammates. Strokes are a very difficult part of the game. Not only is it nerve wrecking, you put all your trust in 6 players- the 5 strokers and your goalkeeper. You trust them to do their jobs and win the game you all have fought so hard to win in the last 85 minutes of play. But I knew those 6 players could do it.

The first two strokes by each team were made. Ok still even. The next stroke, they missed. Ok here is our chance for the lead. Their goalie saves it. Ok, fair enough, we are still even. They make it. We make it. 2-2. They miss. We make it. 3-2. All we need is Jackie to stop this one, and we win. If not, we still have our last stroker to win the game. Without a doubt in my mind, I knew we had it. As the German player pushed with all her might, I watched as the ball sailed wide of the goal. Immediately, I was running along with my teammates to congratulate Jackie and celebrate a hard-fought, well-deserved win, that put us in 3rd and on the medal stand.

For all those tough games and all that we had put on the line, the feeling of finally breaking through and getting the result on the scoreboard against a great team, and one of the top in the world, was amazing.

That being said, we enjoyed the night- took in that victory. We will remember that feeling. But, we know the tournament starts all over in Rosario. We have a clean slate, just as everyone else does. What we did last week doesn't matter. We have a chance to do even better this week, but we know our opposition will be just as tough. We are ready though. We got over one wall and we are not gonna fall back down. I am excited for a new venue, new fans, and a new chance to do some great things this week!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Drug Testing

As a professional athlete and a member of an Olympic sport, we get drug tested. We can be drug tested at almost any time, anywhere. We even fill out forms detailing where we all at all times. Yes, that's right, when you leave the country or decide to take a day trip to the beach, you have to inform USADA, the US Anti-Doping Agency. This regulates US athletes. Above that, you have your sports international governing body who can also drug test you. For us it is the FIH. They can test you anywhere as well, in or out of competition. Sounds fun huh?

So over the years I have had my fair share of drug tests. They came to my house in college, my practice in college, on tour, and of course in California at the training center. But of all the random and inconvenient occurrences I have had, last night's takes the cake for most ridiculous!!

They randomly selected one person from each team to be drug tested last night, and of course I got picked. (Which I thought was funny because in 2008 when we came to this same 4 Nation tournament, I happened to be selected then as well). Anyways, the German girl got into the doping station before I did, so I had to wait about 10 minutes for her to finish. Which was okay with me because I had sweat so much during the game that when the chaperone (she has to stay with you post-game until you are finished your testing) told me I was selected I drank 2 water bottles in hopes that it would help.

As it was my turn to give my sample... I filled the cup as directed, but seconds later I noticed I seemed to have less in the cup... and it was collecting on the floor (gross I know..)... I quickly realized there was a hole in the cup!!!! I know tons of athletes who get tested all the time, but I have never heard of this happening to anyone before!! I had a good laugh until I realized I could no longer give another sample... I had already gone! So I sat down, drank 4 Gatorates, and waited. Then, I waited some more! About an hour later, after just sitting around in this little (smelly) doping control bathroom, I was ready to give another sample. (Don't worry I checked the cup 5 times for holes beforehand!) Finally, once my test was over, my team was already back at the hotel enjoying dinner and debriefing our game. At this point, there was only 15 minutes left in the Argentina/Australia game that had started after our game... and I didn't make it back to the hotel until 11:30pm (our game had been at 7.. so we were done by 9).

We did get dinner at the hotel though AND my teammates were nice enough to save us some birthday cake from Lee's birthday!! It hit the spot.

Definitely one for the books. Funny now that I look back on it... somehow, that would happen to me! haha.

Ups and Downs

Nothing in life is perfect. No matter where you are or what you are doing, there are going to be ups and downs. We like to believe that there will be more ups than downs, and that those ups are worth all of the downs. In order to be successful, it is inevitable you will encounter obstacles and roadblocks. These interruptions are opportunities to learn and grow if we allow them to be.

This 4 Nation tournament is the building blocks of what we hope to achieve by the 2011 Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico in October of 2011. Early in our preparation, we have some new players, new systems, and still a lot to learn. That doesn't mean we can't be successful against some of the top teams in the world though- and we know this.

In our first match, we faced the reigning World Cup Champions in the home country of Argentina. In what proved to be a lively crowd for the home side, we were playing in an environment unfamiliar to many of us. We used their cheering as motivation, as if they are cheering for us, and enjoying the experience of a large enthusiastic following for our sport. Unfortunately, we broke down tactically a bit in our defense during the first half. We started strong and even had the first few chances of the game, but within a 20 minute period, the Argies found the back of the net 5 times. Trailing 5-0 coming out of the lockerroom, we were not pleased with our start and knew our attacking play matched that of the opposing side. We cleaned up some things and kept them off the scoreboard for the rest of the game, but were unable to capitalize ourselves on some positive chances of our own. A 5-0 score is disappointing no matter who you are playing, even if they are #1 in the world.

No doubt we learned some big lessons that game. And as we always do, we never have repeat poor performances. Knowing little and much about the Australians at the same time (our coach, Lee is Australian and knows them well, but most of us had never played them before...) we were ready for a new challenge (as apposed to Argentina who we know all too well). We came out firing against Australia, but again failed to find the back of the cage. Persistence is one quality our team possess though and we kept attacking. As momentum built in our favor, an Aussies forward found a ball that squeaked through our defense and capitalized on her 1v1 with our goalie, Jackie. We continued to push. We had chance after chance but couldn't finish the final skill. Time wound down and we saw the game end with the lone goal by Australia. To put this low into perspective, Lee reminded us that everything we did was right, we played well, and we dominated the stats. We need to get return for our efforts, but it will come. As an elite level athlete, you hate to lose though, and no matter how well you played, it is still a bit frustrating not to be atop the scoreboard.

Friday was a much needed day off (from games) and we had a fun practice to keep everyone positive. Since it was Friday, we still have our tradition of soccer warm up! My favorite day of the week because I love soccer and it is just fun to be competitive in a different arena. Plus, it's really funny to watch some people play! We played for almost half of practice, and the coaches and staff all joined in as well!

Saturday was another chance for us to take a step in the right direction. We had already made some big strides in the first two games, we were ready for the game against Germany to be our turning point. We knew the game plan and we came out strong. Germany was a tough opponent though and they wouldn't back down. They got on the board first with a reverse shot that threw Jackie off. Shortly after we responded though with our first goal of the tournament- a tip in on the far post from Pam (her first international goal!). The game went back and forth a bit, but Germany used 2 corner goals to add to their lead. We still struggled to finish and lost 3-1. With the frustration building, Lee again reminded us that our time is coming and we need to continue to take the good things out of the game.

With Argentina and Australia tying in the second game, we are pitted against Germany once again today in the final game of this part of the 4 Nation tournament. A rematch that we are excited about. We know we are capable of getting the results because we know we have the skills and knowledge to do so. It is all just a matter of putting it all together and keeping our composure the whole 70 minutes. I think we are ready.


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Soccer and a good cause

So one of my good friends who played soccer at Wake Forest, Michael Lahoud, now plays in the MLS for Chivas USA. He told me about a really awesome thing they are doing for their season home opener this year:

He and Chivas USA are joining efforts with Schools For Salone to help rebuild schools in his home country, Sierra Leone. Schools For Salone is a non-profit organization committed to helping Sierra Leoneans rebuild many of the rural schools that were destroyed during the horrific ten year civil war, ending in 2002. He is proud to be a native of Sierra Leone and has always felt a calling to help the many people in need. With your help we can get a step closer to not only rebuilding schools but also creating new hope for the less fortunate people of Sierra Leone. Please join him on Saturday, March 19, as Chivas USA hosts Sporting KC for the Home Opener.

For more information on how to help or donate please visit Ticket proceeds from this website will be going to Schools For Salone.

This is a really good cause and it will be a great game of soccer to watch! If you are in the area I encourage you to take this opportunity to go to an MLS game!!

Monday, February 7, 2011


5am (PST) Sunday Feb. 6th: WAKE UP
6am: Hop on the bus from Chula Vista to LAX
12:30pm: Flight from LAX to Santiago, Chile (with a short stop in Lima, Peru)
6:30am Feb. 7th (1:30am PST): Arrive in Santiago, Chile
9:30am: Fly from Santiago to Mendoza, Argentina
12:00pm: Arrive at hotel in Mendoza

If you do the math... we traveled for over 24 hours. For once, things went smoothly with everyone arriving on time with all of their baggage! (I think that is a first!) Yet, as we walked of the last plane and through customs, we looked like zombies due to the lack of sleep, and a few of us were still trying to cope with the fact we missed the entire superbowl!

Anyways... the first rule of traveling is to try to adjust to the time zone as quickly as possible. In order to do this, you must stay awake until it is the proper time to sleep. Let's just say... none of us quite made this and all caught a quick cat nap once we got to the hotel. Personally, I felt like a new person when I awoke from my slumber! Ready to head to the field and remenise of all the memories we have made here in Mendoza in the past.

But like all tours... something is bound to go wrong eventually... and as we arrived to the field we were informed that the watering system was broke. Questioning the liklihood of practice, our coach quickly told us that we would be running instead! Woohoo! haha... Adapt and adjust! So we got moving to get rid of the lactic acid we built up on the plane and then did get to do a little stick and ball, and shooting at the end. I sure hope the water is fixed for tomorrow though!!

Well that's all for tonight! Time to head to bed! Goodnight all! More to come soon....

it's not all fun and games... unless you make it that way!

Hello World! It has been a busy start to the 2011 campaign for USA Field Hockey, but it has no doubt been a good start to what will be a great year for us! Let me give you a quick recap....

We arrived back in California for training on January 17th. The first two days went pretty smoothly as everyone was happy to be back and catch up after our months away from each other. But we did't take the practices lightly, as we hit the ground running with our first test series against Canada starting on the 19th. We came out strong and ready with a bold 4-0 win in the first game. We wanted to make a statement early on and we did just that. With double trainings on Thursday, we hit the field again Friday. Our bodies were feeling the first week soreness though and we struggled a bit to control the game. Falling behind at halftime, we found a way to push through the bumps and bruises and find ourselves atop the scoreboard 3-2 when the final whistle blew. Knowing we couldn't have another showing like that, we turned around Saturday, scored 2 goals, and kept a clean sheet in our backfield. Normally Sunday is a day off for us, but not this first week back. Not only did we have to take our team photo, many of us did a 5 hour photo shoot with our sponsor Asics, on top of a fitness run. With one final game to go Monday morning though, there was no way we were going to let Canada get anything out of us.... and we finished off the series with a decisive 6-0 win. Although Canada is not one of the highest ranking opponents we play, there is a rivalry there and there was still a lot we gained by playing them early on in our development phase for this year. Overall, a great start to 2011.

We weren't done there though. No rest for the weary. As our coaches promised us, this would be a challenging year where we not only push the limits, but we demand of each other a high level of commitment and skill. If we keep doing what we've always done, then we will get what we've always got... and for us, that's not good enough anymore. In combination with Sports Psych meetings, we paid a little visit to the decorated Navy Seals down the road in Coronado. In one of the most physically and mentally exhausting experiences of our lives, we spent 5 hours doing as the Navy Seals do. Push ups, sit ups, jumping jacks, wet and sandy's, running miles carrying a boat, running miles back carrying a 30lb rucksack. We did it all. In ways you can only imagine unless you have been through it, we pushed ourselves to go longer and further when our bodies felt like they could no longer function, our minds took over in the moment of the action. This is a lesson we all hope to take back to our field of play, just being in the moment each step of the game. That is how a true champion succeeds no matter what the environment and obstacles around them.

Still without a day off (down to one-a-days instead of doubles) we finished the week with a few lighter practices (as our bodies were pretty crushed after the Seals training- just ask our massage therapist who was super busy those next couple days!) As the weekend hit, the opening game of the newly founded Asics League was played on Saturday between the Pacific Beach Panthers and the Coronado Islanders. (My team the Point Loma Suns wasn't playing in the inaugral game.) But finally on Sunday we had our first REAL DAY OFF!!! It was glorious! haha...

Compared to the first two weeks, the third week of training was not quite as eventful... although we did have to do a concussion test, blood work, get physicals, and do fitness testing. So our schedule still wasn't back to normal and we still had minimal amounts of free time.... but sometimes that is just life!

Despite all of the craziness of the first few weeks back with the National Team, for me it was very refreshing and inspiring. My teammates are like my family and I hadn't seen them in 5 months. It was and is nice being back in their company and training with some of the world's best athletes. Seeing all of the other athletes at the training center that I have become close with over the years always reminds of how special it is to get to do what I do every day. It is hard to explain, but the feelings of excitement and anticipation for the amazing year ahead just flowed through me everyday.