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Practicing in Charlotte and packing for Paris: Team USA field hockey roster announced

Team USA defender Cassie Sumfest, right, in a June 6 match against Team Great Britain. Sumfest, a 2021 graduate of UNC Chapel Hill, is traveling to the Paris 2024 Olympic Games as a provisional athlete.
Will Palmer/Frank Uijlenbroek
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Courtesy of Team USA Field Hockey
Team USA defender Cassie Sumfest, right, in a June 6 match against Team Great Britain. Sumfest, a 2021 graduate of UNC Chapel Hill, is traveling to the Paris 2024 Olympic Games as a provisional athlete.

Bolstered by an early June victory against Team Great Britain, the sixth-ranked team in the world, Team USA field hockey is excited about the recent momentum around women’s sports as it gears up for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

“This year has been so much fun to be a female athlete and seeing all these other sports just blow up in viewership and popularity,” said Ashley Hoffman, a team co-captain and defender.

The team has been practicing at the US Performance Center on the UNC Charlotte campus since November 2023. The team roster was announced June 12 and includes Cassie Sumfest, a 2021 graduate of UNC Chapel Hill, who is traveling to Paris as a provisional athlete.

Team USA co-captains Amanda Golini and Ashley Hoffman.
Will Palmer/Frank Uijlenbroek
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Courtesy of Team USA Field Hockey
Team USA co-captains Amanda Golini and Ashley Hoffman.

“It's incredible seeing the personalities of these women come forward through their sport,” Hoffman said. “And that's what I believe everyone's kind of gravitating toward. These women play incredible sports and are so incredibly skilled. But then their personalities come out on social media, in their playing fields, just how they carry themselves. and it's so fun to keep up with these women. So I'm excited for years to come. I think it's just the beginning for women's sports.”

Charlotte became home to Team USA field hockey during the summer of 2021, with Cathy Bessant of Charlotte as a key supporter behind the move. The team started at Bessant Field at Queens University of Charlotte, and a $1 million grant from Bank of America placed the team at the performance center.

Head coach David Passmore is delighted by the growth of his players.

“That’s been something that’s really impressed me,” Passmore said. “How quickly they’ve developed just through that very, those two words, hard work, and really putting it in in every aspect, not just on the field or in the gym, you know, their nutrition, their recovery, their sleep, their lifestyle changes that they’ve made has been really impressive.”

The team is focused on all aspects of training leading up to the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, Passmore said.

“We're pushing them really hard at the moment,” Passmore said.

A typical day of practice might include a three-hour session with warm-ups and scrimmage, and then nearly three more hours of conditioning, including sprints and situational play.

“We're trying to prepare them in every sense, but do it in a collective way,” Passmore said. “So they've been really pushing hard in the gym. They've been running up to four times a week. And now we're adding more and more hard hockey.”

Intense workouts are key preparation for Paris. “You can't compete in an Olympics unless you're physically at your peak,” he said.

Amanda Golini, a forward and team co-captain, said the team is enjoying its Olympic preparations.

“This has been quite a journey for our team and getting to this point,” Golini said. “Enjoying every single moment that comes with it, and us putting our best foot forward. And, kind of, showcasing all the work that we’ve done over the past four years. and all the things that we’ve overcome. And yeah, most of all, just enjoying every single minute of it.”

The US women’s field hockey team is ranked No. 13 globally. The team’s Paris 2024 Olympic Games schedule includes matches against No. 2-ranked Argentina on July 27; No. 7-ranked Spain on July 29; No. 4-ranked Australia on July 31; No. 6-ranked Great Britain on Aug. 1; and No. 18-ranked South Africa on Aug. 3.

Team USA coach David Passmore.
Will Palmer/Frank Uijlenbroek
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Courtesy of Team USA Field Hockey
Team USA coach David Passmore.

Students Catherine Thompson, Nicole Rojas and Andrew McDermott contributed to this story.

Karsyn Sadler of Las Vegas, Nevada, is a student in the James L. Knight School of Communication at Queens University of Charlotte, which provides the news service in support of local community news. Karsyn is also a midfielder on the Queens lacrosse team.

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