Field hockey players bound for Amsterdam
A group of Tri-City field hockey athletes will be getting a taste of international competition next week.
Delisa LaRiviere, Nicole Godman, Natalie Winter and Niki Best, all Grade 11 and 12 students at Dr. Charles Best secondary, will join athletes from across Canada on a trip to the World Youth Tournament in Amsterdam. There, the group will take on some of the best field hockey competition in their age group in the world, playing against club’s from across Europe.
Rob Short, the owner of Rob Short Academy, a coaching clinic that organized the team, said the athletes were eager to test their ability against some tough squads.
“It’s exciting but it’s also a bit overwhelming,” he said. “We are going to be competing against some of the best club teams in the world.”
TOUGH COMPETITION IN EUROPE, SAYS COACH
Short is no stranger to European competition. He played professionally in Holland for 16 years and represented Canada at the Sydney Olympics in 2000 and in Beijing in 2008.
He said that the team he has assembled for the trip to Amsterdam has some of the best players from the area.
LaRiviere, Godman, Winter and Best have all played on the Dr. Charles Best field hockey team and Short believes the experience they gain in Europe will be extremely valuable. The four players will be joining 31 other team members from Canada on the trip.
Many of the athletes that enter his academy are eyeing university and college scholarships, which has led to a dramatic increase in the popularity of field hockey in recent years.
“The numbers really do seem to be increasing,” he said. “For males, it is up and down but for females the sports is growing.”
The tournament will begin with a series of test matches against clubs from Holland. After that, the team will compete in round-robin play and hopefully make their way into the playoff rounds.
Short said he is particularly interested to see how his club fares against Holland. That country has won the field hockey competition at the last two Olympics and the sport is so popular that many athletes make a living in their professional league.
There will be a lot of eyes on the World Youth Tournament, he added. The event is taking place in a stadium beside the World Cup field hockey competition, which will run for most of the week.
“We are the side event,” Short said. “The World Cup is going to be going on right next door.”
People who are interested in following the team’s progress can go to www.rabobankhockeyworldcup2014.com.