Forging Legacy & Rising Stars: Meet the United Eagles Olympic Team

Jul 9, 2024 | 2023-2024, Blog

Photo Credit: USA Field Hockey

Manahawkin, NJ -​ Team USA stands to achieve a number of milestones during its upcoming foray at the 2024 Paris Olympics. This year’s athletes promise to impress the world stage and may take many by surprise. While none of the rostered players have participated in the Olympics before, they come from diverse backgrounds with solid credentials and experience across collegiate and international play. With 16 women chosen to represent the United States on the United Eagles team, all hailing from NCAA sponsored field hockey programs, here are the rising stars expected to take the spotlight in Paris this summer.

Taking Charge: Team USA’s Co-Captains are Ready to Lead

While the team is carefully curated blend of veterans and newcomers, the United Eagles will be led through the Olympics by two women who are no strangers to the spotlight. Ashley Hoffman and Amanda Golini have been named co-captains of the team, reflecting their pivotal combination of leadership skills both on and off the field.

Golini’s career achievements include over 150 caps and six international medals. The 29-year-old from Randolph, New Jersey became a standout athlete during her time at Lafayette College, where she was named to the U.S. Under-21 Women’s National Team. Climbing the ranks, she became team captain during her third college season. The following year, in 2017, Golini achieved her first U.S. Women’s National Team roster and began to record official international gameplay appearances. Since then, she has been named to five additional USWNT rosters and earned two bronzes, three silver, and one gold medal in global competitions.

Carrying on a family Olympic legacy while making a name for herself is Ashley Hoffman, whose mother Brenda was a member of Team USA when they won the bronze medal during the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. Field hockey has been a part of Hoffman’s life from an early age, with her talents recognized in 2012 when she was named to the U.S. Under-17 Women’s National Team for the Canada Tour. A graduate of University of North Carolina, where she was named the Ken and Cheryl Williams Rookie of the Year in 2015 and ACC Female Athlete of the Year in 2018, Hoffman has gone on to earn 123 caps to date. With six international medals including a gold in the 2017 World League Semifinals in Johannesburg, she is comfortable on the world stage and has proven herself to be a solid defender and leader.

Completing the Puzzle: The Final Team USA Roster

Narrowing the U.S. Women’s National Team player list down to a final Olympic roster was no small task. Spending months analyzing player performance and compatibility, the coaching staff worked to make the tough decisions that led to the 2024 Team USA. Assistant Coach Tracey Fuchs explained that the process was strenuous but rewarding: “We met every single day and discussed players. In the end, we put the best team together that we think will compete together and vie for a medal. I feel good about it, but it still doesn’t mean your heart doesn’t go out to those players who put the work in and miss out.”

That final roster is made up of a total of 16 women carefully selected to balance a vibrant forward line with a solid defense. And when it comes to defending, it starts and stops with goalkeeper Kelsey Bing. The Stanford University graduate was named America East Rookie of the Year and rostered to the America East All-Rookie Team in 2016, and she never looked back. Bing now has 86 caps, and four world championship medals and has her sights set on an Olympic medal to add to her achievements. The only Texan on the roster, Bing works as an engineer for an aviation company when she’s not on the hockey field.

Team USA has a stacked midfield with players who have made their mark on the college and international circuits. Midfielder Meredith Sholder is a University of North Carolina grad and 2022 ACC Defensive Player of the Year. She also earned a number of NCAA championship titles while at UNC. Midfielder Maddie Zimmer is a Northwestern University alumna, where she was a member of the 2021 NCAA championship team, and an All-NCC Tournament Most Valuable Player. Zimmer is also one of nine other Pennsylvanians on the Team USA roster, the most of any state. Sisters Brooke and Emma DeBerdine, both representing University of Maryland, round out the midfield with 50 and 44 caps, respectively.

From an offensive standpoint, Team USA is stacked with young talent. At age 22, forward Phia Gladieux has joined her first U.S. Women’s National Team roster as a rising star who has already made an impact at the NCAA level. Gladieux is one of four Nittany Lions to make an Olympic team over the years, having also received accolades as Penn State’s Female Athlete of the Year and as a B1G Player of the Year. Also making a statement is 19-year-old forward Ashley Sessa, who already has 50 caps and five international medals while also representing Northwestern University. A member of the WC Eagles starting at the age of eight, Sessa has gone on to become the youngest ever USA selection to a national indoor team. She also won the 2023 NCAA national championship with the University of North Carolina before transferring to Northwestern.

Defender and Duke University graduate Leah Crouse from Virginia Beach, Virginia, now attends the University of Maryland as a graduate student and is the second Duke field hockey athlete in history to make the roster. Two Blue Devil head coaches, Liz Tchou (1996-2002) and Pam Bustin, current head coach, are both members of the 1996 Olympic squad. Forward Ally Hammel, from Boston University, is one of only two players to make the roster from New England. Her family has a strong legacy in the sport, with her mother playing field hockey at the University of Connecticut during her own college career. Defender Karlie Kisha was part of two national championship teams at the University of Connecticut. She now serves as a volunteer assistant coach at Villanova University.

Defender Kelee Lepage has been playing field hockey since the third grade and has played for the U.S. national team since 2020. She is one of four rostered players representing the University of Maryland. Forward Abby Tamer (University of Michigan) is the first-ever field hockey player out of Michigan to be named to an Olympic team. Sports run in the family for Tamer, whose mother also played at University of Michigan, and her father previously played in the NHL. Forward Megan Valzonis , represents not only the University of California but is also the lone West Coast player on the United Eagles roster. She has become the school’s fourth field hockey Olympian as well as the first since 1988. Rounding out the roster is forward Beth Yeager, the fifth Princeton University player to be named to an Olympic Games. With 50 caps to her name, she has been a member of the U.S. Women’s National Team since her senior year of high school.

Three provisional athletes which are part of the traveling reserves include Sanne Caarls (Nieuw-Vennep, Netherlands), Cassie Sumfest (Lewisburg, Pa.) and goalkeeper Jenny Rizzo (Hershey, Pa.).

Leading the United Eagles team on the sidelines are head coach David Passmore; assisted by Tracey Fuchs, Maddie Hinch and Javier Telechea, along with performance analyst Chris Fry, assistant performance analyst Ronan Passmore, physiotherapist Hannah Jaussen and Lauren Wauffler, high performance director Craig Parnham, and team manager Krista Page.

Team USA may be new to the Olympics now, but they’re likely to become a mainstay in international play for years to come. Hopes are high for the team as they gear up for the games in Paris this summer.

Be sure to follow the action with play starting on July 27 as the United Eagles take on Argentina.

NFHCA Blog Disclaimer

All content on this blog is for informational purposes only and should not be interpreted as a substitute for NCAA compliance or legal advice. The NFHCA recognizes that the accuracy of the content and opinions in this blog may change over time. The blog site may contain links to other websites or content belonging to or originating from third parties. Such external links are not monitored or endorsed by the NFHCA and the NFHCA does not control such external websites or their content. The NFHCA will not be held responsible for the content of any message from external websites or contributing authors.

The National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) is a nonprofit organization serving field hockey coaches and supporters of the game from across the United States. The mission of the organization is to champion, strengthen, and celebrate field hockey coaches and the game. The NFHCA strives to cultivate and recognize the professional contributions of its membership and to foster and promote the growth of the sport. The NFHCA is responsible for providing a recognizable presence and voice in regard to legislation affecting the sport as well as interscholastic and intercollegiate programs.