Day 4 – Rest Day

After a decent win v Venzuela, we had the next day off. We woke up to a 10:30 breakfast and started the day off easy and relaxed. 11:30 it was jog and stretch time, this time totally different. Jason took us for a nice pool-recovery session. After treating our muscles with some nice cold water, we headed to our rooms for lunch. Jason had arranged some fresh chicken to put on bread and baby carrot bags for our mid-day appetite.

After eating lunch we had a bunch of free time. Some guys took a nap, while the others played the well known game, handball. Liam and Tyler were top class with Ghandiman usually ending up in 3rd place. At 5o’clock we headed down stairs for an early dinner. Due to our non existent Spanish communicating ability , we ended up eating a light snack but managed a proper dinner at 10pm.

In the between time  we went to go watch the USA girls hockey match against Paraguay. We left the hotel  on one bus with the girls. We as U21 boys were accustomed to a quiet bus ride to get our mind set for the game. In this case it was totally different. The girls were very noisy. The ipod speakers were going full blast, and the girls were singing along to pump themselves up.

Once we arrived at the field we played round 1 of our champions tournament of wiffle ball to kill some time before the match started.

During the  girls game we tried to be the best fans possible for the girls. We brought flags, music and some heavy-men voices to cheer for the USA. We managed a solid last goal in the last couple of minutes of the game, it finally ended up in 8-0 for our girls. A great result! Keep it up!

Of course we also had to get back to the hotel. The bus ride back was even more exciting than the way to the game. Not only were the girls singing but we even caught some coaches screaming along. We had an absolute blast.

After our 10 pm  dinner we headed to our rooms for a good night of sleep. And that is where day 4 ends. 

Rutger and his roommates

Day 3 – Game 1 v Venezuela

Today was a solid day overall. The positive started at about 10.15 when Aki awoke and proceeded to throw a random paper ball into the trash bin a good room length away. The mighty German who has never played a lick of basketball swished it! It was bound to be a good day. Things proceeded as usual with a standard, predictable breakfast and a casual jog and stretch, in which we dodged Mexican traffic as though it was second nature.

Afterwards, we had a few hours of downtime when most of us caught up with our favorite tv shows and watched movies. At about 4pm we prepared our minds for our first game with about 20 minutes of visualization with our trainer, Goku. The soundtrack of the movie “Gladiator” definitely got us in the zone and pumped us up even more as we closed our eyes and reflected on scenarios in our heads.

Things got into full swing as we had our pregame meal, pregame meeting, and headed to the stadium. It was all business from here.

 Having arrived earlier than expected in the locker room, players used their spare time to get their minds set for the following game. People listened to their iPods, checked their equipment or went to catch some air and wander around the stadium.

 Finally the game got underway. Our team got a perfect start with Aki scoring a PC within the first minutes of the game. The game started too slow for us and Venezuela seemed to pick up there speed. As both teams continued to fight for possession three PC’s were earned yet still the game remained 1-0. Then as the second half was nearing its end Austin Groeneveld brought the game to 2-0 with a beautifully composed goal inside the circle.

Throughout the second half we finally started to execute our outlet and and controlled possession for the majority of the half. With the majority of possession in our hands it became easy to knock in 3 goals making the game 5-1 for the USA win.


Ajai, Aki, Sean

Day 2

Today was the first day of experiencing what we will be having for breakfast for the next 15 days and we were all disappointed. 
All they had to eat was stale bread, old and very moist eggs and what im sure was sour milk but i was to scared to check. I know disgusting right? Needless to say we didn’t eat much. Even Johnny would stay away from that food!
An hour later we had a jog in stretch which usually isn’t to bad but with, empty stomachs, and a higher evelvation 15 minutes felt like 2 hours. 
It didnt help that we had to jump every other step to avoid bumps on the sidewalk. Of course we had a victim to the sidewalk and of course that victim was Brandon.
When we finally finished the jog and stretch we were more than relieved to have some down time. We all made some PB&Js which is an average meal but compared to the breakfast we were in heaven. 
Next on the schedule was the scrimmage against Argentina. We were all excited to get back on the field and get a run out after our 4 days off (that’s a long time for us).
You could tell we were a bit rusty after coming off the first half 3-0. We got in our rhythm and dominated the second half but were unable to turn the many opportunities we had into goals and finished the game at 3-0.
Once we got back to the hotel we didn’t have anything scheduled til dinner so a couple of the guys decided to take a dip in the pool.
Dinner was good and we all left the dining room full and happy. After dinner we were doing the usual, hanging out in one room and playing instrumentals while a few of the guys would freestyle to it. We all enjoyed it and were ready to call it a night when we saw our girls USA Field Hockey team sitting in our hall.
After 45 minutes of conversing and getting to know one another we finally called it a night and went our separate ways. It was a good day and a good start to the tour.
We all can’t wait to start the tournament matches tomorrow and show everyone that the USA is ready to win!
Tyler Sundeen, Ranjot Sangha, and Christian Linney


Travel Day – Day 1

Our travel day started early with a flight leaving LAX at 8:30 to Guadalajara.  We assembled at the check in area at 6:30am only to find that we were missing a player.  We found that he had accidentally slept in and now would be missing the team’s flight to Mexico.  I’m told he ended up taking a later flight and should be arriving in Mexico soon.

We carried on as a team to the gate and boarded another of what have become pretty routine flights to another country after Mo and Chris Rea sweet talked their way into the business class lounge.  The service on the plane was nice, but nothing close to the awesomeness that we experienced on Air New Zealand Airlines.  We arrived, gathered our gear and hopped into our team bus to the hotel, which was about 30 minutes away from the airport. 

As we arrived at the hotel we ran into the Brazilian Men’s and Women’s teams and we did our best to look intimidating.  The team moved into our rooms and headed down for lunch in the hotel, where are again ran into the Brazilians. Afterwards, we had a little down time before a jog and stretch. 

On the J&S the guys were almost hit by cars on multiple occasions, so we decided it might be better to run around a public park instead, less cars and all.  We took a few laps around the park, did our stretching, plyometrics and heart rate spike and it was back to the hotel.  A little more down time. Some hit the pool while others relaxed in their rooms.  We had a brief orientation meeting at 8 and went straight to dinner, where we found that there were Canadians in our midst. 

Most of the guys haven’t been to an international tournament before, so seeing all the different countries arrive is getting everyone pretty pumped.  We look forward to our test match against Argentina tomorrow. 


Alex Grassi #10

Jaja Kentwell #5

Chris Rea #21

Pan American Games – Sept 10-23, Guadalajara – Mexico

U21 Men NZ Tour Day 6

Friday started earlier than all the previous days, with a 10am start. We had a team meeting and went over some things from yesterday’s game.

After the meeting we went to the fields with practice on our mind. We were surprised to find out we had some challenges from the coaches, which included the 25yard crossbar challenge, rebound, and the backhand challenge. The players had won the first two games and the series just to bet it all away on double or nothing rebound and unfortunately lost. After all of that we had a fun game of American football. The teams were the east coasters with Chris as their quarterback vs. the California born players with Ben as their quarterback. The game was close and decided on the last play but the Cali boys won. We departed the pitch with a competitive edge to our game excited for the game.


Getting back to the motel we were told we had 3 hours before we left for the Auckland pitch that usually took around 40 minutes for a 6:00pm game, our second in the series. In these 3 precious hours of down time before we left for the pitch we were to eat lunch and cook dinner, after being told this I immediately planed my meals perfectly so as to coincide with my metabolic hunger ratio to maximize my nutritional intake based on the very short time frame we had to consume our meals and most certainly didn’t go straight to sleep for the entire 3 hours.

When it came game time the team had a positive vibe, excited to play a good, solid game of hockey against the Auckland team. In the game itself the team had an overall positive performance winning the game 3-2 though knowing we could have put 3 or 4 more goals in against them I came of the pitch anxious to play the last game on Sunday.

Walking back to the vans for the ride home Gary, the teams liaison, gave the team three cups of French fries that we didn’t much care for because of our delicate timing with our meals earlier on we were all comfortably satisfied, which of course means we didn’t swam Garry and all but inhale the fries to silence our stomachs.

Getting back to the motel and in our rooms I was looking forward to relaxing on my bed and to listening to my music but rather I found myself franticly gathering all of my most valuable possession that I brought because the fire alarm had gone off. At first I though it was just our rooms alarm because sometimes the smoke from the toaster will trigger the separate room alarms that each room has. Realizing after a couple seconds that this was the actual alarm I proceeded with Brandon to start heading outside. Outside the team stood for about 10 minutes while New Zealand’s fire service searched the building and found that one of the rooms were cooking and had some how set off the alarm.

Whilst this was all happening Chris was getting the team some local fish’n’chips for the team that ended the day nicely.


Brandon Karess and Christian Linney

U21 Men NZ Tour Day 5

A pretty slow Thursday morning for everyone, as usual breakfeast at 10 which we enjoyed our usual eggs and toast and some having tea and or coffee, myself I enjoyed the tea. Soon after we had our 10:30 jog and stretch. Shortly after we had a debrief of our second game from Monday but before the meeting started fellow teammates Ranveer Kundi and Sean Chichi were late, and of course we all had to take the punishment for it, Ben would just got up from his chair in the meeting room and said “Lets go outside and plank it up” before our meeting started we did some planks and pushups and Sean and Ranveer had to do a couple extra. Shortly after our debrief we all had to get ready for practice,  After a light practice, we enjoyed some lunch and had to cook up our dinner shortly after our lunch. Dinner consisted of diced Beef  and rice which was quite good. Around 5:00 we had our pregame meeting going over tactics and extra for our game,  as well Chris told us that this will be like a FIH hockey game lights and all walk outs and national anthems and all that also playing with the Yellow hockey balls like how it was in the Olympics so we were all excited. After this we all boarded the vans and went out on our 40 minute journey to the field, All of us listening to our Ipods getting into the zone for the game. We arrived to the field but seeing multiple hockey fields it was a cool sight to see and many people playing hockey. Game started at 8:00 we started off really slow and Auckland got an early goal, but soon after we would capitalize and Ajai dhadwal scored a penalty corner putting it bottom left. A couple minutes later we earned another penalty corner and this time Johnny Orozzco put it away putting in the ball bottom left as well. The game kept playing we had many chances to score but couldn’t put it away. The second half began and we started once again to a slow start but we had a solid defense and did not concede not even one penalty corner the whole game. In the middle of the second half Tyler Sundeen scored the third goal for us putting the game to 3-1 USA victory. Man of the match went to captain Ajai Dhadwal for having a solid game playing as fullback as well as center half.     


Paul Singh #16 

U21 Men NZ Tour – Game 4 Match Report

USA U21 Men’s New Zealand Tour

Auckland, New Zealand


August 17, 2012


USA U-21 Men – Match Report

By Mike Whitehead – Manager


USA vs. U21 IASP Men’s Development squad


Match Time:  6:00 pm


The USA U21’s continued play in New Zealand at the Auckland Hockey Association for their second match against the U21 IASP squad. 


The U21’s were out to clinch a second win and command the series.  The USA started off much better then their previous starts, controlling possession for the first part of the half with only a few chances.  The US was first to put a goal on the board off a PC deflection with Aki Kaeppeler passing to Tyler Sundeen putting the USA up 1 – 0 in the 19th minute.  The Auckland U21’s was eager to equalize the match and earned a PC in the final minute of the first half, but with a nice save by the USA GK, Chris Rae, the USA finished the half 1 – 0.


With the second half underway, and the score close, the USA and Auckland squads were out to earn the win.  The USA was first to score by a nice pass from Rutger Pruijs to Johnny Orozco who found Tyler Sundeen for the FG to make it 2 – 0 in the 43rd minute. With Auckland down the USA was put to the test by some good play by the home team, with a number of chances they finally converted a FG in the 46th minute making the score 2-1.  In the 57th minute Mike Barminski played a nice transferred ball from the right side to Johnny Orozco on the left, who played a quick ball to Tyler Sundeen in the attacking circle who quickly crossed the ball to Ranveer Kundi for a deflection FG putting the USA up 3 – 1.  With Auckland down, and minutes remaining, they pulled their GK and put an additional field player (kicking back) on the pitch putting more pressure on the USA and with a less then a minute remaining Auckland played a ball into circle which was unfortunately deflected off the USA defender that was whistled a goal.  The USA defender, along with captain Ajai Dhadwal, both contested the call.  However the umpire stuck with the decision.  The USA finished the match 3 – 2.


The USA U21’s will play their final match against Auckland U21’s on Sunday morning, August 19th, to finish the series and their tour.  They will travel back to the USA on Sunday evening to complete their final weeks of training before heading to Guadalajara on September 6th for the Junior Pan Am’s. 

U21 Men NZ Tour – Game 3 Match Report

USA U21 Men’s New Zealand Tour

Auckland, New Zealand


August 16, 2012


USA U-21 Men – Match Report

By Mike Whitehead – Manager


USA vs. U21 IASP Men’s Development squad


Match Time:  8:00 pm


The USA U21’s continued play in New Zealand at the Auckland Hockey Association facility just south of downtown Auckland.  The U21’s will play three matches against the U21 IASP squad before returning to Los Angeles on Sunday the 19th.


The USA was ready to continue their play after a rest day on Wednesday.  The first half of the match started off by conceding a FG in the first minute putting the IASP on top 0 – 1.  This didn’t put the USA out, but made them play with more intensity and controlled possession against the Auckland squad for a long stretch of time.  In the 21st minute the USA forced a PC that Ajai Dhadwal put a nice low left drag flick to equalize the match 1 – 1.  The USA used this momentum to put the IASP squad under some pressure and forced another PC in the 22nd minute and converted another goal by Johnny Orozco’s drag flick to the lower left corner putting the USA up 2 – 1.  Both teams continued to swap possession for the remainder of the half ending 2 -1 with the USA U21’s up.


Second half play continued with Auckland and the USA U21’s creating some nice play and opportunities.  However it was the USA to strike first with some nice skills by Ranveer Kundi in the attacking circle with a backhand pass from left of the goal to find Tyler Sundeen unmarked for a sliding finish to score the USA’s third goal in the 54th minute putting the USA up 3 – 1.  This was enough to keep the USA up and in front for the remaining minutes and finished the match with their second victory of the tour. 


The USA U21’s will play Auckland Hockey U21 IASP Development squad again for their second match, August 17th, 6:00 pm. 

U21 MEN – Rest Day

The day began with some Lil Wayne booming on the speakers whilst cooking our routine scrambled eggs. It was nice to have a rest day, but resting was the last thing on our mind when we climbed to the top of One Tree Hill, which ironically had no tree?! Johnny decided to work on his chasing of innocent sheep whilst the others admired the view of Auckland.

We then had a lovely surprise in store, fish and chips! “No Johnny, chips as in fries” to his delight. This was a good change from our gourmet peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. We ate the speciality dish in one of the picturesque parks, which quickly led to some childish monkey behaviour in the trees.

The real fun of the day began when we arrived in the city centre of Auckland. We spent the afternoon wandering the streets exploring what the city had to offer. The antics continued with Johnny clumsily smashing some glasses in Starbucks and blaming it on the table.  JaJa was left to his own devices to wander the streets after loosing his teammates. Meanwhile Chi Chi and Ranveer managed to get themselves into a rap battle on the streets of Auckland putting their skills to the test with a local.

The day ended in style with our first meal out at an ‘all you can eat’ Mongolian restaurant.  The boys took ‘all you can eat’ a bit too literally, piling mountains of food on their plates, this would be an interesting entry for the food log. Christian was in some pain after the extreme amount of meat consumption he took in. We all headed back to the hotel with our body stocked up on food for the remainder of the week much to the delight of Mike Whitehead… No more trips to Pak’n’Save!

Chris Rea, Andrew Davis