Ten years ago Stephanie Jameson played her first match for Team Canada. 168 international appearances later, she is ready for new and exciting challenges. On June 2nd, Jameson officially announced her retirement from the Canadian Women’s National Team.
Steph has been an anchor for the Senior Women since 2002, competing in three Commonwealth Games (2002, 2006, 2010), three Pan American Games (2003, 2007, 2011) and two Pan American Cups (2004, 2009). On February 19, 2012 at the FIH Road to London Olympic Qualifier in Delhi, Jameson earned her 164th cap to surpass the Women’s Canadian Cap Record – a testament of Steph’s dedication and commitment to her team.
“Steph is a tremendous leader – though she’s not your stereotypical leader,” says Paul Bundy, Assistant Coach of the Women’s National Team. “She brings quiet, unassuming leadership. Steph has been very committed to the team throughout the years, providing a very steady presence. The team is so grateful that she has always been there.”
“Teammates truly made the experience for me throughout the years,” says Jameson. “It’s a lot of hard work, but the experiences were incredible.”
One of Steph’s most memorable experiences during her time with Team Canada was competing in the 2008 Olympic Qualifier in Victoria, BC. Though the team did not qualify, playing in front of family and friends on home turf was unforgettable. She also thoroughly enjoyed competing in the major, multi-sport events as they provided an opportunity to unite with athletes from other sports – all there for the same purpose.
Several major games were especially meaningful for Steph because she was able to represent Canada alongside her brother, David Jameson – member of the Men’s National Team.
“I will always cherish the moments we had together when we played in multisport games,” says David. “This dates back to the 2003 Pan American Games in Santo Domingo. It was always great to have each other’s support and hang out just like we do back home. I feel like I always played my best hockey in these events because of her support.
“I congratulate Steph on her massive achievement of becoming the most capped woman in Canada. I know first-hand that she gave her all for her team and country. Good luck in your new phase of life Steph, just give’er!
The FIH Road to London in February was the last time the siblings competed on the National Teams simultaneously.
“After the Olympic Qualifier in February, I started to think about retiring,” says Jameson. “I took a few months to reflect – and at the end of the day realized I’m ready for the next stage in my life.”
What does that next stage look like? Steph is not quite sure, but she now has the time to figure that out.
“For my entire adult life, my yearly calendar has been based on the team’s schedule,” says Jameson. “I’m now going to take a step back and take the time to figure out what’s next on the horizon – to figure out what I’m passionate about and what I want to do professionally.
“I’ve grown into the person I am today based on the experience of being committed to something. I have learned hard work and determination, and I’ve learned the importance of doing other things that make me happy. I think that will help me as I find my work/life balance moving forward.”
Steph is definitely going to stay involved in field hockey – she plans to continue playing club and hopes to continue coaching. She knows first-hand the impact coaches can have on young athletes.
“Gill Braun was my first provincial coach for Team BC in 1996,” says Jameson. “She is an amazing coach and had a significant influence on my career. I was playing multiple sports that summer, and Gill put me on the path towards field hockey.”
Dr. Dana Sinclair also had a part to play in Steph’s career. Sinclair, former Captain of the Women’s National Team in the 1970’s, worked one-on-one with Jameson when she first started with the Women’s Junior National Team in 2000.
“Dana gave me the confident to pursue field hockey at the international level,” says Steph. “In my first stages with the Junior Team she helped me work through anxiety and other challenges.”
Braun and Sinclair are just two of the many, many people that have supported Stephanie throughout her career.
“I’m so lucky to have been coached by so many great people and played with so many amazing teammates,” she says. “Above all, I am thankful for my friends and family who have supported me through the good times and the bad – the highs and the lows. My family has been amazing through it all.”
And her family understands the pressure of elite-level competition. Steph and David’s mother, Sue Jameson, played on the Women’s National Team in the 1970’s. Her father, Morley Jameson, played badminton for the University of British Columbia – where sister Katie Jameson now plays field hockey with the Thunderbirds. With the whole family deeply connected to the field hockey community, Steph is destined to stick around.
“I know Steph will remain active in the field hockey community – whether as an athlete, official or coach,” says Bundy. “She has been around hockey most of her life and truly understands solid coaching concepts. She is a great problem solver on the pitch and is able to understand what is going on at many levels. Through the wide range of coaches Steph has worked with, she has developed a well-rounded coaching philosophy.”