Field Hockey Canada > Canadian women look to impress at Junior National Camp

A group of the best young female field hockey players in the country will be gathering in Vancouver August 12-17th for the Canadian Women’s Junior Development Squad National Camp.

Athletes at this camp will be looking to be named to the Junior Development Squad, the first point of entry to the Women’s National Program, and vy for roster spots at upcoming junior international junior events such at the 2016 Junior World Cup. 

“We are looking for athletes who demonstrate a deep desire for Canada to be successful on the senior international stage,” says Women’s National Program Head Coach and Director of Performance, Ian Rutledge.

“While ability is sometimes a given for a talented group, we are looking for athletes that apply themselves to be better every single day; an attitude to want to contribute and become elite level athletes in every aspect of their performance.”

Athletes have been identified at various levels, including through their provincial teams at National Championships and at the Canadian university level.

Many, like Sophie Jones, who is in heading into her second year playing for the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds, were invited to the camp after national scouts took notice of their play in these arenas.

“I decided to stay in Vancouver and go to UBC mainly because the National Program is based in Vancouver,” says Jones. “To keep that option open, I wanted to stay here and be able to be looked at by the scouts and the coaches.”

The Junior Development Camp will be Jones’ third time training with the Women’s National Program.

“They’ve been really good. They’re really hard work but they teach us both the skills aspect and the team aspect of playing, along with the commitment.”

While being named to the Junior Development Squad does not mean an athlete will remain a part of the National Program throughout her career, with major international tournaments upcoming, it does carry great weight. 

“It will be this age group that will represent Canada at the 2016 Junior World Cup and push the older girls for selection as we head towards both the 2018 World Cup and the 2020 Olympics,” says Rutledge.

Seventeen year-old Alexis De Armond will also be attending the camp. But her path to this point has been different than Jones’.

De Armond was identified at the 2013 Under-18 National Championship, where she competed for Team British Columbia.

As Jones was, De Armond was then invited to a Women’s National Team-Junior Development Squad integrated camp in November 2013 and to a Junior Development Camp this past March.

“Ever since I was little, I’ve always wanted to play for my country,” she says. “Making Team B.C. and going to that first National Camp helped me realize my goal of being on the National Team was realistic.”

Both De Armond and Jones have shown a desire to become a part of the National Program, this combined with their talent and the path’s they have chosen has gotten to this point, the National Camp, where they will have a chance to impress up-close, where it matters the most.