The junior women’s hockey team travels to a World Cup for the first time

A charrúa illusion passes through the brand new field of Barradas street, inaugurated this year in Carrasco. The women who defend the Uruguay jersey in the junior hockey category are days away from living their dream, because it is already fulfilled: to be the first to give the country the chance to play a World Cup in this discipline.

With a lot of effort, ups and downs and work that still remains to be done, the Cimarroncitas live in November in the face of a great goal. While training they are very concentrated, attentive to the coach’s instructions, for whom it is also an unprecedented fact to travel to a World Cup. While they move the sticks on the ground, looking for the round and heavy ball, some complicit laugh appears, the kind that denotes that doing sports is doing well. Especially when working with clear objectives, in a united group that shares a goal.

Photo of the article'The junior women's hockey team travels to a World Cup for the first time'

Photo: Ernesto Ryan

A reality

For the first time Uruguay qualified for a field hockey World Cup, in any category. There are 22 players under 21 who are training, looking for a place to defend the celestial in this competition. The final list will be cut and 18 members will remain on the campus.

The Junior Women’s World Hockey World Cup will take place December 5-16 in Bloemfontein, South Africa. 16 teams will participate; The Netherlands, South Korea, Zimbabwe and Ireland belong to group A; Belgium, England, Canada and Uruguay, to group B; Argentina, India, Russia and Japan will compete in group C, while Germany, Spain, the United States and South Africa will compete in group D.

Uruguay will debut on December 5 against Canada, the next day they will face Belgium and on December 8 they will face England.

The Cimarroncitas are in the final stretch of the preparation they have been doing for months with Andrés Vásquez as coach, who makes up the coaching staff together with Diego Laborde as technical assistant, Matías Núñez in the role of physical trainer and Nicolás Tixe as head coach.

Photo of the article'The junior women's hockey team travels to a World Cup for the first time'

Photo: Ernesto Ryan

It is a historic milestone that the Uruguayan junior hockey team has qualified for a World Cup. A door was opened for the first time that the celestial ones had not managed to unlock at the youth level, but not at the senior level either.

They achieved it in the Pan American category in Chile, after beating the United States 1-0 in the semifinal, with a goal from Belén Barreiro. They were crowned runners-up after having played the final with Canada, before which they lost 1-0. This is the best result obtained by the celestial since the beginning of the continental competition in 1986. The previous one had been in 2016, when they finished in fifth place.

In the final line

Usually the Cimarroncitas practice four times a week; In the last three weeks prior to the trip, that frequency will be increased, since they stop training and playing for the clubs.

“The group is very united, very motivated by what they are going to play, and the goal is always to do the best possible role. We know that we are going to face powers, as happened to us in the Pan American. Being up to the task is the primary objective ”, he explained to Claw Coach.

But the process began much earlier, in 2019, when they traveled to an exchange in China to train in double or triple shifts, for 45 days, with local coaches, and play friendlies. Later they traveled to Chile, until the pandemic arrived in 2020. After the break, they trained for the Pan American, while competing in their clubs. After that instance, all the players were reserved for the selection.

Photo of the article'The junior women's hockey team travels to a World Cup for the first time'

Photo: Ernesto Ryan

The move

In addition to the support of the National Sports Secretariat, the sponsors and the federation, they had to organize events to pay for the trip. Sales of masks, raffles, T-shirts, trick championships and clinics were some of the activities to achieve the goal of participating in a World Cup.

For the coach it is a unique experience. “It is the maximum, outside of what can be an Olympic Game; to be in a World Cup is to touch the sky with your hands, “he said.

At the same time, it is the first generation of players to prepare on the synthetic water court created by the Uruguayan Federation of Field Hockey, which the president Danae Andrada considers of great importance, because she believes that the structure is the fundamental base for the growth of teams.

World Cup arc

Victoria Bate has played hockey since she was eight years old at Stella Maris School. She is a national team goalkeeper since training, and in 2016 she went to compete for a provincial for the first time. The following year, he represented Uruguay with the largest indoor hockey team in a Pan American Championship.

As the goalkeeper of the current team that will play the World Cup in South Africa, she is satisfied with the process they are doing, taking into account that they went from having a consolidated team to forming a new one. Some have been playing together for a long time and others have recently been part of the team, “so at first the connections between players cost more, something that today we have improved a lot,” says Bate.

“The base is the same but the people are different and make different contributions to the group. Six players who participated in Chile could not continue –because they exceeded the age limit– and now we have been rearming the group, which is increasingly united, ”she explained to Claw.

In sports they are working “from less to more”. “We have very complete players and we play friendlies against top teams with positive results for us from that point of view,” she added.

Photo of the article'The junior women's hockey team travels to a World Cup for the first time'

Photo: Ernesto Ryan

The challenge is to face the best in the world. The Cimarroncitas proved to be at the level in the Pan American, instance in which they only lost the final, after having drawn with Canada and Argentina, and defeating the United States.

The goalkeeper trusts his team because they are preparing “with a positive head, being realistic about what our strengths and weaknesses are, to defend our area more than ever and be the most efficient in attack and study each opponent to be able to attack their weak point ”.

Personally, Bate considers that he has already fulfilled a dream by having managed to qualify for this competition, for which they have been training since 2017.

“There were many experiences and that dream of taking a leap in hockey and showing that Uruguay is there for more, for big things, was always intact. It is a process and takes time. You have to work hard, the satisfaction of having achieved it is immense. It is for some the last training process, and I feel that what remains now is to enjoy, because everything has been left on the court so that Uruguay is as high as possible “, he concluded.

The 22 that are getting ready

Agustina Díaz, Agustina Martínez, Agustina Suárez, Carolina Curcio, Elisa Civetta, Federica Turiel, Guadalupe Fernández, Guillermina Borrazás, Josefina Mari, Lola Delafond, Lucia Dieste, Lucía Santucci, Lupe Curutchague, Magdalena Verga, Manuela Quiñones, Manuela Vidal, María Victoria Bate, Martina Rago, Paula Pérez, Pilar Oliveros, Rafaela Cánepa, Sol Myszka.

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The junior women’s hockey team travels to a World Cup for the first time

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