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Umstead Named to National Field Hockey Team
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer

            By being named to the U.S. Women's National Field Hockey team, Casey Umstead has reached the pinnacle of her sport.

            "It's crazy to think I made it," said Umstead, a 2014 graduate of Upper Perkiomen High School.  "All my hard work has paid off.  I'm very happy and very 


            Umstead and Danielle Grega have been promoted from the U.S. National Developmental Team and will begin play with the senior team on Aug. 27, according to a release issued Monday by USA Field Hockey – the national governing body for the sport, based in Colorado Springs, Col.

"Casey and Danielle have shown glimpses of the potential they can have as a USWNT player in the Development Team and I am excited to see them start the journey with the team," said head coach Janneke Schopman in the prepared statement.

Umstead's ultimate goal is to represent the nation in the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. However, securing one of the final 18 spots will be challenging.

            "I don't want to get my hopes up," she said. "It will be really hard to get into the top 18."

            The defender, who helped lead Connecticut to a pair of NCAA championships, was named to the national team after helping the U.S. National Developmental Team to three wins and a tie during four games in the Chile Test Series in Santiago in May.

            "I thought I played well," said Umstead, 22, who grew up in Marlborough Township.

            In 2019, the team, based in Lancaster with players ranging in age from 20 to 30, will compete in the Hockey Pro League, made up of teams from the 10 top hockey counties in the world. According to Umstead, the Americans will play a home-and-home series against those teams. She hopes to be chosen for a trip to Japan in September. For the Olympics, the 28-player team will be reduced to 18 players.  

            "It's going to be hard for me to get accustomed to international play," Umstead said. "It will push me to become even better."

Jamie Warren, Upper Perkiomen's head field hockey coach, said she believes Umstead has the competitive nature necessary to compete at an international level and be selected for the Olympics. According to Warren, the player is living up to the potential she displayed in high school.

"I wouldn't put it past Casey to reach her ultimate goal if everything continues to fall in place," Warren said.  

            According to Umstead, her spot on the team is permanent until she retires or is released. She said US Field Hockey alerts those players three months in advance.

            Umstead said she and Grega – a Luzerne County native who attended Wyoming Valley West High School – plan on renting an apartment together in Lancaster, where the team is based. The players, who each receive a stipend, participate in two sessions of a combination of practice and weight training each week day and are off on Saturday and Sunday, according to Umstead.

            "It's very much like a job," she said. "She has the ability and drive to handle the additional pressure. She always seems to rise to the challenge in front of her."

            Umstead has been in the U.S. Field Hockey pipeline since her high school days. She competed on the national team's U17, U19 and U21 squads, as well as its developmental team.

In November, Umstead played a pivotal role in the Huskies' second national title in four years. She anchored the defense that posted 12 shutouts during an undefeated 23-game season and allowed just 16 goals.

            "As a defender, you've got to be able to see the whole field and take the best path to the ball," Umstead said late last year. 

She received multiple post-season honors following her senior season, including First Team All-American, All-Mideast Region First Team NCAA All-Tournament Team, the Big East Defensive Player of the Year and All-Big East First Team. In 93 career games with Connecticut, Umstead finished with 79 goals and 36 assists.





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