Meet Erin Matson: Youngest USA Field Hockey Women’s Player Ever
HS Graduation Year: 2018 (grade 8)
School: Charles F. Patton Middle School / Unionville High School in Kennett Square in the fall
Club: WC Eagles
Position: Center Midfield
Tell us a little about your experience playing with the U.S. Indoor Team: I started playing for the U.S. Indoor Team three years ago. I was first selected to the U19 Indoor Squad in 2011 when I was 11 and then I was moved up to the Women’s National Indoor Team in March of 2013 after I turned 13 for the South America tour to Buenos Aires, Argentina. That was a very memorable trip for me not only because it was my first time to Argentina, but also because we really gelled as a team and beat Argentina in an intense match after losing to them by one goal and then tying them in previous matches. I received my first international cap in August of 2013 during the first CanAm Series that USA hosted in Feasterville. Coach Denise Zelenak and Coach Nicky Hitchens made our first cap very special by presenting us with a framed official scorecard from that event. I scored the first goal of that game so it is really cool to have a goal listed on that framed scorecard. I then traveled to Leipzig, Germany in January of this year to play in the Leipzig Cup. We flew through the night on New Year’s Eve but because of the time zone difference, we landed in time to count down and watch the ball drop in New York City streamed on someone’s cell phone so that was pretty memorable. I traveled to Toronto, Canada for the second CanAm Series in March to prepare for Pan Ams and then finally to Montevideo, Uruguay in April to play in the Indoor Pan American Cup where we took home the bronze medal in an exciting shoot out vs. Uruguay. That was my first international medal ever playing for USA so that will always be an extremely memorable trip for me. The experience has been absolutely amazing! I have traveled to so many places and experienced great international competition and so many different cultures thanks to Coach Denise, Coach Nicky and the U.S. Indoor Program.
Last year, at 13, you were the youngest member on the U.S. Team and the youngest player to ever play on a USA FH team. That’s incredible! Share your thoughts on playing with older teammates: I have been playing with older teammates ever since I was 7 when I started playing U12 club hockey. I attended my first National Futures Championship in Virginia Beach when I was 11 and my first National Hockey Festival with W C Eagles when I was 11, so I am definitely used to being the youngest on many different teams. Playing with older teammates is great in many different ways. The older players give me advice and push me to raise my game both mentally and physically. Watching and playing with the older players that I think are good leaders also helps me learn what I need to do to be a good leader and mentor to other players. Older teammates bring a whole different environment and level to the game that makes it more challenging and more enjoyable for me. They are also like big sisters to me and look out for me. I love the way teammates, older or younger, can push you to your limits and make you a better player, but that you can always count on them to also be there for you on and off the field.
Field hockey accomplishments: INDIVIDUAL — 2014: USA Women’s National Indoor Team, Big Apple Tournament (Women’s Indoor Division MVP), CanAm Series (Game MVP), Leipzig Cup (Germany); WC Eagles U18 New Zealand Tour Team Selection;#NoOffDays 30 Second Pulls Contest Winner; 2013-14: USA Women’s National Indoor Team Selection, CanAm Series; 2013: USA Women’s National Indoor Team, South America Tour, USA U17 Junior National Team Selection, USA Field Hockey Futures Elite Championship Selection, National Club Championships – High Scorer U14 (16 goals), U16 (8 goals), UVA Mini-Camp 1v1 and Aerial Ball Contest Champion; 2012-14: USA Field Hockey Futures Elite; 2012-13: USA Field Hockey Junior National Camp; 2012: USA Field Hockey Club Athlete of the Month (April); 2011-13: AAU Junior Olympics; 2011-12: USA Junior National Indoor Team Selection; 2011: University of Maryland Camp – All Star Team; 2009-14: USA Field Hockey Futures Program; 2009-10: University of Delaware Camp – U12 1v1 Champion (2009, 2010); TEAM — 2014: USA Women’s National Indoor Team – Indoor Pan American Cup Bronze Medal; 2013: UNC Camp – Camp Champs; 2012-14: NIT – 2014 U16 Pool A Champions, 2013 U16 Pool A Champions, 2012 U14 Pool K Champions; 2012-14: Disney Field Hockey Showcase – 2014 1st Place in U16 Division Top Flight (Donald), 2013 1st Place in U16 Division Top Flight (Goofy), 2012 1st Place in U16 Division Top Flight (Mickey); 2012-13: National Club Championships – 2013 U16 & U14 Champions, 2012 U14 Champions; 2012: Chinese National Youth Championships – W C Eagles U15 Silver Medal, Undefeated Middle School Season (10-0); 2011-13: National Hockey Festival – 2013 U16 Pool S Champions, 2012 U16 Pool T Champions, 2011 U16 Pool W Champions; 2011-12: USA Field Hockey National Futures Championship – 2012 U14 Bronze Medal (Calgary), 2011 U14 Gold Medal (Atlanta); 2011: Longstreth U12 Cup Champions
Best field hockey moment: It was really hard for me to pick one best field hockey moment so I am going to pick two – one with the USA Indoor Team and one with WC Eagles. My best field hockey moment with the USA Indoor Team was winning the bronze medal at the Pan American Cup in Uruguay a few weeks ago. I was the last player to go in the shootout after Susan Ciufo (she’s awesome!) scored for us and the score was tied. I was able to put mine in for the win and it was a very exciting moment for our team to come together in that final game to beat the very talented host country. My best field hockey moment with WC Eagles was probably winning the 2013 U16 National Club Championship in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Our team was extremely close and I just remember having so much fun winning the gold medal and enjoying the whole experience on and off the field. I still play with many of those same teammates, and every time we step on the field together, everyone just knows where to go and everything just clicks and feels right. I look forward to playing in the coming years with them and hopefully even longer after that!
Field hockey goals: I always have a lot of field hockey goals, both team and individual. Some of my short term goals are that I want to help my U16 WC Eagles team qualify for the 2014 NCC tournament and then win gold again. I would also like to be selected to Futures Elite Championships, Junior National Camp and the outdoor U17 Junior National Team again because all three have so many great players, great training with high intensity and great coaching. I also can’t wait to play field hockey for Unionville High School in the fall and I hope to make the Varsity team. Go Indians! My longer term goals include playing field hockey in college and winning National Championship(s), making the U.S. Women’s National Team and playing in the Olympics someday. A big goal of mine is to bring home a gold medal for my country.
Who has helped you along in your field hockey journey? The list of people who have helped me along my field hockey journey is astonishingly long considering the fact that I am only 14 years old, but there are a few people I would definitely like to highlight. First, I have to thank my mom, my dad, my grandfather and my brother for everything that they do for me. They make so many sacrifices so I can get to all of my practices and events and they make it possible for me to travel to so many great places in the U.S. and internationally. The amount of support I receive from my family is unbelievable! I also put a lot of miles on their cars, but they love field hockey too so they are okay with it! There have also been so many special coaches that have helped me and supported me since I started playing beginning with my Futures coaches, my FEC, JNC and national team coaches, so many college coaches at different camps and clinics. If you are reading this, you know who you are so thank you for helping me! I do want to mention Terri Lotter who is someone special that first noticed my skill and passion for the game when I was only five years old and helped me build confidence at a very young age. Coach Denise Zelenak and Coach Nicky Hitchens, my U.S. Indoor Coaches, are also two people that have helped me so much with my field hockey journey. They have extended so many great international opportunities to me and also have so much confidence in me especially in pressure situations. I am very grateful for all of their support over these past three years. Of course, I would like to mention my W C Eagles coaches, Jun and Richard Kentwell. They have taught me an immeasurable amount of skill and respect and ways to handle difficult situations. I can tell Jun anything on my mind, and it is very easy to just talk to her freely during field hockey or while just sitting around. Jun is like a second mother to me. Richard may look tough, but once you get to know him, he is a real sweetheart. Yes, they both push you to your limits and yes, they expect a lot from you, but without their expectations and style of coaching, I would not be where I am today. Finally, I would like to thank all of the teachers at my school for their support and help when I miss school for field hockey events and all of my friends and my teammates for their support. I would also like to thank all the people who have supported my teams and me through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. People who love the game as much as I do have shown their support, and I thank you for everything you have done for me so far! Keep it up!
Now, some fun Q&As to get to know you better! Favorite song to get you pumped up: As of right now, my favorite song is “Revolution (Vocal Mix)” by R3hab, NERVO & Ummet Ozcan, but by the time this article is posted it will probably be a different song. My parents think it is crazy when I say that a song is old after just two weeks, but I am always looking for the next best new release.
What are your pre-game rituals, if any? On the drive to whatever field hockey event I am going to, I always drink a full bottle of water to make sure I am hydrated and I listen to my music to get pumped up to play. Then, when I am about 15 minutes away, I start to get my shin guards, socks and shoes on so I am ready to play when I arrive.
What are you most looking forward to this summer? I’m most looking forward to my trip to New Zealand with WC Eagles! We are going for 16 days and we have matches scheduled in seven different cities, but we will have some time for sightseeing too. I think it is going to be great competition and one of the best places I have ever visited! I am really looking forward to spending time with some of my best friends and favorite coaches and playing great hockey in a beautiful country like New Zealand!
If you could change your position, what position would you want to play and why?(question posed by Emily Braunewell) I guess I would have to say I would be a forward. Since I am already an attacking midfielder, playing forward would allow me to be even closer to the net to score!
What is your question to pose to the next philafieldhockey.com featured athlete? Who is your favorite field hockey player and why?
See original article here: http://philafieldhockey.com/time-out-with-erin-matson-usa-indoor-natl-player-at-14/