By Richard Bright
USA women’s Hockey have seen three retirements this week as a youthful squad was further realised ahead of Tokyo 2020.
After the recent Women’s World Cup, goalkeeper Jackie Briggs and captain Melissa Gonzalez announced their decisions to leave the programme, while midfielder Loren Shealy has also decided to retire.
Gonzalez and Briggs joined Team USA in 2010 and racked up 425 international caps. Both will now go into collegiate coaching.
Gonzalez, a two-time Olympian, said: “My father passed away my junior year of high school,” said Gonzalez. “I was contemplating soccer in college. However, when he passed soccer, being our sport, began to be too difficult for me to play.
“So my focus really turned to field hockey, especially because he was the first person who would said he believed if I worked hard I could be a part of Team USA.”
Her leadership skills saw USA finish fourth at the 2014 World Cup as they became a force on the women’s scene.
“Being a part of Team USA has been the one of the most rewarding, challenging, demanding most difficult things I’ve ever done,” added Gonzalez.
“It was the best and worst of times. But it taught me a lot about myself as a person. It helped challenge and grow my character.
“It taught me about hard work, resilience and being the best version of yourself even when you’ve been pushed to all physical and mental limits.
“I loved every one of my teammates and they have become family. It was an honor to wear the red, white and blue.”