After countless hours of training and unwavering persistence, the 27 women on the U.S. field hockey national squad was narrowed down to the 16 athletes that will represent the United States at the Pan American Games.
The Pan American Games, held Oct. 19-28 in Guadalajara, Mexico, are the first opportunity to qualify for the 2012 London Olympics in field hockey and only the gold medalist qualifies for the Games.
"The goal of this team is clear ... to win the Pan American Games," head coach Lee Bodimeade said, according to USA Field Hockey.
"It will take the intensity and support of the entire squad to lift us to this level, both on and off the training field. It will be tough and difficult, but those are the exact reasons why we choose to attack this challenge. I look forward to the beginning of the final stage of preparation."
Olympians Kayla Bashore-Smedley, Lauren Crandall, Rachel Dawson, Katelyn Falgowski, Caroline Nichols and Amy Tran-Swensen will be joined by rookie Michelle Cesan and 2010 sportswoman of the year Katie O'Donnell.
The biggest challenge to the United States will come from Canada, Chile and, especially the world's No. 1 ranked team, Argentina. The United States has finished second to Argentina in five of the past six Pan American tournaments.
Should the Americans not win gold in Mexico, they can attend one of three events held in Belgium, India or Japan in 2012 in a final attempt to clinch one of the 12 Olympic spots.