'Little India' in USA Squad for Men's Junior World Cup
by USA Field Hockey
NEW DELHI – When the U.S. U-21 boys won the bronze medal at the Junior Pan American Championship, they didn’t just end their long wait to stand on an international podium, but also said a silent prayer – for the outside chance they earned to be on a flight to India for the Junior World Cup. Not that they wanted any team to withdraw, but in COVID times, you never know.
The story unfolded exactly that way.
COVID-related travel restrictions forced Australia and New Zealand to pull out of the tournament. The FIH sprung into action, and the next two best-placed teams were brought on board. The USA was one, and their neighbors Canada the other. Later, England too opted out for the same reasons, ad that vacant space was awarded to Poland.
“It was an amazing feeling. For a lot of kids growing up, that’s the dream, the Junior World Cup. Once we heard the news that we’re gonna go, that was a dream come true,” Jatin Sharma’s emotion of joy was easily discernible in his voice, when he answered TimesofIndia.com’s call the day before the team was to fly out of California.
Jatin Sharma, as the name suggested is an American hockey player of Indian origin. Along with Sharm, four others make up a ‘small India’ in the USA 18-member squad. Not to forget a familiar figure in the dug out – the Senior U.S. Men’s National Team Head Coach Harenda (Harry) Singh, who would be traveling with the junior squad to Bhubaneswar.
Apart from Sharma, the other Indian-origin players in the U.S. squad are Mehtab Grewal, Gurcharan Johal, Amrinderpal Singh and Shomik Chakraborty.