"Being Relentless & Never Giving Up"

by USA Field Hockey

Content Courtesy of FIH


Ahead of the 9th edition of the FIH Hockey Women’s Junior World Cup taking place in South Africa (April 1-12), we’re conducting a series of exclusive interviews with the participating teams. Today: Kayla Blas (USA).



Kayla, what can you tell about your feelings of playing a World Cup soon?
I’m really excited! It’s been a really big opportunity that all of my teammates and I have been looking forward to, especially after December. We were all on our way down to a training camp, happy to go. So, it’s been a past couple of months of ‘when are we going to be able to go?’. So, we’re really excited to go and get down there!
Is it the first time that your team will be playing on another continent?
For this group in particular, it will be our first time. There have been a couple of junior teams in the past going to Germany or Ireland, for example. A couple of us have competed together on those international tours. But this is the first time as an entire squad that we’re going to another continent to play. And it is my first time in South Africa.
What are your expectations as a team for the tournament?
I think really growing, developing and establishing who we are as the United States. Something we’ve been working on, especially post the Junior Pan Am, is defining our playing style and who we are. We obviously want to be relentless on the ball. We’re a quick and fast team. So I think that what we’re really looking forward to hopefully displaying at the Junior World Cup is our speed, our agility but also being relentless and never giving up on any play.
The USA have played almost every edition of the FIH Hockey Women’s Junior World Cup (7 out of 8 editions) without getting onto the podium so far. Is that an objective, or even an extra motivation for you?
Definitely! This group in particular that I’ve been training with since I was little has always been really competitive. Even from our 19’s, 17’s level, we had competed with Germany which was really exciting for us at the time! No team had ever really given them a run at it before and we actually won a match against them when I was at under 19 [level]. So that is something that is at the back of our mind but creeping up to the forefront: “how well can we really do?”. And I think we definitely have the talents and skills to be up there on the podium at the end of the competition. So, it’s just putting on our finishing touches on and having the pieces click when the time is right.
How will you be preparing now?
We’ve had a couple of camps since December. We are also at all sorts of universities so our main NCAA season happened in the fall but now we are gearing up towards the spring season so we’re playing some more games. But a lot if has been ‘how can we, once we’re at school, start preparing and continue to train to perform at an elite level?’. And we do that at camps. We’ve been to a couple of week-long ones, which has been tough as we’ve had to miss school but it’s been really fun to be able to go out and play some hockey and kind of break up the school work.