The 2023 Hockey5s Pan American Cup came to an end yesterday in Kingston, Jamaica as USA won the gold medal, and along with Uruguay and Paraguay, qualified for the inaugural FIH Hockey5s World Cup Oman 2024 in the women’s competition. USA also took gold in the men’s competition and were joined by Trinidad & Tobago and Jamaica in qualifying for the World Cup.
In the women’s competition USA were the dominant team in Pool A, winning all 4 of their pool matches, with Paraguay following closely behind with 3 wins. In Pool B Uruguay topped the table with 3 wins from their 3 matches, followed by Trinidad & Tobago in second place.
USA came out winners in the first semi-final, but it was a closely fought encounter with Trinidad & Tobago causing them problems till the very end. Two goals by Linnea Gonzalez were the difference as USA won the contest 2-1. Uruguay were much more comfortable in their semi-final winning 5-0 against Paraguay.
The finals was another nail-biter as USA and Uruguay traded blows all the way through the match and the regulation time ended with the teams locked at 5-5. The shoot-outs saw USA forwards execute their plans to perfection as they scored all three of their attempts to win 3-1. Paraguay finished in third position, defeating Trinidad & Tobago in the bronze medal match, to join USA and Uruguay in qualifying for the FIH Hockey5s World Cup 2024.
Rachel Dawson, head coach of USA, speaking after her team's victory in the final, said: "This has been an incredible tournament for us. There were a lot of ups and downs, but we have persevered. Even in the finals we had to face the adversity from a tough opponent, but this team is built on its resilience and joy in a brand new competition. We are proud to be the inaugural champions of Pan America and we look forward to the World Cup."
In the men’s competition USA and Trinidad & Tobago topped Pool A and B respectively, with a perfect record of 3 wins in 3, foreshadowing the spectacular match the two would go on to play in the finals. Jamaica and Paraguay finished behind USA and Trinidad & Tobago in the pool stages respectively.
The semi-finals were heavily one-sided affairs with USA defeating Paraguay 5-1 in the first, before Trinidad & Tobago dispatched Jamaica by a 9-2 margin to seal their spot in the final.
The finals saw end-to-end action as twice Trinidad & Tobago took the lead, but twice USA managed to find an equaliser. At the end of regulation time, the teams could not be separated, and the match headed into a shoot-out where the USA men emulated their women’s teams victory earlier, winning 3-2 and earning the gold medal. Jamaica cruised to a 5-2 win in the bronze medal match against Paraguay to finish third and seal World Cup qualification.
Hari, head coach of the USA men's team, speaking after the finals, said: "It was a fantastic tournament, very well organised. For the young players on our team to be a part of this new format and win the inaugural championship is great. We will take a lot of learnings from here but getting to do that with a win is the best feeling. We will improve when we come to the World Cup and we are really looking forward to it."
The inaugural edition of the FIH Hockey5s World Cup 2024 will be played in Muscat, Oman from 24-31 January 2024, with 16 teams competing in both men’s and women’s tournaments.
In the men’s competition Netherlands, Poland and Switzerland from Europe, and Egypt, Kenya and Nigeria from Africa have qualified for the World Cup, alongside hosts Oman. USA, Trinidad & Tobago and Jamaica are the three qualifiers from Pan America. Three teams from Oceania, and Asia will also qualify for the World Cup later in the year.
In the women’s competition Namibia, South Africa and Zambia from Africa have qualified for the World Cup, alongside hosts Oman. USA, Uruguay and Paraguay have now qualified from Pan America. Three teams from Europe, Oceania, and Asia will also qualify for the World Cup later this year.