Selected to the U16 Canada’s NextGen Women’s program, local field hockey star Darcie Brohman took a trip to California in February with the squad for a training tour and test matches.
Brohman began playing field hockey with Goderich’s club team AOS in Grade 6 and immediately loved the competitiveness.
Two years later, Goderich District Collegiate Institute coach Ray Lewis suggested that she attend a Team Ontario tryout.
“I was so excited when I received the news that I had made Team Ontario,” said Brohman.
“I became even more ecstatic when I was selected for the Canadian NextGEn program at Nationals in Calgary.”
A field hockey player for only three years, Brohman (Grade 9 at GDCI) has made great strides in developing her game and is being noticed as a promising national-level athlete.
She was watched by the national team organization at Nationals in Calgary in July 2019, and invited to the NextGen program.
A program designed to develop and train Canada’s future national team, going on training tours expose young athletes to international competition.
After months of intense training, Brohman received the news she had been selected along with five NextGen athletes from Ontario to represent Canada.
Nearly 70 athletes made the trip from three groups – the U18, U16 and U21 squads – along with coaches and staff rom Field Hockey Canada.
All three groups visited the Chula Vista High Performance training centre and Brohman, along with the U16 squad, trained and played three games against Team USA.
“I have never felt such an immense honour and was very excited to represent Canada,” she said.
Training hard and a love for the game has put Brohman at the national level, yet the young and promising athlete does not forget her local cheering squad.
Brohman says her biggest inspirations are Lewis, who she says has been an outstanding coach, and her parents, who have been dedicated to getting her to training sessions and supporting her.
“I will always be thankful for Ray Lewis as he was the one who got me started and taught me so much about the sport. He has helped me open doors to so many opportunities,” said Brohman.
“My parents have always supported me. I would never have wanted to experience this with anyone else and I couldn’t have asked for more dedicated and loving parents.”
Another purpose to visit California and the Olympic training grounds in Chula was to provide a training camp environment with heavy load and game opportunities for the young athletes.
Citing that the experience in California was “surreal”, Brohman said it was humbling to play with such a group of talented field hockey players.
“A highlight of the experience was playing at such a high level with some phenomenal players, as well as having the chance to represent Canada,” she said.
Being selected and competing with the U16 national squad is quite an accomplishment for the 14-year-old, yet after the experience in California Brohman understands she must grow as an athlete.
While in California she had the opportunity to watch the U21 team, which allowed her to reflect on her own goals with field hockey and her own experiences.
“I am still in shock that I was selected to play on Canada’s U16 team for the Chula Vista tour as this all happened very quickly for me,” said Brohman.
“It’s been such a surreal and amazing learning experience. I think my biggest take away from the experience is how high level the sport really becomes and how much I still have left to grow.”
An honour to be selected to represent Canada, a growing experience to play at such a high level, Brohman admits playing for her country is something she isn’t done with.
Travelling to California with the U16 squad opened her eyes to international field hockey and from this experience, the young athlete admits she is even more inspired to grow as a player.
This summer Brohman will attend Nationals again with Team Ontario’s U15 team in Toronto and also aims to compete in the Ontario Summer Games in London.
“Some of my future goals are to play with Team Canada in the Junior World Cup in a few years and in the Olympics,” she said.
Brohman will continue to train with the AOS field hockey team in Goderich and with a club in Brampton, with the goal to give back to the sport by volunteering with the U12 team and other AOS development teams this summer.