Emily excited by England excursion
PUBLISHED: 17:57 05 May 2011
Valencia trip was amazing says Defroand
Emily Defroand called the recent trip to Spain with England under-18s the ‘best experience’ of her career to date.
Coopers pupil Defroand played in a Four Nations tournament in Valencia, where England missed out on a bronze medal in a penalty shoot-out.
And she is determined to keep working hard to earn selection for games against Belgium later this summer.
“The Four Nations tournament was amazing. It was the best experience I’ve had with my hockey so far,” she said.
“The whole atmosphere of the event was really professional and gave us all a real insight of what a senior international tournament would be like.
“Starting the first game against Holland, the eventual winners, was probably the highlight of my tournament, but just being involved and being part of the squad was a really special feeling.”
Defroand is in her first year in this age group, having represented the under-16s last season, and is still getting used to being an England player.
“I don’t see myself as an international player as I pay with, and against, lots of talented players both at school and with my club [Old Loughts].
“But it is obviously such an honour to be involved with your national team and I’m really thrilled with my achievements so far.”
Balancing training with school work is difficult, but Defroand has the suport of Coopers, adding: “I’ve been hugely fortunate to be supported by Coopers and being a member of their STARS squad, introduced by Mr Duncan, has helped me organise my A Level studies around my hockey commitments.
“STARS gives me and the school’s other high-level performers the opportunity to receive regular mentoring sessions to discuss any difficulties we may be having and arrangements can then be made to modify coursework and homework deadlines to help relieve the pressures.”
If all goes to plan, Defroand will certainly be facing a busy summer on the hockey front.
But it something she clearly relishes, adding: “The under-18 programme is designed to train, assess and develop players and the coaches and management have stated the Belgium series, at the end of June, are to be used primarily for players, such as myself, in the under-18 squad a year early.
“If selected, the games will definitely be a challenge but my ultimate goal now is to continue to be part of the training squad, work hard on my game and hope I get the chance to be selected for the Belgium matches, then a series against Germany in early July, followed a week later by the European Championships in Holland.”
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