June 8, 2013
Team USA is undergoing its final preparations for the World League Semi-Final at Rutgers University and is set to depart for London Saturday, June 15. The U.S. will aim to qualify for the 2014 World Cup, an event they missed out on in 2010 after suffering a 3-1 loss to Korea in the finals of their World Cup qualifying event. The U.S. finished 6th at the 2006 World Cup in Madrid, Spain.
Witmer went with the U.S. team for a series in Brazil in March and was officially named to the squad earlier this month. O'Donnell has earned 133 caps with the U.S. National Team over the last few years and competed in the 2012 London Olympics.
The U.S. has been placed in Pool A, along with No. 2 Argentina, No. 7 China, and No. 17 Italy. Pool B is made up of No. 4 England, No. 6 Australia, No. 11 South Africa, and No. 15 Spain. Team USA will open their World Cup qualifying campaign against Pan American rivals and 2012 Olympic silver medalists, Argentina, on June 22. Next up, the U.S. faces Italy on June 23 and China on June 25, with the quarterfinals slated for June 27, semi-finals scheduled for June 29 and the finals on June 30.
"We will aim to finish as high as possible, with the immediate challenge of qualifying for the World Cup," said USA head coach Craig Parnham. "Our focus will be a game by game approach. The crucial game will be the quarterfinal which will determine whether a team progresses through to the top four places."
Beginning next Thursday, June 13, the first World League Semi-Final will commence in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. That World League Semi-Final will feature Korea, Japan, Chile, New Zealand, Germany, India, Belgium and host The Netherlands.
The top four teams from both World League Semi-Final events will advance to the eight-team World League Finals in San Miguel de Tucumán, Argentina in December.
The U.S. qualified for the World League Semi-Final after a successful World League Round 2 campaign in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in early March. Team USA finished with a near-perfect record, defeating Brazil, Uruguay, Chile and Trinidad and Tobago and drawing Scotland in regulation.
The International Hockey Federation will live stream both World League Semi-Final events on the FIH YouTube channel.