CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Virginia field hockey assistant coach Rachel Dawson has been appointed the head coach of the U.S. Women’s National Development Team, as announced today (Jan. 31) by USA Field Hockey.
Dawson served last year as the squad’s assistant coach, but has been promoted to head coach for the 2020 season. Dawson’s duties with the US Women’s National Development team will be in addition to her coaching duties as an assistant on head coach Michele Madison’s Virginia team. Madison’s other assistant coach, Ole Keusgen, is also a head coach in the USA Field Hockey development pipeline, leading the 2020 US RISE junior national team.
The U.S. Women’s National Development Team accounts for the transitional phase between the U-21 USWNT and the senior USWNT. Several of the trial attendees recently completed their final college season and are no longer permitted to be on the junior team due to age restrictions.
“I am very thankful to USA Field Hockey and the Junior High Performance program for the opportunity to continue serving the U.S. Women’s Development Team in the role of head coach,” said Dawson. “Over the past few years, a great foundation has been built by the collective work of Marc Hardy, Jun Kentwell, Roz Ellis and Mark Atherton as well as the members of the team. The post-collegiate segment is critical to USA Field Hockey’s mission of succeeding internationally. We need to keep talented athletes in the game by continuing to provide training opportunities and exposure to high-level international competition.”
“In my experience on Team USA, the strength of the USWNT program isn’t in who is named to the group, but who is left out of the group,” continued Dawson. “The role of the Development Team is to expand competition for the USWNT and prepare athletes for a seamless transition to international competition.”
Dawson was named assistant coach of the U.S. Women’s National Development Team in July 2019. She also currently serves as assistant coach at the University of Virginia. She retired from the USWNT in 2016, after representing at the Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Olympic Games, and helped lead USA to a fifth-place showing at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Dawson competed in 298 international caps with Team USA and won five golds in international competitions, including at the 2011 and 2015 Pan American Games. She also helped USA to a bronze medal at the 2016 Champions Trophy in London.
Dawson graduated with distinction from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2007. She earned the 2007 Honda Award as the National Player of the Year for field hockey and was selected as one of the five finalists for the Honda-Broderick Cup as the nation’s top collegiate female athlete. With 19 goals that season, the midfielder was the top scorer for the No. 1 offensive team in the nation while also being named the 2007 Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Defensive Player of the Year and 2007 ACC Tournament MVP.
Earlier this month the Junior High Performance staff confirmed the roster for the 2020 U.S. Women’s National Development Team. The team will train in Berkeley, Calif. from February 28 to March 2 before heading to the East Coast to train from March 27 to 29 in Chapel Hill and Durham, N.C. Their first international competition of the year is scheduled from April 16 to 22 when the team will tour in Scotland. Senior striker Erin Shanahan (Pasadena, Md.) and former goalkeeper Carrera Lucas are both members of the squad.