WIU Employee Named to U.S. World Cup Field Hockey Team

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When Parampal Singh was just 6 years old, he fell in love with the sport of field hockey while growing up in India. Over the years, he played the sport at the high school, college and university levels, continuing to play with regional club teams and in tournaments during his adult years.

Now, in his 50s, Singh, the sports equipment supervisor in Western Illinois University’s Brophy Hall, represented the United States as a member of the U.S. Men’s 55 and older Field Hockey Team at the World Cup games in Cape Town, South Africa. During the first two weeks in October, Singh joined his 17 teammates from across the nation to compete against teams from 12 countries.

Singh said field hockey is more commonly played on the east and west coasts of the United States, making him the only team member from the Midwest.

“In March, I went to tryouts in Phoenix,” said Singh. “After I was chosen for the team, we had two camps to prep for the World Cup.”

The journey to a World Cup position began when coaches encouraged Singh to try out for the team. He has been playing with club teams and in tournaments with teams from Chicago, and from Milwaukee, WI.

There were 160 players who attended the Arizona tryouts, before the field was narrowed to 18 World Cup team members.

While playing in South Africa, Singh said he enjoyed observing the culture and the sites in a country that includes both mountains and fine white sand beaches.

At the close of the tournament, the United States team finished 10th out of 12 teams. Singh said the teams from countries including England, Germany, the Netherlands, Malaysia, France, Ireland and Argentina, were all top-ranked teams, with players who had previously played at the Olympic and World Cup levels.

“We had expectations to get to the final four,” said Singh. “But I got to experience playing at the highest level. There was a sense of pride just to be selected.”

Prior to leaving for South Africa, Singh practiced his skills on WIU’s Hanson Field/Brophy Gym. He also practiced with members of the field hockey team at Northwestern, in Evanston, IL.

Singh said being a member of the U.S. World Cup team was a dream come true. In 1988, Singh had a dream to play at the national level, when he suffered a setback, tearing the ACL in his left knee.

For Singh, playing the sport was part of his family history growing up.

“My father played field hockey, and that was a big motivation for me; I was inspired by him,” said Singh. “I was looking to further my passion for field hockey in the United States. My parents always encouraged me and supported me to pursue my passion.”

When Singh returned to Macomb from South Africa, he did so with lots of new friends and connections he made while he was part of the team. He said he appreciates the support WIU and its Department of Kinesiology gave him along the way, which allowed him to pursue his passion.

For more information about the U.S. Field Hockey Team Singh was a part of, visit teamusa.org/USA-Field-Hockey.

***Courtesy of Western Illinois University***

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