Harendra aims to develop US men’s team by 2028 Games

Harendra Singh.  

For Harendra Singh, it has been inspiring to find the emotional connect between the people of the Indian community in the USA and hockey.

During his experience so far as the USA men’s head coach, Harendra has been delighted to see the US-based Indians’ enthusiasm for hockey.

“We won the 1932 Olympics gold under Dhyan Chand. The Indians over there remember that even today. When we won a medal in this Olympics, I think the way India celebrated it, the Indians over there celebrated similarly.

“That’s why they were up in the middle of the night (to watch India’s matches) and then used to Whatsapp me next morning about the match. I think that connection is still there,” Harendra, who is accompanying the USA side as a mentor in the ongoing men’s Junior World Cup here, told The Hindu.

In a country where women’s hockey is more famous, Harendra, who has been working with an aim to develop the USA men’s team by the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics, began his job by banking on their legacy.

“There were just three teams (1932), but the USA is also a bronze medallist of the Olympics. I went to see that legacy where they played (Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum). I called the maximum number of kids to that place for my first camp. I told them about their history.

“LA City will host the Olympics for a third time — 1932, 1984 and now 2028. We are preparing a project with that target in mind. We have appointed a lot of coaches, (drawn up) coaching patterns (specially the skills) and worked on improving grassroots hockey and imparting the skills.”

Harendra, a former India coach, listed his targets. “Short-term target was related to the JWC… USA has never played in a senior World Cup and that’s one of the short term targets. The long- term target is to qualify for the Paris Olympics because when you qualify for the Olympics, your funding, mileage and sponsorship increases.”

Closing the gap

On the current junior team, which suffered some big losses, Harendra said: “It’s not that USA hockey will do wonders in six months, but definitely we can close the gap. As a mentor I tell them how to close the gap. We will try to prepare the team for 2028. We would like to give them a pathway.”

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Printable version | Jan 24, 2022 12:41:52 PM |

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