Team England Women’s National Team Director, Phil Collier, has named his 18-player squad for the 2017 FIL Rathbones Women’s Lacrosse World Cup in July.
The team will represent their country in a home World Cup for the first time since 2001 when the tournament gets underway at Surrey Sports Park.
A 44-player training pool was reduced to 26-strong World Cup Training Squad in January ahead of this selection and now the 18 selected will go forward represent Team England in July.
Phil Collier signalled that he believes the selection process has raised the standards of the team and contributed to a squad that can now truly compete with the world’s top teams.
He said: “When I took on the role of Team Director three years ago, I said that I wanted to build a squad of around 26 players that were all capable of playing for England at the highest levels of the sport. Well prepared physically and technically, comfortable with our game plan and within the team environment.”
“The aim was to have lots of depth and different options in each position, giving us the flexibility to choose from a range of tactical options built around the strengths of our players.
The World Cup Training team played a series of games on tour in North Carolina in February and the squad were given a final chance to impress in last weekend’s International Test against Japan where England won 16-6.
“This approach was also designed to help us to raise standards across the squad, by creating genuine competition for places. We feel that recent results against Australia, Canada and the USA have shown that we are now able to compete with the best teams in the world.”
Three players, Jenny Simpson, Megan Whittle and Olivia Hompe, will represent England for the first time at a major tournament, while Emma Adams, who captained Durham University to the BUCS Women’s Championship title on Wednesday, will make her first tournament appearance at senior level after being a part of the 2015 U19 World Cup bronze-medal winning squad.
There is a good mix of youth and experience throughout Collier’s squad as eight players who represented England at the 2013 World Cup in Canada have again made the team for 2017.
And special mention should also go to midfielder, Lucy Lynch, who will play in her fourth consecutive World Cup, having made her first appearance in 2005 in Maryland, USA claiming a bronze medal.
The group will now meet for regular camps and training weekends over the coming months as well as aiming to retain their Home Internationals title in April.
Collier was also quick to highlight the strength of his alternates who have missed out this time around; a fact demonstrated by a number of European Championship winners and 3-time World Cup participant, Ali Smith, on the list.
“The final selection decisions we have had to make in order to choose 18 players from the 26, are probably the most difficult I’ve had to face in my coaching career.
“However, I think the potential of our World Cup team can be seen from the quality of the eight Alternates. All are very talented lacrosse players, who have worked exceptionally hard, been good squad members, and shown amazing commitment to the cause.”
The eight players who have not made the final 18 will also continue to work with the squad in the build-up to the World Cup and will remain as alternates should any last minute replacements be required.
The alternates will also be involved in the 2017 Rathbones Home Internationals taking place in Cardiff for which the squad lists can be found HERE
Collier added: “Many of them could have expected to be in the England team for previous World Cups. Standards are higher than they have ever been, and the team selected is starting from a very good position in terms of fitness, attitude, strategy and technique.”
“Our focus can now turn to the fine tuning of our playing strategies, based around the strengths of the players selected. We are really looking forward to this next stage of our journey as we continue our preparations to be the best team we can be for the 2017 World Cup.”
Team England will begin their 2017 Rathbones World Cup campaign against Wales in the World cup curtain-raiser on Wednesday 12 July. Tickets are now sale and can be purchased from www.2017worldlacrosse.com
Alternates: Lucy Grant, Sophie Whitehead, Asha Niven, Claire Faram, Ali Smith, Olivia Wimpenny, Olivia Higson, Sophie Morrill