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Hockey star Erin Matson declined a tryout for the 2024 Olympic team

Hockey star Erin Matson declined a tryout for the 2024 Olympic team

This article was written by a student writer from the Her Campus chapter in Maryland.

At 24 years old, Erin Matson has an incredibly impressive resume

Matson, nicknamed the “Michael Jordan of field hockey,” won four national titles in five seasons as a player at the University of North Carolina. The following season, as UNC’s head coach, she led the Tar Heels to ACC and NCAA titles and became the youngest championship-winning head coach in Division I history. With the 2024 Paris Olympics just around the corner, Matson appears to be a the obvious choice is Team USA. However, that is not added to her resume.

On April 4, Matson released a statement saying she was denied the opportunity to try out for the team despite meeting all eligibility requirements. It’s worth noting that she has been part of Team USA since she was 17.

The federation defended its decision in a statement a few days after Matson’s. They claimed that because Matson has not recently competed in a national or international game required for an evaluation, she does not meet the criteria for an invitation. However, as with many sports, it is quite common for hockey athletes to take a year off in the Olympic cycle.

“Why is US Field Hockey denying the greatest American player in history the opportunity to compete for a spot on the Olympic team?” UNC Board of Trustees Chairman John Preyer said, “Erin meets all criteria and is willing, able and ready to be in Charlotte on Sunday with the full support of her colleagues and team in Carolina.”

Team USA invited Matson to discuss playing for the 2026 and 2028 teams, but she declined, saying she didn’t want to take time and attention away from the competitors this summer.

The US women’s hockey team has not competed in the Olympics since 2016 and has not won a medal since 1984. It would be wise for the committee to focus on selecting the strongest possible squad, rather than just players fresh off the field. Only then can the sport of hockey make American headlines for its success, rather than its controversy.