The Real Deal: Adding to Her Legacy
By: Mandy Housenick
GoLeopards.com Featured Columnist
USA Field Hockey head coach Janneke Schopman didn’t have time for a formal sit-down. She was late for a meeting and a flight.
Amanda Magadan ’17, former Lafayette field hockey standout, recalled how the meeting went that would change the course of her immediate future.
“(Schopman) said, ‘I’m going to cut right to the chase. I’m going to offer you a spot on the national team.’”
That was in late November 2016, after the Lafayette season the Junior World Cup. Schopman was Magadan’s U-21 junior team coach before being promoted to the national team. She obviously liked what she saw from the Leopard graduate.
Magadan, a psychology and economics major, was thinking about graduate school after Lafayette. The Randolph, N.J., resident didn’t have time to think about her decision last November. She had to rely on her instincts.
“I was shocked at that moment,” she said. “That wasn’t what I was expecting the meeting to be about. To some extent, I
didn’t think I was capable of that … like ‘Can I actually do this and be successful?’”
“I had to kind of take a step back and make sure it was what I wanted and not what my parents wanted or what other people wanted of me, and that it was my decision and not someone else’s to make.”
Magadan accepted, and has been living a blur of a senior season since.
After returning to College Hill, the midfielder trained with Lafayette’s team a couple times a week, worked with Leopards Director of Strength and Conditioning Steve Plunkett and traveled plenty to work out with the national team, many of whom were several years older than Magadan.
"I’m going to cut right to the chase. I’m going to offer you a spot on the national team."
- USA Field Hockey Head Coach Janneke Schopman.
“At the beginning of February, I got to travel to California where the national team was training,” she said. “It was a little scary. I had never met them. Some of them are older and a lot stronger. It definitely was an intimidating atmosphere at first.”
“But the girls were friendly. They were in the middle of their hardest lift and conditioning week and they just said, ‘OK, you’re doing this.’ I made it through.”
This spring, Magadan made the 90-minute ride to the U.S. national team’s training facility, Spooky Nook, in Lancaster on Mondays and Fridays to work out with her new teammates.
Magadan broke the news to her mother while the two were outside a Chilean airport bathroom awaiting a flight back from a tournament with the U.S junior national team. She texted her boyfriend, but the airport WiFi was so bad that the message didn’t go through.
Magadan won’t have long to celebrate her college graduation. She has moved in with two U.S. national teammates in Lancaster. She returns to Lancaster today to begin her life as an Olympic hopeful.
Much of her time this summer will be dedicated to training, but there is the expectation come the fall that the training schedule will allow players to have part-time jobs.
Magadan, who led Lafayette in goals (8) and points (16), said she will be looking to get her real estate’s license.
Though it is every U.S. team member’s goal to become an Olympian, Magadan understands there are steps she needs to take in order for that to become a reality.
“I definitely am trying to get stronger to compensate for my size,” she said. “I’m 5-foot-1 on a good day. It’s not that I don’t think I’m strong, but to keep up with those girls and even for the purposes of stamina and staying fit, it is important for me.”
Magadan is unlike many of her U.S. national teammates in that she was never on the path to this level. She started playing in ninth grade as a social outlet and to stay in shape for softball, the sport she thought she’d be concentrating on in college.
Lafayette coach Jennifer Stone thinks that has worked to Magadan’s advantage.
“There are a lot of players who were 12, 13, 14, and they were going through the programming and continuing to get selected for this team and that team," Stone said. "(Magadan) was never part of that. I think, to a certain extent, there is still a lot of excitement for her, and I think that is really healthy and it allows her to continue to grow.”
“She’s in an environment where things are still new and fun.”
“I’m happy for her. I don’t know if I have the words to really describe that, to be completely honest. She is a coach’s dream and she is such a special, special individual.”
- Head Coach Jennifer Stone '04
Magadan’s first tournament with the U.S. national team is May 24-27, when Ireland comes to The Nook. The World League tournament is July 8-23, in Johannesburg, South Africa, followed by the Pan American Cup from Aug. 4-13, in Lancaster.
There are no guarantees that Magadan will be playing in those tournaments. There currently are 26 women on the U.S. national team roster. Usually, 18 players are selected for these events.
“I think she has a good attitude and does not put a lot of pressure on herself,” Stone said. “I think she has a very good understanding of reality. She will be one of the newer players to the senior program.”
“She understands she has to work her way up and that is one of the many reasons that she has been so successfull. She has an understanding that nothing is going to be given to her and she has to work hard for every single thing she gets.”
Magadan, a Third-Team All-American as a senior, remains realistic despite all she’s accomplished in a short period of time in the sport.
“I don’t have any expectations going forward,” she said. “I still have to pinch myself. It’s weird because I never really had the dream to play on the national team for field hockey. As a kid, I did dream about that for softball.”
“It’s surreal, but in a different way. It’s like, ‘Wow, you did this and you didn’t even have it as a goal.’”
Stone cannot say enough about how Magadan’s career turned out at Lafayette.
“I’m happy for her,” she said. “I don’t know if I have the words to really describe that, to be completely honest. She is a coach’s dream and she is such a special, special individual.”
“I think the thing that makes me the most proud is how she handled herself through the process and how she has worked her way through everything she’s gotten, with the utmost character for herself, the college, our team.”
“I get to say that I coached a national player. I smile inside.”