Field Hockey Alum Swaps UConn Blue for Irish Green

Former UConn standout Roisin Upton '16 (ED) swings at the ball during a game against Hong Kong in South Africa in January. Since graduating, Upton traded her UConn blue jersey for the green of the Irish National Team.
Former UConn standout Roisin Upton '16 (ED) swings at the ball during a game against Hong Kong in South Africa in January. Since graduating, Upton traded her UConn blue jersey for the green of the Irish National Team.

SHARELINES

Former Husky field hockey standout Roisin Upton ’16 (ED) has traded her UConn blue jersey for the green of the Irish National Field Hockey Team.

Since she began playing field hockey in her hometown of Limerick, she had always dreamed of playing for the ‘Green Army.’ And now she is living her dream.

This winter, she is coming off her first big international tournament as a member of the Irish team. Ireland won the World League 2 tournament in Malaysia in January, earning its spot in World League 3 and inching closer to a bid in the 2018 World Cup. With Upton onboard, the team is ready to make a run.

“It’s a great feeling, getting to put on a green jersey,” says Upton. “I got a warm welcome into the speed and intensity of the international game in January, and it was a great start to a huge year for us as a squad.”

Upton scored a hat trick against Singapore in the World League 2 quarterfinals, as part of a 10-0 win for Ireland. She also scored a goal against Hong Kong in pool play, her first international goal.

The Irish team has a busy stretch coming, with World League 3 looming in July. But even before that, Upton will be able to gain more international playing experience.

“We’re gearing up for World League 3 in South Africa in July,” she says, “but we also have a couple of series in the coming weeks in England, Germany – and in May, the U.S. – in preparation for the World Cup qualifier.”

Upton’s club team, Cork Harlequins, is also nearing the end of its season with each team looking for a spot in the final four weekend.

A two-time First Team All-American at UConn, Upton is used to a hectic playing schedule. “UConn gave me an incredibly unique experience,” she says. “At UConn, you’re treated as close to a professional athlete as a hockey player will ever be. Our coaches Nancy, Paul, and Cheri enhanced my work ethic and understanding of the game. I left UConn having gained so much.”

Nancy Stevens is the Huskies’ head coach for field hockey; Paul Caddy is the associate head coach, and Cheri Schulz is the assistant coach.

During her time at UConn, Upton helped the Huskies win national championships in 2013 and 2014 – the third and fourth in program history (they previously won the championship in 1981 and 1985).

UConn also helped prepare the two-time Big East Defensive Player of the Year for life off the field, which she is planning out carefully.

“Hockey in Ireland is not full-time, so at the moment, I’m working for my brother with his Analytic Design company,” Upton says. “And I’ll be applying for master’s programs in the coming months. All of the girls on the squad juggle some mix of full-time jobs, college work, and hockey.”

With a full plate of hockey, work, and graduate school applications, Upton has a busy spring and summer schedule coming up – and she wouldn’t have it any other way, as she continues to live her dream.