Photos: Jackie Finlan
When the USA Women’s National Team (WNT) named its touring squad for the November test series, there wasn’t an unfamiliar name among them (read more) – which is significant considering that 21 new players could be capped. The majority of newcomers have been playing since high school, and today are either collegiate or WPL standouts who have been working in the USA system.
Evan Hoese (pronounced “hay-zee”) picked up the game at Harvard, and in 2011, led the team to a DII college national championship. The flyhalf was in the USA age-grade system and after graduation transitioned to Beantown and the Women’s Premier League (WPL). Hoese then started attending senior camps in 2013.
“In 2014, I was in the Top 50 competition for the World Cup, and then I ended up getting a pretty serious knee injury,” Hoese retraced steps to the Eagle pool. “It took me about a year-and-a-half to come back from that, and then I had a re-injury, so I’ve just been coaching. So this is my first real WPL season back since then.”
Hoese most recently served as Berkeley’s DII head coach, and then returned to the pitch this past summer. The 7s co-captain, who shared duties with Christina Ramos, looked very much back to form and was the perpetual spark in Berkeley’s sixth-place finish at club 7s nationals.
Berkeley’s WPL team has many weapons, and they were all on display Saturday against Chicago North Shore. The All Blues made good use of their possession and really stretched the pitch with fast phases. Hoese was in the middle of it all, playing flyhalf, instead of preferred center, for the second week in a row.
“Our coach [Theo Bennett] likes moving people around. … [We’re] definitely trying some new people out in different positions, like moving around our No. 8, testing different people at wing,” Hoese said. “I feel like we’re probably going to keep doing that all the way up until nationals.”
Hoese is punishing, all hard points. With ball in hand, the All Blue never goes down easily and always works to get the hands free commit extra defenders. The inside back is the surest of tacklers and fast over the ball, and produced at least one crucial turnover that stamped out one of North Shore’s rallies. And on Saturday, Hoese injected creativity onto the pitch, chip-kicking over the line and gathering them on the bounce. One turned into a pullaway try for Hoese, the other was followed by a pass to Sam Miller for the score.
Hoese was simply excited to get back to the pitch after such a lengthy rehab, but new USA head coach Rob Cain liked what he saw.
“That was amazing I never expected that,” Hoese said of being named to the touring squad the first season back. “I’m really excited about the new program and how they’re working with the WPL, club teams and colleges in a really cohesive way. And so I really appreciate the intentionality of the USA coaching staff. I’m excited to work with it and learn more about their structure and how they’re planning on playing.”
Hoese is one of 17 November tour members who is competing in the WPL, and so fans can preview the potential Eagles’ play through the Oct. 26-28 national championships:
Atlanta: Kaitlyn Broughton, Cortney Kuehl, Darian Lovelace, Megan RomBeantown: Stacey Bridges, Kimber Rozier
Berkeley: Katy Augustyn, Evan Hoese
Glendale: Gabby Cantorna, Melissa Finkelstein
New York: Misha Green, Sarah Levy, Alicia Washington, Carly Waters
ORSU: Rachel Johnson
San Diego: Megan Foster, Kate Zackary