Mark Quillen will be leading the United States U20 Junior team in Sheffield. Mark has been preparing for this event for over a year. This weekend the team is heading to New Jersey for their final preparation camp before heading off to the United Kingdom in pursuit of the gold medal. Mark shares his thoughts as the team enters final preparations.
U20 Head Coach Mark Quillen
The tournament is just a week away. How would you describe your emotions these past weeks?
Honored & excited to represent Team USA!
It’s been a very long process getting to this point. How satisfied are you with the way it has all come together?
We have players from different parts of the country. We have been able to participate in 3 tournaments & 1 camp. For the past 6 weeks we as a whole (U20, U18 & U16) have been practicing twice a week. The dedication and commitment from the players & parents to attend as many of the events has been a tremendous positive. I feel we have a great blend of talent that compliments each other. This group of players has grown into a team. From competing in the 1st & 2nd Tournament to winning it all in the 3rd.
Certainly every game is important when you need to win them all to get the Gold Medal. That said, you open up against Canada, the team the US beat to win Bronze in 2014. Talk about this matchup and the importance of starting strong.
This one is most important since it will set the tone for the entire tournament. In all ball hockey tournaments there has always been a big rivalry between Canada and the US.
What are some of the main messages you’ve been trying to get through to the players to get them ready for the tournament?
Attitude, Commitment, Mindset & Team Unity.
There’s a large contingent and parents, family, and friends heading to the UK to support the teams. How important is that for the team to have fans there rooting them on? What does it mean to you as the Head Coach?
I am positive they are thankful and appreciative of all the support their parents & family have given through the years. They will be proud to represent their Country & communities. As with any competition it is always a great feeling to have the support. It is exhilarating to hear the roar of the crowd. What does it mean to you as the Head Coach? It will be a thrill to see the Red, White & Blue displayed so prominently.
Who do you want to thank for their help in this journey?
First and foremost to my FAMILY for the support through many seasons of hockey. To SCOTT & JOE for giving me the privilege and honor to represent TEAM USA. To the many COACHES who I have learned from and have assisted in my years of coaching. To all the PARENTS for giving me the honor of coaching their children. And most importantly to all the PLAYERS who have given me years of fun & enjoyable memories.