The first foreign athletic scholarship student at KLU, Jack Heldens, who plays on the U.S. national field hockey team, just missed making it into the final at the Pan American Cup and did not qualify for the FIH World Cup next year in India.
Under trainer Harendra (Harry) Singh, the U.S. team took fourth place at the Pan American Cup, a respectable success for a team previously under the radar in the international hockey scene. For the new era with big goals, the trainer deliberately strengthened the team with U.S. citizens living abroad, such as Jack Heldens. A close finish, this still was not enough to qualify for the big time, the 2023 FIH Hockey World Cup. Second place would have sufficed, but in the semi-final they went against Chile, the home team, who ended up winning against the U.S. boys after a 0:0 tie and a dramatic penalty shootout.
“We are, of course, immensely disappointed. The opportunity was within reach. Throughout the game we were the better team, but we weren’t able to translate this superiority into goals. In a penalty shootout you need a little bit of luck, which we didn’t have that day,” Jack Heldens said, one of two players in the German national league nominated for the U.S. team. At KLU Heldens is pursuing a master’s degree in international management. He continued, “Still, it was a great experience and a great tournament. We made outstanding progress in the past months and we’re well on our way to qualifying for the next Olympics in Paris. We’ve worked hard for it, and thanks to the scholarship program for top athletes at KLU, I’m happy I had the freedom to be away from the university for many weeks, while having good online offerings and the flexibility to postpone exams.”
Argentina, the clear favorite and 2016 Olympic champion in Rio de Janeiro, won the Cup, defeating Chile 5:1 in the final match. See all scores and standings for the Pan American Cup.
Jack Heldens is an American field hockey player and the first foreigner to attend KLU on an athletic scholarship. He plays in the German national league with Club an der Alster. KLU supports top athletes with a special sports program – both financially and by allowing for the balancing act between competitive sports and academic studies via flexible solutions in scheduling and exams. After the successful launch of the scholarship program for German athletes three years ago, in 2021 it expanded to include international team sport athletes.