Eden's US trip stepping stone to World Cup dream
WHEN athletic hockey allrounder Eden Jackat flies out to the United States next week, she'll have plenty to motivate her.
Having recently shared in Wests' stunning grand final victory, the co-captain knows what it's like to win and win well.
Wests showed their class with an 8-1 win over Hancocks in the Ipswich A Grade season decider.
However, her latest quest will help Jackat pursue her other hockey dream - indoors.
She's been chosen in the Australian Development squad playing a series of matches against the US Development combination later this month.
It's the first time she's been recognised at elite level in indoor hockey after sharing in multiple national title successes with Queensland open and under 21 teams in recent years.
What is most important about her latest tour is that it keeps the Chuwar-based sportswoman in contention for future FIH World Cup honours.
With the latest Australian open team also recently named, the trip to the United States gives the Ipswich achiever another opportunity to further her representative career.
"It's pretty cool,'' Jackat, 21, said.
"I'm pretty happy. I'm still the youngest in that side to make the development squad.''
During the 10-day trip, she expects to play matches from a base in Pottstown, Pennsylvania.
"They (the US) are quite big (in indoor hockey),'' she said, excited about her first trip to America. Apparently where we are going is pretty hockey focused.
"I've been talking to one of the indoor girls from America and she said Pottstown is quite serious about hockey, which is good.
"Hopefully it's going to be tough competition.
"I know I'm going to learn a lot there, which is going to be good.''
Jackat has been juggling the two sports for a number of years, in addition to studying paramedics and working part-time at United Sports Club, which sponsors the Wests Hockey Club.
However, the personable and well organised hockey fanatic makes it work well.
"I absolutely love playing for Wests but when I get to play indoor in the off-season, which is awesome, I love that as well,'' she said.
She's represented Queensland in indoor hockey since under 15.
Sharing in back-to-back hockey grand final successes with Wests was a reward for Jackat as much as her young and skilful teammates.
"It was amazing,'' she said. "They are a great group of girls. I love that team.''
However, success didn't come easy.
Under the astute guidance of head coach Brent Nicholls, Wests have become one of Ipswich's most talented sides in any sport.
"We've come so far,'' the co-captain said. "A couple of years ago, we had pretty much the same team and we were losing games.
"And we just worked so hard in the last few years. I'm so proud of them.''
The spirited on-field leader hopes to carry that winning momentum to the US before focusing on more indoor hockey opportunities when returning home.
Jackat also has a Challenge Cup competition coming up, from which the Queensland open team will be chosen for the next nationals in Goulburn in January.