NEW YORK – Sunil DeSouza, an Indian American hockey player living in Lake Forest, California, has been selected by the USA Field Hockey Association to represent the USA Men’s Field Hockey team at the Masters (over-50 years) World Cup to be held in Barcelona, Spain, from July 27 to Aug. 5.
There are several other Indian-origin players, apart from DeSouza, in the team.
DeSouza was born and brought up in Mumbai, India and started playing hockey at the age of 9. He continued to play throughout his high school and college years where he played the role of team captain at St. Xavier’s college and Bombay University.
Later he was selected to be on the Bharat Petroleum Corporation’s competitive team where he played with professionals like M.M. Sumaiya and Romeo James.
After being on the team for three years, he decided to come to the U.S. to pursue a higher education and earned a master’s degree in chemistry from Arizona State University in Phoenix.
DeSouza then started coaching the hockey team at Fountain Valley High School after which he “decided to take a break from hockey” and first played tennis, followed by long-distance running. But then in early 2017, he went back to playing professional hockey at the Huntington Beach Surfers Field Hockey Club in Huntington Beach, California.
“In the beginning when I started playing professional again, I gave up on running and vigorously trained myself in hockey. When I got the call from the association, shivers went down my spine,” DeSouza told News India Times, in a phone interview.
DeSouza also mentioned that he wishes he could have represented India in the World Cup but is still proud to be representing the United States.
“Unfortunately, hockey is not as popular as cricket is in India and I wanted to study further to earn so I came to the U.S.,” he said.
“I was also one in seven finalists from India for the road scholarship at the University of Oxford but did not get selected,” he added.
DeSouza said his team was the winner of the competitive division of CalCult in 1995 and also won the Los Angeles Hockey League twice in a row.
DeSouza has been working in the quality department of the pharmaceutical company Allergan for 14 years and when not playing sports, he loves gardening and cooking.
DeSouza lives in Lake Forest with his wife Anupama.
Here’s the full roster of the U.S. O-50 Men’s Masters Team:
Prashant Aji | San Jose, Calif.
Sunil DeSouza | Lake Forest, Calif.
Fernando Diez de Oñate | Key Biscayne, Fla.
Ahmed Elmaghraby | Ledgewood, N.J.
Tommy Hoang | Westlake Village, Calif.
Srinu Karuturi | Monroe Township, N.J.
Markus Krueger | Seattle, Wash.
Damien Lanyon | Solana Beach, Calif.
Hugo Mazzalupi | King of Prussia, Pa.
Pradeep Menon | Cumming, Ga.
Manuel Morales | Miami, Fla.
Ali Murdoch | Austin, Texas
Muzammel Malik | Westminster, Md.
Caz Pereira | San Francisco, Calif.
Greg Pereira | Fulton, Md.
Ulrich Reinhardt | Ann Arbor, Mich.
Roberto Sabella | Key Biscayne, Fla.
Muhammad Siddiqui | Arlington, Va.
Coach: Adam Falla
Manager: Chris Pereira
Alternates: Dennis Brown (Lynchburg, Va.), Erik Enters (Harleysville, Pa.), Matt Hanson (Virginia Beach, Va.), Riaz Khan (Mission Viego, Calif.), Paul Slaats (Ann Arbor, Mich.), Charanjit Singh (Keller, Texas).