Athletes, soccer players and coaches are raw materials for export in Argentina. Countries around the world are desperate to have Albiceleste talent and there is always one that stands out in any sport. In this sense, TN spoke with Javier Telechea, coach of the United States field hockey team that will be in the Paris 2024 Olympic Games after qualifying for the Indian Pre-Olympic.
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The experienced coach has a long history in hockey, but previously he also had it in soccer: he was part of Ariel Holan's coaching staff in Defensa y Justicia, and became champion of the Copa Sudamericana with Independiente in 2017. After those conquests he toured the world to continue growing, he received a more than interesting offer and now he will look for an achievement that can be historic in a competition in which he will face the Argentine National Team.
Javier Telechea was part of Ariel Holan's coaching staff at Independiente and became champion of the Copa Sudamericana. (Photo: javitelechea/IG)(Photo: javitelechea/IG)
Javier Telechea, passionate about football and hockey
As for the vast majority of Argentines, sport is fundamental to Javier Telechea's life. His contacts began at a very young age when he started playing hockey at the age of seven. Meanwhile, he has played soccer “all his life.” In addition, he recognizes himself as a “fan of Los Andes.”
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This path in hockey was very satisfying and led him to play a year as a professional in Australia. During that experience, Javier recognized that work off the field also attracted him: “While there I started to work a little as a coach. “The bug started biting me and I realized that I really liked that.”
The change was not easy, but he took the risk for his passion. “I was studying computer engineering, I was working in a big place, but I came back and gave up everything. I dedicated myself to being a coach, I left college when I was one year away from becoming an engineer. I started at the Monte Grande Club in the City of Buenos Aires,” she said.
Javier Telechea with the Los Andes shirt at the 2018 World Cup in Russia accompanying the Argentine National Team. (Photo: javitelechea/IG)
At the same time, soccer knocked on his door and he was a video analyst at Los Andes, the club of his loves.
That ability to combine sports since he was a child was what opened the doors for him to be on a top-level coaching staff alongside Ariel Holan. “Ariel was one of my first hockey coaches when he was a boy because he is from Lomas, I know him from life.”
The official call to join the coaching staff came in June 2015, when Defensa y Justicia made Holan's arrival as first team coach official. This partnership later took him to Independiente, where they became champions of the Copa Sudamericana in 2017 at the Maracaná.
Javier Telechea in the preview of the final of the 2017 Copa Sudamericana at the Libertadores de América. (Photo: javitelechea/IG)
Football and hockey, two twinned sports
In recent years, sports have been mixing their training, their tactics, their strategies, to achieve a superior result. In that sense, football and hockey began to blend in.
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Although Argentine soccer has a particular dynamic and often views others with some mistrust or suspicion, the success of Ariel Holan began to change this trend. In this sense, Javier Telechea told his view on the main points of contact.
“Hockey is a sport in which a lot of attention is paid to details. At the same time, Argentine coaches have a very high level, and the training methodology is very advanced. In hockey it is really believed that, with training, you can improve, you can achieve many profound changes. That is why the first change we made in football was to give great importance to the training methodology to create a team that works and improve the players. That's what we did at Defensa y Justicia: they brought many young players from big clubs who really wanted to learn, who liked the project and we started there. I think what we did best was promote individual players, there was a lot of growth at that time,” he said.
The arrival at Independiente and the jump to a big team
After this success in Defensa y Justicia that could not be captured in the title, but in the retina of soccer fans, Holan received the offer of a lifetime: directing Independiente. As it could not be otherwise, Javier accompanied him in this great challenge.
Javier Telechea in Independiente. (Photo: javitelechea/IG)
The main difference was the impact of each movement. Accustomed to a low profile and working calmly, in Rojo this changed for the entire coaching staff. “Obviously there is a higher level of pressure, it is a reality: everything that happens has more impact, more people find out and more repercussions. That was very noticeable.”
At the same time, due to his personality, Javier discovered a complicated aspect that he had always had to experience from afar: “Something that I personally don't like very much about football is that you lose a game and it seems like someone has died. I come from an amateur sport where that is not the reality and luckily, I think I never changed that thought.”
The return to hockey with an unexpected challenge with the United States team
One day after becoming champion of the Copa Sudamericana with Independiente, Javier Telechea resigned from Ariel Holan's coaching staff, took a backpack and went to travel the world for eight months. During that time he continued to improve himself, studying and taking courses to be able to implement the knowledge in his role as a coach.
Telechea, with members of the Argentine hockey team (Photo: javitelechea/IG)
After all this journey he arrived in Belgium, a power country in field hockey, to train the Under 21 National Team. Then, through contact with a teacher, he received an unexpected offer to travel to the United States and be on the team's coaching staff. American national.
“I kept in touch with a professor after a course, he took the job of Head Coach of the United States. I was in Argentina, I sent him a message to congratulate him and the response was 'are you coming with me?'. So dry, ha.”
When accepting this challenge, Javier set only one condition: to be able to travel to Argentina often to be with his family and his little nieces.
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Paris 2024: a visualized selfie and the dream of success
The Olympic Games are a more than important goal for any athlete. Athletes around the world dream of being there. In this sense, Javier had two opportunities to achieve it: he reached the final of the Pre-Olympic, already as Head Coach, and lost to the Argentine National Team.
After that setback, the sport gave him a revenge that he did not waste. In the Indian Pre-Olympic and after an impressive performance with three wins in the same number of games, he qualified as the leader of group B and got the ticket to the World Cup event.
Javier Telechea with his players from the United States team with the ticket to the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. (Photo: javitelechea/IG)
After this important achievement, Javier made a publication on his Instagram account with a shocking personal anecdote: he had “visualized” that classification a little less than five years ago.
In his post he had written: “In February 2019, while living in Belgium, I was studying Coaching. In one of the assignments, my teacher asked me to prepare an image to visualize something I wanted to achieve in the future. And the image was a selfie in the arches of Paris. I still didn't know with whom or how, but I knew that I wanted to be there and experience an Olympic Game from the inside. “It was one of the few sporting dreams that I had left to fulfill.”
And he continued: “When a little over a year ago I joined the United States, starting with a team from scratch, qualification seemed almost impossible. At least for those who were looking at it from the outside. From within, since that day, we have worked (a lot) with a very clear objective. It is a humanly incredible team that makes you enjoy every moment, and with a willpower and desire to improve that I have never seen before. Today that we finally achieved the long-awaited goal, I have nothing but words of gratitude. I feel happy and fulfilled. Now it's time to enjoy, but only for a few days. There are already new challenges to face. “See you in Paris.”
Javier Telechea qualified for Paris 2024 with the United States team. (Photo: javitelechea/IG)
Of course, in the talk with TN he spoke about this moment and revealed the behind the scenes of that post: “It was a very specific fact and I liked to exemplify it. Maybe I don't really like saying 'Well, this is my goal and I have to do everything to get there.' I am not in favor of that, because in fact when I went to Belgium I had an offer to go to work in France, where I would have ensured being in the Olympic Games. That makes it clear that my objective was not to be in Paris no matter what. I'm very 'I want to be happy where I am today', 'I want to be enjoying what I'm doing'. That way I feel like I develop better and by enjoying it I will work better and it will take me to good places. It is a bit of my philosophy of life, so today I am here.”
The road to reach Paris was not easy and with a look to the past, Javier fulfilled his objective in its entirety, both in sports and in sentimental terms, without betraying his thoughts. “When I started it seemed almost impossible that we could go to Paris. We had a team of nine players, in very poor physical condition. We started almost from scratch. So it wasn't really that I said 'I'm going to grab this team because with this I get to Paris.' “It wasn't the case, but luckily it ended up happening.”
“My dream is to be in the Olympic Games, to live it from the inside because I think it is an incredible experience. But above all I want to be enjoying it and today I am with a group that I feel identified with, that I enjoy every day and that seems the most important thing to me,” he concluded.
Which countries have qualified in field hockey for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games?
France (host country)AustraliaNetherlandsChinaArgentinaSouth AfricaUnited StatesGermanyJapanBelgiumSpainUnited Kingdom