Tucceri adapting to new life in United States

Temple Field Hockey freshman midfielder Agustina Tucceri, an Argentina native, has played a key role for the team while adjusting to a new country.

Augustina Tucceri has started all 15 games for Temple Field Hockey. | ERIKA MONN / THE TEMPLE NEWS

When freshman midfielder Agustina Tucceri left her hometown of Buenos Aires, Argentina, to join Temple Field Hockey in Philadelphia, she was presented with the biggest challenge of her life.

“I am still getting used to everything,” Tucceri said. “I am still learning the language here and I miss my family a lot and still getting used to not having them on the side of the field, but the girls are helping me get through it.”

The transition from Argentina to the United States has not been easy for Tucceri. She needed to adjust to the different style of hockey while learning how to navigate her life without having her mother close by when she first arrived in Philadelphia.

“My mom played field hockey and I watched every game she played when I was growing up,” Tucceri said. “I have been playing since I was three and we would always talk after games.”

Tucceri has proven to be a key piece for the Owls this season, starting in all 15 games while scoring two goals, as well as a game-winning shootout goal against Providence College (5-10, 2-3 Big East Conference) on Oct. 7. Tucceri is also eighth on the team with 759 minutes played, despite being a freshman.

Adapting to the American style of play has been a challenge for Tucceri. In Argentina, there was a greater emphasis on transferring the ball and playing on both ends of the field, but in the U.S., the priority is to strictly move the ball forward, Tucceri said.

Tucceri’s necessary adjustments on and off the field were intimidating at first, but she eventually found comfort in her friends. While she was missing her mom and family as her support system and key motivators, new teammates gave her a sense of home in Philadelphia. 

“[My mom] would always push me to be a better player while also being my emotional support,” Tucceri said. “Not having her has been hard for me.”

During offseason workouts, Tucceri developed a strong friendship with fellow international player sophomore back Alizè Maes, a native of Antwerp, Belgium. The two players have helped one another with easing the transition of leaving their home countries to come to the U.S. by sharing their experiences of leaving their home countries.

“We have really built up a connection because we have both gone through the same things,” Maes said. “If you talk to an American, they won’t understand what you are going through and even if they want to understand, it is just a very different experience so I think we have built a connection that other people don’t really have.”

In a 6-3 win against Quinnipiac University on Sept. 16, Maes earned an assist on a Tucceri goal after sending a ball inside the penalty box for Tucceri, who converted on the second goal of her collegiate career.

The Owls believe that Tucceri will continue to develop as a dynamic goal scorer and view her as a cornerstone player for the program moving forward, said Owls’ head coach Michelle Vittese. 

“We think that her ceiling is very high,” Vittese said. “Recently she has been playing a lot as an outside midfielder but as she continues to develop and grow and get more in tune with our playing principles, I think she can definitely play a more central midfield role because of her skill set and I think that is something that will come with time but she is doing a phenomenal job.”

With just two regular-season games remaining, the Owls will continue to rely on Tucceri to provide the team with meaningful minutes as Temple attempts to earn a spot in the Big East Conference tournament.

“Being able to play as a freshman is a privilege,” Tucceri said. “Being a part of this team is amazing because every single practice we are improving on something and it is like we are all a family and I am very excited because I think we have a great opportunity.”

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