Keli Smith-Puzo balances Games, motherhood

 She’s four years removed from the 2008 Beijing Games, but Keli Smith-Puzo, 33, is still playing with the kids.

 The only difference is, the 11-year veteran of the US women’s field hockey team is now doing the same thing at home. She has two boys, 2-year-old Xavi and 10-month-old Ian.

 “Logistically, it’s been a challenge, but my parents and husband have been great,’’ said Smith-Puzo. “They have got the kids now, and they will all be here later in the month.”


 Smith-Puzo, who played on the US World Cup team in 2006, wasn’t returning to the spin class at the local gym after her pregnancy. She was attempting to make an Olympic squad.

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 “I have been back in full training since January,’’ she said, downplaying the achievement. “I tried as best I could to keep as fit as possible. I didn’t put a lot of pressure on myself [to make the team].’’

 As if the Olympic kids and her own children don’t give her enough chances to be motherly, Smith has also been a volunteer assistant coach at the University of Virginia since 2007.

 “I certainly think coaching helps you become a better player,’’ said Smith-Puzo, whose US team will face Argentina in pool play Tuesday. “You have more experience, the young players look up to you, see you in a different way.

 “This is what I will be able to tell my kids when they get older.’’


 The family will be here soon. The only difference is, here in London she doesn’t have to make breakfast for the US kids.