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nfhca newsletter The 2018 NFHCA Annual Convention will be held at the Marriott Orlando Lake Mary from January 10-12.
Table of Contents Pages 3-4: Converse Joins Growing List of Southern Squads Page 6: CoachTube Taps into Market for High-Quality Content Page 7: Spring Fling Brings Coaches, Student-Athletes Together Pages 9-10: Lykens Leads New Haven into New Era Pages 12-13: Monmouth Enjoys First Interna onal Experience Pages 15-16: Building from the Ground Up in Loudoun County Pages 18-19: Yale Goes Down Under for Field Hockey and Fun Pages 21-22: Strikers Making an Impact Inside and Out
Registration will begin by September 1. Don’t miss this opportunity to listen to great speakers, network with your colleagues and attend the annual NFHCA Awards Dinner!
Pages 24-25: USA Na onals to Showcase Best of Local Clubs Page 27: Field Hockey Student-Athletes Honored by CoSIDA Page 29: Coaches Corner: Yale Assistant Coach Jessica Barne Page 30: 2016-17 NFHCA Sponsors
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2018 NFHCA Top Recruit Winter Escape is moving to artiﬁcial turf! Join us at Seminole County Sports Complex in Sanford, Fla. from Jan. 12-14 following the 2018 NFHCA Annual Convention.
on June 30, 2017. Memberships must be renewed by September 30th to be eligible to participate in all NFHCA sponsored programs in 2017-18. Regiser today by visiting www.nfhca.org!******
Registration is now open for all club teams and individuals! 1
nfhca newsletter Converse Joins Growing List of Southern Squads By Ma Dougherty, NFHCA Director of Communica ons On November 15, when all but 12 collegiate ﬁeld hockey teams had wrapped up their 2016 seasons and started to point towards 2017, Kelsey Lovelace was about to embark on a daun ng task: build the Converse ﬁeld hockey program from the ground up to be able to compete this fall. Lovelace was hired that day as the head coach at Converse, which had announced just over a month earlier that it was adding ﬁeld hockey as the 13th sport at the all-women’s college. The Valkyries will compete in the Eastern College Athle c Conference (ECAC) at the Division II level as the school in Spartanburg, South Carolina joins a growing group of ﬁeld hockey programs in the south. “We wanted to add ﬁeld hockey because a lot of our board of trustees members were pushing to bring the sport back,” Lovelace said of a program that ﬁrst began in 1973 before being discon nued in 1983. “Since Limestone, Newberry, Belmont Abbey and Queens had added ﬁeld hockey, we wanted to get on board and make it happen. We are an all-women’s college and the sport promotes the school’s message of empowerment and ﬁts right along with our whole mission.” Lovelace’s sen ments were similar to those expressed by Athle c Director Joy Couch, who stated the following when Converse announced the addi on of ﬁeld hockey on Oct. 5: “Field Hockey will certainly bolster our con nued growth as an Athle c Department and College, as we provide educa onal opportuni es to our current and future student-athletes in which they have the ability to excel.” It took Converse just six weeks to hire Lovelace, who had to get to work right away to be able to ﬁeld a squad that could compete in the fall. “When I got here there was nothing in place,” Lovelace said. “I’m basically building from the ground up and I had to start right away to get a team ready by the fall. I walked into a completely empty oﬃce and was tasked with ﬁnding a team. We have been recrui ng heavily because nobody knew we had ﬁeld hockey this year. So our ﬁrst goal was reaching out to clubs and coaches to let them know we had a program, and we had to focus on ge ng equipment and more to get ready for the ﬁrst season and worked on that in partnering with Longstreth and USA Field Hockey.” Ge ng ready for the 2017 season was a challenging task, but one that Lovelace pulled oﬀ despite some trying moments. “I’m deﬁnitely not going to lie, it’s been a very stressful process,” Lovelace said. “I think everything is going to pay oﬀ and we just need to see it through. We talked to other programs and my experience at Limestone (as an assistant coach) helped in knowing how to build the program. A lot of the student-athletes in our ﬁrst class will be interna onal because they are wan ng to come and play here and are more prone to coming to an all-women’s college. Ge ng started so late, in December and January a lot of the 2017s were already commi ed so there weren’t a lot of people available. We did get a couple of good players late and are s ll recrui ng 2017s, but we have a full team for next year and are looking to build towards our 2018 season.” She added, “It was tricky when I started because I had to look at 2018s as well as 2017s. My pool of 2018 was a lot bigger, but I think our ﬁrst class is going to be great and we are just developing it. I do get to look at 2018s now and we are in the process of bringing them in, but at ﬁrst I was only able to focus on 2017s and in about February I realized we had to focus on 2018s as well.” Lovelace spent the past two seasons as an assistant coach at Limestone College, a program that had its origins in the same manner as Converse. Limestone announced that it was adding ﬁeld hockey on Nov. 4, 2008, and three weeks later hired Lindsay Jackson as the ﬁrst head coach. A er going through a winless campaign in her ﬁrst season in 2009, Jackson led the Saints’ program to consistent growth that featured a winning record by season three and consecu ve ECAC tles in 2013 and 2014, reaching the top ten in the na onal NFHCA Coaches Poll each season.
nfhca newsletter Converse (continued)
While Jackson departed to take the head coaching posi on at Holy Cross before Lovelace began her me at Limestone, the similar situa ons give some direc on for the poten al growth of the program at Converse. “Lindsay started the program at Limestone and knows a lot of the stress that I’m under,” Lovelace said. “She’s been a big help with being a voice of reason when things get a li le crazy. The athle c director at Limestone, Mike Cerino, has been a big help since he was there when the program started. My athle c director here is great and she will go out of her way to help me. I have amazing support if I do feel overwhelmed and my me and energy can be dedicated to what I need to do to get our program going.” Lovelace also believes the program at Converse will have growth poten al because of the rise of ﬁeld hockey par cipa on in the area. “I’ve worked with Jess Mulhern (Limestone assistant coach) and Hannah Dave (Newberry head coach) along with Sally Goggin from USA Field Hockey to help promote the sport in our area. We are invi ng high school athle c directors to our games in the hopes that they will sponsor as a highschool sport and that would it would be taught earlier and people could look to play in college. We’ve seen it in the last 10 years in lacrosse with growth into Florida and Georgia, and I think it can happen the same way with ﬁeld hockey. There is a club director in Charleston who is from Upstate New York and really advoca ng for the growth of the sport. We’ve seen it in Charlo e with four or ﬁve clubs there who have produced some good Division I and Division II players and it will eventually be big on the whole east coast.” Soon, all the last-minute recrui ng and work to get ready for the 2017 season will culminate as the Valkyries step on the ﬁeld for the ﬁrst me in August. Lovelace knows there will be obstacles but wants to begin building on the ﬁeld in year one. “There’s going to be a lot of hills I haven’t even come to yet,” she said. “All of my girls are already in communica on and ge ng to know each other right now. It will be weird stepping into a new place, so them ge ng to know each other now will help the transi on. The girls are more excited than even I am to get going, and preseason will be really important since it’s our ﬁrst chance to get things together on the ﬁeld. Our strength and condi oning staﬀ is working with the girls now so we can focus on ﬁeld hockey when we get on the ﬁeld. We are working now and planning out mee ngs about expecta ons for us and from our girls. We’re going to be a smaller team in the ﬁrst year, but I expect these girls to do great things.” She added, “I feel like a lot of people will see us as a ﬁrst-year program that would be lucky to win a couple of games, but every day I want to get be er and become a team with experience. All of these girls will come in and get experience, so by year three and four they will have played more than most of the other juniuors and seniors they are facing and by then we want to be a force down in the south. The ﬁrst year we are looking for people to work hard and lay the brick in the program for what is to come and the girls are so excited about it.” “I put together a full schedule because of all of the teams who are down here now and want to play us because we are close. We are really excited to have the schools close to us and it will make it even easier for schools to add ﬁeld hockey because it won’t be as big of a concern on the budget.” Lovelace believes Converse can follow the model of fellow ECAC member Limestone to become a successful program in a short amount of me. “I think we can be very strong four or ﬁve years down the line,” she said. “By year three I want to be compe ng for a conference tle, winning one by year four and then building from there because success breeds success. Limestone did not win any games its ﬁrst year, but they kept building from there and by the seventh year of the program they almost had a na onal bid. They started on a grass ﬁeld, but we’re ren ng a turf ﬁeld from a high school to play and prac ce there. We hope to have our turf ﬁeld by 2018. There’s always obstacles, but every year you should be be er and that’s what we plan to do here. There’s no manual on star ng a program. I hope that more schools add it, and I’d love to talk to more schools about adding ﬁeld hockey especially down in the south and I look forward to having it grow down here.”
DURABILITY COMFORT INNOVATION
nfhca newsletter CoachTube Taps into Market for High-Quality Content By Ma Dougherty, NFHCA Director of Communica ons A endees at the 2017 NFHCA Annual Conven on were able to listen to acclaimed interna onal speakers discuss the ﬁner points of the game. And now, thanks to CoachTube, anyone can gain the same access as part of a business model that gives consumers a place to view the top content from coaching professionals. According to its website, ‘CoachTube is about giving every athlete in the world access to the instruc on, knowledge, and mo va on they need to grow and progress as athletes and students. We do this by providing access to online training from the world’s best coaches. These lessons are available on-demand, so that students can learn when and where it’s convenient for them.’ For CoachTube founder Wade Floyd, the idea for the site came from knowing what he would like available as a consumer. “I was pre y obsessed with online learning in general,” Floyd said. “I loved the idea that I could go at my own pace and have it on my own device whenever I wanted to. If it was really good I could watch it and if not I could fast forward. A lot of the ﬁeld hockey coaches have been teachers and they realize that this type of learning can really catch on.” Floyd says that CoachTube is not so much a company as a community of hundreds of the best coaches and organiza ons in the world, and has become a go-to place to deliver content online. CoachTube ﬁrst went live in March 2015, and the rest of that calendar year was largely spent ﬁnding the best coaches to have quality content for a full launch of the site. “I reached out to a lot of the guys that already had videos and shared the vision with them and they felt that it was exactly what they were looking for,” Floyd said. “They were looking to separate from a lot of stuﬀ on Youtube because some is fantas c and some is not good. This way we can create premium courses and the latest in technology to make their courses really look good. Coaches really embraced it because they felt a major problem was that keeping up daily with technology was diﬃcult because they were more concerned with content. It took the worry away from them because not every coach would have access to the best. It also solved a problem for organiza ons.” CoachTube was able to gain credibility and exposure by bringing in a handful of famous coaches right away, including Oscar Wegner (Tennis) and Mac Wilkins (Discus). Floyd and his staﬀ were able to feature the content of top individual coaches before star ng to work with larger organiza ons. “We were fortunate early on to get some pre y famous coaches,” Floyd said. “It’s expensive and me-consuming to produce content. Coaches weren’t really that mo vated to produce high-quality content and then give it away for free on Youtube. There needed to be a place that really separates the great coaches and be able to watch it the same way that coaches and players crave.” In addi on to building content, Floyd spent me in 2015 learning the tools of the trade along with two other full- me CoachTube employees, Philip Loyd and Claire Ellio . The trio went through a 14-week Educa on Accelerator Program in New York City and learned from mentos in the ﬁeld as they ﬁne-tuned the product and got everything right on the technological end before beginning promo on of the site. Floyd says CoachTube can be used in various ways depending on the needs of the consumer. Some people see it as a distribu on channel, while others use it as a store. A er building the site with content from individuals, CoachTube has begun working with more organiza ons, such as the NFHCA, over the past year along with produc on companies. Glazier Clinic has been a popular addi on on the football side with an email list of 130,000 people, and the Na onal Fastpitch Coaches Associa on (NFCA) has joined along with Be erBasketball.com. “We like to power the bigger organiza ons,” Floyd said. “We give organiza ons all of the proﬁt, but it gives us more eyeballs. Our vision is to help out the organiza ons and then get more viewers on it. We believe that by helping out the organiza ons and having their content available it will get people to s ck around and use it for other things. We went live when we had 200 courses and now we are at 1,000 courses.” “I see in ﬁve or 10 years, you can go to CoachTube and we will be using ar ﬁcial intelligence and E-learning,” he said. “You’ll ask a ques on about how to do something, and screens will push in front of you and will be available at your ﬁnger ps. A lot of technology is ge ng developed, it’s just not available to the masses yet. We want to be the place where people go to learn about sports and using new technology.”
nfhca newsletter Spring Fling Brings Coaches, Student-Athletes Together By Ma Dougherty, NFHCA Director of Communica ons NFHCA Top Recruit Spring Fling was held from May 12-14 at River City Sportsplex in Midlothian, Virginia, and provided an opportunity for hundreds of high school athletes to showcase their skills in front of coaches from more than 140 colleges. The compe on got underway with the Shot Stoppers Goalkeeper Sessions sponsored by TK and powered by ShutOut School. Nearly 50 goalkeepers took part in the two, 55-minute sessions which worked on a series of drills focusing on posi oning, decision-making and general fundamentals. College coaches joined on the ﬁeld on a rainy evening to see the poten al recruits in ac on. David Williamson, who works as the goalkeeping coach at Princeton, coordinated the sessions and wanted the high school athletes to gain conﬁdence in their ability on the ﬁeld. “I think for these guys it’s just really important that they trust in their own ability,” Williamson said. “A lot of the me there’s a constant amount of movement and they are trying to do too much. So it’s just being very s ll and steady and very controlled in their movement and that will help them a lot in terms of ge ng set. The second thing that goes hand-in-hand with that is if they can get themselves in a good posi on, and have a good stance and be balanced appropriately, a lot of stuﬀ is going to hit them so it doesn’t take as much work compared to if you are really busy. So we’re trying to get them to be a li le bit more s ll and a li le more conﬁdent.” Williamson thought the goalkeepers performed admirably despite dealing with a rain that turned into a torren al downpour at mes. “I think they did really well. Obviously the condi ons were not ideal. We had four sta ons that they went through, and we were working on their ability to try and work through and get second saves and third saves. Because we had small groups they all worked on the drills and ge ng balls back in, and their willingness to be involved and make the drills really compe ve was excellent.” The opening evening schedule con nued with a pair of opening games, the CranBarry Sophomore Showcase and the STX Uncommi ed Showcase. Each of the showcases featured four teams with a pair of games running concurrently. On Saturday and Sunday, the weather brightened up as 70 teams took the ﬁeld to showcase their skills. In addi on to being able to catch all of the contests live and up-close, all games were videotaped and college coaches had access to all of the ac on from NFHCA Top Recruit Spring Fling. NFHCA Top Recruit Spring Fling was created by the NFHCA Execu ve Board and Corrigan Sports to serve the needs of both prospec ve student-athletes and college coaches.
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nfhca newsletter Lykens Leads New Haven into New Era
By Ma Dougherty, NFHCA Director of Communica ons 2017 will end up as quite the calendar year for New Haven Head Coach Kelsi Lykens. A er being hired in January, she has put together a roster to compete in the school’s inaugural season in the fall while also looking towards future classes to build the program for the Chargers. “This is deﬁnitely a challenging process,” Lykens said. “I found out on my interview that we were expected to compete in 2017. It’s been very challenging in ﬁnding recruits especially with this senior class. I had a base of a club team to start with here, but only four people ended up coming from the club. That’s been my biggest challenge, but now we’re up to about 16 with the hopes of two more.” She added, “I ended up reaching out to students who had already been on campus, some seniors who checked oﬀ ﬁeld hockey as an interest in their applica on and was able to get a few oﬀ my ﬁrst clinic on April 29.” Of the 16 student-athletes set to compete for the Chargers in 2017, seven are incoming freshmen, four are from the club squad and a few are from other teams at the school, including one from both so ball and lacrosse. Others on the team were already at or decided to come to the university. “A lot of the freshmen I had to seek out,” Lykens said. “A few of them came from high school and club coach recommenda ons. Two or three did not have New Haven on their radar, but once I got them on campus I was able to get them to commit. The other half had already decided to come to New Haven and had played in high school. I have some experience coming, and there are others who I haven’t seen play beside my clinic and a couple I have not seen play at all.” While the roster for the inaugural season has taken shape, Lykens already has an eye on building and solidifying the program for future years. “I already have one 2018 commit and a lot of poten al recruits for that class,” she said. “The biggest challenge with recrui ng moving forward is a lot of people don’t know that the program exists, even though we’ve done a great job promo ng it through our sports informa on staﬀ. By the end of the summer I want to be able to get a hold on my 2018 class commits and then we can begin focusing on subsequent classes.” Once her team assembles for the ﬁrst me in August, Lykens looks forward to ge ng her program in place and seeing her squad on the ﬁeld. “Ini ally one of the biggest challenges will be to get everyone on the same page in physical ﬁtness,” she said. “I hope that the people coming from the club program will understand the diﬀerence in endurance and strength that it will take to play at this level. A er that it’s building the skills and what I am looking for going forward. I want to get them to the same skill founda on. She added, “One thing I want to focus on is not taking anything from a program and taking it to this group. I’m not going to be able to do the same forma ons I am familiar with, so I need to ﬁnd out strengths and weaknesses and tailor game plans accordingly.”
nfhca newsletter Division I Field Hockey Teams Excel in NCAA APR Report
New Haven (continued) Whatever the on-the-ﬁeld success ends up being, Lykens has a goal in mind of where she wants her team to be in its ﬁrst season.
Field hockey teams at the NCAA Division I level con nue to stand out in the classroom as they combined to post outstanding numbers in the latest release of the four-year Academic Progress Rate in May.
“Honestly I just want to see my culture into place,” she said. “We’re star ng brand-new, so establishing that culture and then growing with it will be key. I want to have good student-athletes and ﬁnd the small wins within everything so that we are literally ge ng be er every game and every day at prac ce with an eﬀort and mindset always at 100%.” Lykens certainly has a great founda on to look upon as she aims to build a winning culture. A 2014 graduate of West Chester University, Lykens was an NFHCA ﬁrst-team All-American in both 2012 and 2013 and led the Golden Rams to the NCAA championship in consecu ve seasons in 2011 and 2012. Lykens also excelled in the classroom and was the ﬁeld hockey nominee for the Division II Honda Sports Award as a senior. She closed out her career with 33 goals and 29 assists, and spent her ﬁrst season following gradua on as an assistant at West Chester before moving on to Sacred Heart University over the past two years. Lykens spent her last three seasons as a student-athlete and her ﬁrst as an assistant under West Chester Head Coach Amy Cohen, who has been a trusted mentor in a crazed me as New Haven prepares to play its ﬁrst season.
More than 80 percent of Division I ﬁeld hockey teams scored above the na onal all-sport APR four-year average of 981. Thirteen schools received NCAA Public Recogni on Awards a er achieving a perfect APR score of 1,000, with the list including Brown, Bucknell, Colgate, Columbia, Connec cut, Georgetown, Indiana, Northwestern, Penn, Saint Louis, Stanford, Villanova and Virginia Commonwealth. Every Division I sports team across the na on calculates its Academic Progress Rate each academic year, like a report card. Scholarship student-athletes each semester earn one point for remaining eligible and one point for staying in school or gradua ng. At schools that don’t oﬀer scholarships, recruited student-athletes are tracked. Rates are an average of each school’s performance for the past four years. Na onal aggregates are based on all teams with usable data at the me of analysis. The na onal analysis is based on member-provided data from April 5.
“I had a lot of ques ons for Amy and she had a lot of insight for me,” Lykens said. “I’ve tried to speak to people who have started their own program. She’s been helpful in how to start a program and the challenges you are going to see. I’ve also spoken with Julie Munson of Southern New Hampshire since she had experience with it.” Lykens’ squad will play at the Division II level in the Northeast-10 Conference, which consistently places mul ple teams into the NCAA postseason and in the rankings of the NFHCA Coaches Poll. S ll, that compe on does not deter Lykens’ belief that her team will be able to challenge anyone soon. “I really want us to compete for the NE-10 championship,” Lykens said. “I’m not sure if in the next four or ﬁve years we’ll be at the na onal level, but I really think it’s possible to establish a championship team. If I can focus on my 2018 team and then turn to my 2019 and 2020 group, I think we can really get to that level of compe ng for an NE-10 tle. The ﬁve or 10-year plan is obviously compe ng for a na onal tle.” But before her long-term goals can be achieved, Lykens just wants to focus on growing the program and building her culture at New Haven. “I hope I can be the rock for our student-athletes so they can see the program grow,” Lykens said. “I want people to be proud of where they played and know they can build something special here and look back and know that they were the ones who got it started.”
nfhca newsletter Monmouth Enjoys First International Experience By Ma Dougherty, NFHCA Director of Communica ons For Monmouth Head Coach Carli Figlio, the ﬁrst foreign trip in the 20-year history of her program provided memorable moments and team-building for her student-athletes on and oﬀ the ﬁeld. “We had a small group that went because our team was rela vely small,” Figlio said. “The girls were amazing, they were respec ul and adults. The bonding that happened with them as well as with the coach-player rela onship is not something you are going to get in prac ces every day. Seeing everyone in diﬀerent environments and social se ngs makes everyone more relatable. We always say we are a family away from home but it kind of really showed when you are in diﬀerent cultures and trying to understand the language and ask ques ons to work together.” The Monmouth squad departed on May 16 for its 10-day trip to Holland and Italy. Figlio felt the two loca ons brought together the on and oﬀ the ﬁeld experience for her team. “We picked Holland because we have two players on the team and we wanted to have them show us where they’re from. We chose Italy as a bit of a bonus and more as a cultural experience. Our university believes strongly in doing a trip every few years and par cipa ng in community service with a diﬀerent culture that the kids can learn about. We were in Holland for the majority of the me and spent the last three or four days in Italy.” The journey began with me in Holland, where the Hawks played against Victoria HC within nine hours of landing on May 17 followed by contests the next two days against Leiden Ladies and Ro erdam HC. The trip to Holland was a homecoming for a pair of Ro erdam na ves on the Monmouth roster, Julie Laszlo and Josephine van der Hoop. “We played against Julie’s club team ﬁrst,” Figlio said. “The level of play there is very high. It gave our girls an opportunity to play against a really skilled team that also had a lot of ﬁtness. We had taken a red-eye and then we got oﬀ the plane and played. The next club team we played was about the same level, and the third club we played was Josephine’s team and it was the second level of the club, more around the 16-17-18 age range. We had an opportunity to see the best and then a level below where we got a couple shots. The girls were deﬁnitely nervous playing back at home, but it was great to get a taste of their club and their everyday life. Everyone kind of grows up in that club environment over in Holland, and we were able to have some incoming freshmen from Holland who came to see our last game.” While the games gave the team an opportunity to build cohesion on the ﬁeld, the rest of the trip featured moments that to remember for a life me. “In Holland we did a really amazing bike tour in a small li le town,” Figlio said. “We went to the Anne Frank house in Amsterdam. We also worked a clinic with about 150 youth that all kind of came from lower income areas. It wasn’t an a er-school program, but something very similar to that. We just had a sports day and were out there with them the whole me. A lot of the kids couldn’t speak English, so it also gave us an opportunity to see how hard it is to communicate when it’s not your ﬁrst language.” Figlio added, “We went to a li le city called Del in Holland, and in Italy we did a lot of sightseeing in Rome, Capri Island and Sorrento. We went kayaking, had a paddleboarding experience in the canals and had tours of some amazing cultural sites. We gave the girls some free me to explore, but every day was pre y packed.”
nfhca newsletter Monmouth (continued)
Zag Sports Turns Trips into Experiences
The trip was organized by Zag Sports, and the student-athletes all had an opportunity to see sights and learn culture, and also ﬁnd out more about their sport and how it is played in a diﬀerent country. “It was deﬁnitely the ﬁrst me for a lot of them to go out of the country,” Figlio said. “Just to see two totally diﬀerent cultures was amazing, not just from a cultural standpoint but also from a hockey standpoint. In Holland hockey is like a lifestyle for enjoyment and you start at such a diﬀerent age. It was really cool to be able to see both of those. It was a great balance from seeing a lot of beau ful things in Holland and Italy from also being able to give back to kids who were less fortunate. They got a kick that we couldn’t speak their language so it was kind of a talking point there.” She added, “By going to Holland they kind of get their teammates more. If you’re not an hour and a half from the university, you have to get on a plane and it’s an en rely diﬀerent culture and environment. Seeing a diﬀerent perspec ve and worldview will help them grow as people.” The opportunity to go on an overseas trip for the ﬁrst me was very important for Figlio as she aims to provide a complete experience for her student-athletes. “It means we are invested in not just ﬁeld hockey but we want to be able to bring a well-rounded experience to these girls,” Figlio said. “Athletes in college have diﬀerent priori es in their me and this way we can reward them with life experiences that they can talk about for a long me to come. For anyone we are recrui ng to see us on an interna onal stage and see how seriously we are taking it, hopefully it translates into our recruits in the future to see us having that experience.”
Zag Sports was co-founded by Jeremy and Melisa Meccage more than 15 years ago, and the couple leads a company that provides more than just an interna onal tour for collegiate teams and student-athletes. “I think the most important point is that we don’t organize trips, we design people and player changing experiences,” said Jeremy, who serves as the company’s Chief Experience Oﬃcer while his wife Melisa is the company President who also completed 14 seasons as an assistant coach at Princeton in 2016. The “experience” includes all of the logisitcal set up such as ﬂights, hotels, transporta on and i nerary execu on as well as elements such as trip prepara on, fundraising strategies and risk management planning. But Zag Sports also makes sure to bring in aspects that make trip a memorable one for its clients. “We work on infusing the right level of compe on, high level training segments, unique cultural and adventure experiences, and unique to us, mandatory community service,” said Jeremy. “How we build those unique ac vi es and elements in to op mize developing the whole person and player is really what has dis nguished us in building experiences that are team changing, player changing and people changing.” He added, “In our hockey programming the key really is that we are unique in that we are rooted in the game. Our team around the world, our founding team, are a majority hockey people. That ma ers. As former high level athletes and coaches we realized that a primary building block to personal and athle c development is pushing ourselves and our athletes out of their comfort zones. In our organiza on and in our experiences we call that “Zagging”. We want our experiences to create a change of direc on in the course of the player’s and team’s life. Every experience we design has this ideal woven into the fabric of that unique team adventure. Challenge the team…the athletes. Push them in ways that challenge them on the ﬁeld and oﬀ.” Zag managed its ﬁrst hockey tour to Australia in 2001, and now operates experiences to over 30 countries. The company includes a sports tour division and educa onal tour division, and has worked with numerours sports with teams coming into the United States as well as those that travel interna onally from the states. Last year, Zag served USA Field Hockey in managing families and fans Olympic tour in Rio. “We take great pride in building long term rela onships with our partner teams around the world and are really grateful for the privilege to have served such outstanding ins tu ons, coaches, and athletes over the last 15 years,” said Jeremy. “We have our 2018 World Cup tours for college teams which are ﬁlling fast. Reach out to us today so we can share our team changing programs for every budget in over 30 countries!”
nfhca newsletter Building from the Ground Up in Loudoun County By Ma Dougherty, NFHCA Director of Communica ons Everything in life has to start somewhere, and for ﬁeld hockey in Loudoun County, Virginia that was in 2006 when Meg Dudek saw an opportunity to introduce the sport in her area. Dudek started the ﬁrst youth program in the Loudon County area with about 100 kids. Potomac Field Hockey has since expanded by the hundreds and ﬁeld hockey con nues to bloom in the area as it was recently picked up as a Tier 1 sport in high school at the varsity level. There are now two youth leagues and two club programs in addi on to 15 high schools in Loudoun County playing at the varsity level. “The growth has been huge,” Dudek said. “Our county has the largest youth soccer program in the state. A lot of our kids play that, but they can get burned out and look for something new. Our sport welcomes new players at any level and now that there are opportuni es to play in high school it becomes even more appealing.” Bringing anything new to the fold can always be a challenge, but Dudek said there was a need for more opportuni es for girls to play sports in the region. “I think it’s available and accessible,” she said. “For our players ﬁeld hockey is new and diﬀerent and not the same as other sports. We saw a struggle to provide an opportunity for girls and some saw it as a counter to football since we have a female-focused sport. I moved here in 2000 and was shocked that there was no ﬁeld hockey and we were the only school district in the en re DC-Bal more region without it.” She con nued, “We started with a U-14 and one U-16 team in 2011 when we introduced the ﬁrst travel club program via Rapids Field Hockey. We’ve grown to include U-19 as girls were aging up and we’ve added a U-12. We’re hoping to add a U-10 because the youth and recrea onal programs starts at an early age. There’s something about having that s ck in your hand.” Like anything that is just ge ng started, there will always be growing pains at ﬁrst. Dudek said her travel team goes up against top squads from both within and outside the area, and has gained great conﬁdence and experience from facing that compe on. “Our travel team has good clubs to compete against in the area. The girls enjoy the pressure, and we can compare it year a er year and see our development. The score doesn’t ma er, it’s more about how we’re playing and improving each year.” Dudek said the make-up of the club varies depending on how many girls play at each age, but the bulk of youth rec league come from the 3rd-6th grade level. Now that the club has been around for more than a decade, there is also progression to the high school and college level for players that started at a young age. “We want the girls to know that we are out there for experience, which includes playing in games,” Dudek said. “We want girls in Loudoun County to see that ge ng to college is a viable op on for them. We’ll have as much fun as we can possibly have, but at the same me value the process and development for the long term.” She added, “We’re ge ng there with colleges and star ng to progress. As our girls have grown from star ng in third grade to ge ng contacted more to come out and coaches want girls from Loudoun County. We go to college play days and recrui ng tournaments to gain visibility and interac on. We want to make sure we are doing right for the girls and focusing on their development.”
nfhca newsletter Loudoun County (continued) The gains have been impressive for ﬁeld hockey in the area. The previous fall was the ﬁrst season for varsity ﬁeld hockey as an unfunded sport, and Briar Woods, Stone Bridge and Heritage high schools advanced farther into the postseason and progressed greatly in their ﬁrst year. Field hockey will now be funded as a Tier 1 sport going forward. “Outreach is a huge component to building the program,” Dudek said. “We always try to educate coaches on current philosophies, taking informa on that comes directly from Craig Parnham at USA Field Hockey. Our travel team is on a compe ve level where they are doing skills on a consistent basis and focusing on condi oning. We partnered with Explosive Performance and require our “A” squad members to do strength and condi oning prac ces as well as oﬀering speciﬁc training to our goalkeepers. All of our coaches are at least at USAFH Level 1 cer ﬁed with several Level IIs and we all strive to keep up with the latest techniques and strategies.”
University of Iowa Reaches Settlement with Tracey Griesbaum The University of Iowa announced on May 19 that it has reached a se lement with former ﬁeld hockey head coach Tracey Griesbaum. The se lement ends all pending legal ac on against the university. Griesbaum had ﬁled a gender bias lawsuit against the university, and will receive a nearly $1.5 million se lement with a sum of $300,000 in wages and another totaling $1,187,588.98 in emo onal distress. The athle c department will also pay for a orney fees totaling over $1 million. Griesbaum ﬁled a S pula on for Dismissal with Prejudice for all of her claims against the university. Griesbaum spent 14 seasons as head coach at Iowa before her dismissal just prior to the start of the 2014 season. She led the Hawkeyes to six NCAA Tournament appearances, including a Final Four run in 2008, and Big Ten Tournament tles in three straight years from 2006-08. Griesbaum had ﬁled suit against the university for gender discriminaon, alleging that the athle cs department had pushed her and other female employees out of their posi ons. The university also reached a se lement with former senior associate athle cs director Jane Meyer. The se lements will be funded by the Iowa athle cs department, and the university will hire an independent counsel to conduct an external review of employment prac ces. Andy Whitcomb, the President of the Na onal Field Hockey Coaches Associa on (NFHCA) and head coach at Mount Holyoke College, provided the following statement in reac on to the se lement. “This was a great outcome for not only Tracey Griesbaum and Jane Meyer, but for the countless other female coaches who have faced similar discrimina on and unjust dismissals or demo ons. We know the facts from the Women’s Sports Founda on study, Beyond X’s and O’s, that there is gender bias in women’s college athle cs.”
While she con nues to aspire for more gains for the Potomac Field Hockey (rec) and Rapids Field Hockey (travel) clubs and ﬁeld hockey overall in the region, Dudek is excited about how far everything has already come. “It is so awesome that we’ve come from having about 100 kids to now having hundreds of them,” she said. “Now that we are Tier 1 in high school everyone looks at our sport as being more oﬃcial and we are on the same level with all the other high school sports. To be able to accomplish that has just been just fantas c and we have enjoyed a lot of support from the community and athle c directors as it really took a village.”
“This, to me, is the shot heard round the college coaching community and a warning for those administrators that this unlawful behavior will no longer be tolerated and there are serious repercussions for such discriminatory ﬁrings.” “For all those women who have pending legal cases against their ins tu ons for gender or sexual orienta on discrimina on, or retalia on, or unequal pay or whistle-blower viola ons, I sincerely hope that this case gives them the necessary faith and steadfastness to pursue and seek jus ce.” “True vindica on, I believe, would be the ability for Tracey to pursue a collegiate coaching job in the sport she loves without prejudice; a luxury countless male coaches have been aﬀorded post li ga on.”
nfhca newsletter Yale Goes Down Under for Field Hockey and Fun By Jessica Barne , Yale Assistant Coach As a coaching staﬀ, it is important to us that our student-athletes have the opportunity to experience ﬁeld hockey in other parts of the world. To get this more worldly view of our sport, every four years we are fortunate enough to take a team trip abroad. The des na on this year was Australia with stops in Sydney, Brisbane, and the Gold Coast. We chose Australia for its rich ﬁeld hockey tradi on, and summer weather we’d been lacking in the winter months on the East Coast. This was the ﬁrst me most of our student-athletes traveled to Australia (and ﬁrst me on a ﬂight over 10 hours). Despite the long trip over, we’re certain they’d tell you it was worth it. The level of play was one of the reasons why we chose Australia. Field hockey is second nature to the communi es, so clubs are ﬁlled with elite players. Children start playing with their parents at a young age and it really becomes a life-long involvement. The ﬁrst highlight of the trip’s ﬁeld hockey aspect was having the opportunity to meet Kieran and Blake Govers. This wasn’t planned, or part of our trip i nerary. We were fortunate to be in the same place at the same me. The experience really showed the student-athletes what it’s like to be in a place where ﬁeld hockey is such a prominent sport. At this point we thought nothing could top our meet and greet with the Olympians, so we were again surprised when we found out the loca on of our next game: The Sydney Olympic Park Hockey Center (where the 2000 Olympics took place). Although the stands weren’t as full as they were during the Olympics, it was s ll special for the girls to see a stadium that could hold thousands of people that watch the sport they play. As we moved north from Sydney up to Brisbane, the compe on more than exceeded our expecta ons. The tough part about going abroad is the level of play and ﬁguring out how to match up. It was especially tough to get full numbers this me of year, as most Australians were taking summer holidays. We weren’t disappointed when we showed up to play the University of Queensland. With a brand new turf facility, Yale was the ﬁrst team to ever play a game against the University here. A er two very hard fought ba les with the Queensland team, we came out with a e and a loss. Although the results weren’t necessarily wins, that didn’t take away from what we were able to learn from those games. If you talk to the coaching staﬀ, they would tell you that having these games was the best kind of compe on. There weren’t expecta ons going in, and the student-athletes were able to enjoy playing. We didn’t have the luxury of watching ﬁlm or knowing our opponent. We spent our prac ce me focusing on ourselves, and how we needed to play. Despite not ge ng a win, this was some of the best ﬁeld hockey we had seen our student-athletes play up to this point. Our last stop on the trip was the Gold Coast. The coaching staﬀ will be the ﬁrst to tell you they weren’t expec ng the same caliber of talent here. The Gold Coast, also known as “Surfers Paradise” is just that. It’s a surf town, with tourist shops, loads of hotels, and beaches that stretch for miles. However, if you venture 15 minutes away from this paradise, you come across the Super Sports Center, which will be the loca on for Commonwealth Games in 2018. To note, this facility was gorgeous. Not only did we come across our toughest compe on on the trip, but the toughes compe on ever faced period. They had a couple of athletes on their roster working within the na onal team, so it was a level that our girls had not seen before. Despite this, our team did a great job of rising to the occasion and refusing to quit. We ended up dropping both our games here, but con nued to improve as a whole. Again, it was these tougher games where we felt that we made the most strides as a team.
nfhca newsletter Yale (continued)
Victory Sports Tours Sets Up Field Hockey Teams for International Trips By Ma Dougherty, NFHCA Director of Communica ons Victory Sports Tours was founded in 2004, but company president Phil Perry has been organizing interna onal trips for teams for much longer than that. “I’ve been working in the travel industry since 1983 and been doing group tours for most of that me, and speciﬁcally sports tours for teams for about 25 years,” Perry said. “Before that I organized for a European airline as an employee and decided to go out and do it on my own since it was something I enjoy and I saw the possibility of being independent.”
This trip wasn’t all ﬁeld hockey, there were some incredible oﬀ-the-pitch moments as well. While in Sydney, we toured the Oprah House, walked across the Sydney Harbor Bridge, and took a coastal walk from Bondi Beach. On our way out of Sydney, we made a stop to hike through the Blue Mountains. This rugged region just west of Sydney was ﬁlled with stunning views and waterfalls.
Victory Sports Tours run interna onal trips for athle c teams from start to ﬁnish, and has been par cularly involved in ﬁeld hockey with recent trips by Yale, Trinity and Amherst among others. Perry says Victory Sports Tours has helped send ﬁeld hockey squads from all three divisions to countries including Argen na, Holland, Spain and Ireland.
In Brisbane, we explored King George Square and took boats down the Brisbane River to get a waterfront view of the city. We also made a day stop at the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, where many of the girls (and staﬀ) got to hold koalas in their arms. But the most memorable experience was from the Gold Coast. We had the privilege of really ac ng like locals, and got surf lessons in “Surfers Paradise.” Our last stop of the trip was a hike to Byron Bay, which our players might tell you was one of the most beau ful spots they have ever seen. We were deﬁnitely very lucky to be able to take part in so much during the course of our trip. Our student-athletes got to experience high-level ﬁeld hockey in another part of the world, and experience a place that most of them had never been before. In the short two weeks, we took advantage of every day and really had the experience of a life me while in Australia.
“We do tours to 26 diﬀerent countries with about seven diﬀerent sports in all. Field hockey tends to be our top sport in terms of volume and since there’s not a whole lot of people doing it we got hooked on it from the beginning. We have 50 diﬀerent itenieraies in all as sample tours and something like 40 of those are available for ﬁeld hcokey depending on the des na on.” Victory Sports Tours works with teams from the beginning, arranging all transporta on, hotels, games and ac vi es to set up a memorable experience for schools on interna onal trips. Perry says that about 30-35 teams have traveled with Victory Sports Tours, and at least half of those have gone on mul ple trips. “We do a lot of quality control, double-check things and make sure there is not ambiguity in our contacts. We cover every base so the trip goes as smoothly as possible. Once the trip is happening we are on call for anything that comes up, but if the prepara on has been correctly everything should go well.”
nfhca newsletter Strikers Making an Impact Inside and Out By Ma Dougherty, NFHCA Director of Communica ons In just over a decade, the Souderton (Pennsylvania) Strikers have built their program into a powerhouse on the indoor circuit while also expanding to year-round play as well. The club started in 2005 by Mary Ann Harris, Sarah Quintois and Jamie Warren when it was originally called Indian Valley United and trained at a local Boys and Girls Club. The club became the Souderton Strikers in 2009 under Courtney (Hughes) Lepping and began training at the town’s high school, with Michelle Waldspurger taking over the administra on in 2013. The club had been only comprised of players from the Souderton School District un l Waldspurger took over and helped grow the reach of the squad by expanding to anyone who had interest in playing the sport. The Strikers have grown from four teams to 13 in the past four years and now have many teams that play year-round and not just during the indoor, winter months. Waldspurger says the recent growth stems from the atmosphere provided by the club. “I can contribute the recent growth to ﬁrst expanding our club to anyone who is passionate about ﬁeld hockey,” Waldspurger said. “My club has coaches who I personally know so I have either coached them, they have coached me, or I have coached with them. Our club is more than just a compe ve club. My coaches value in developing the whole person and not just the athle c part. We believe in developing a rela onship with each athlete and knowing them on a personal level. We also believe in giving back to the program and have opportuni es for our high school, college and post-graduate players to coach in the youth program.” Finding training space in the winter months can be diﬃcult, but Waldspurger’s squad has found a loca on that has provided great accomoda ons despite challenging condi ons. “We train during the fall and winter in a warehouse called Apex Athle c Ins tute in Ha ield, Pa.,” Waldspurger said. “We are very fortunate to have met Kim and Jeﬀ Frye who oﬀered us the opportunity to be able to have a prac ce area. They put in an indoor ﬂoor and turf area where we can prac ce. One of our challenges when we started was we didn’t have heat - it gets cold in winter so it was challenging to try and keep warm. The players were ﬁne, it was my coaches who really had to dress warm. Since then we have gas blowers which heat the place at about 55 degrees and takes the chill out of air.” Souderton Strikers oﬀers programs at both the recrea onal and compe ve level. At the rec level there is a K-6 league that runs for eight weeks in the fall as well as a K-8 level in the winter and spring that runs for six weeks each session and focuses on skills and scrimmaging. The compe ve level includes teams at the U10, U12, U14, U16 and U19 levels as well as outdoor teams in the summer. “I wanted to provide a place that anyone can par cipate regardless of their background,” Waldspurger said. “Club can be very expensive and one of our goals is to provide opportuni es for everyone, which is how you truly grow the game. We have found that when we start players younger we see stronger s ck skills, game awareness, and learning the rules. My biggest thing with the youth is let’s have fun. It is so important to be a part of something, to develop friendships, exercise, and develop a strong sense of self-worth. I have always been a believer in developing strong communi es by crea ng opportuni es to par cipate in sports and for me that has been providing them a chance to play ﬁeld hockey.” One such opportunity is the Harleysville Hockey Camp, which has been running for 55 years as an opportunity to grow or ﬁrst get interested in the sport when kids have down me in the summer. “The biggest thing is its fun and a great opportunity to try ﬁeld hockey,” Waldspurger said. “It’s only ﬁve days and is designed to meet the need based on age and level. You can request a friend and campers are placed on teams from players from their school and area. Camp has been so successful because many parents send their kids because they remember the fun mes they had at camp.”
nfhca newsletter Strikers (continued) Each club at Souderton Strikers par cipates in six local tournaments, which has included events at United Sports in Downingtown, WC Eagles in Po stown, Vipers in Limerick and Spooky Nook in Lancaster. The teams are prominent compe tors at the Na onal Indoor Tournament (NIT), with seven squads par cipa ng this season and both the U10 and U14 Red winning tles in their pool. The club has also par cipated in na onal tournaments. For Waldspurger, the head coach at Dock Mennonite High School, putng her clubs up against top-notch compe on is a key component for the college recruitment process. “Recrui ng for college ﬁeld hockey can be a very overwhelming process and many people don’t know how to go about it,” she said. “I oﬀer as much support to my players at the high school and club level as I can and talk about diﬀerent levels of playing in college. I always believe if you want to play in college there is a spot for you. The biggest thing is ge ng yourself out there. No one can recruit you if they don’t know who you are so you have to a end showcases, camps and clinics and have video of both indoor and outdoor. You have to really be persistent.” Mostly, the key to any successful club or program is just providing the opportuni es for involvement. “Field Hockey is a great sport,” Waldspurger said. “It’s a crea ve game where skills and game strategies can change based on ﬁeld condi ons and number of players. Now as we have grown the sport so much we have more opportuni es to play in youth, middle and high school as well as college and a er.”
Stonehill, DII Schools Take Part in 5K to Fundraise for Childhood Cancer Fund Courtesy of Stonehill Athle c Communica ons EASTON, Mass. - Supported by NCAA Division II ﬁeld hockey programs around the country, Stonehill College sophomore back MacKenzie Greenberg and the Skyhawks ﬁeld hockey program raised $3,000 for the Arms Wide Open Childhood Cancer Fund with its Athletes Crush Cancer 5K run on campus in March. Inspired by Greenberg, who was diagnosed with thyroid cancer sophomore at Hopedale High School and con nues her ba le to this day, Stonehill ﬁeld hockey head coach Susan Ciufo assisted her in organizing the 5K race as a fundraiser along with Athletes Crush Cancer. The response was overwhelming, not just on the Stonehill campus, but throughout the ﬁeld hockey community as 18 fellow NCAA Division II programs, including nine of its 14 fellow Northeast-10 Conference teams, made dona ons and par cipated in their own way, including running the 5K on their campuses the weekend of the event. “I just wanted to give back to what Athletes Crush Cancer has done,” said Greenberg of the fundraiser. “It turned out to be so much more than I ever expected when we started to plan it a month ago. Thanks to the D2 Challenge and the support of the other ﬁeld hockey programs around the country, it turned into so much more than I could have an cipated and to me, that means the world.” Behind the support of Millersville University head coach Shelly Behrens’ challenge to all ﬁeld hockey programs in Division II to support Greenberg’s 5K, the following programs all contributed in some way: Assumpon, Bloomsburg, East Stroudsburg, Franklin Pierce, Lindenwood, LIU Post, Mercy, Mercyhurst, Millersville, New Haven, Pace, Saint Anselm, Saint Michael’s, Seton Hill, Slippery Rock, Southern Connec cut State, Southern New Hampshire and West Chester. Fellow Stonehill teams that supported the event were: Women’s Basketball, Women’s Lacrosse, Men’s and Women’s Soccer, Men’s and Women’s Cross Country/Track & Field. “It was such an amazing day for ‘Mack,’ the coaching staﬀ and team,” said Ciufo. “We are just so touched by the amount of people that showed up on campus and the support of the ﬁeld hockey teams around Division II running their own 5Ks on their campuses. The amount of support by so many means so much.”
nfhca newsletter USFHL National Championship to Showcase Best of Local Clubs By Ma Dougherty, NFHCA Director of Communica ons The United States Field Hockey League (USFHL) Na onal Championship will take place from July 28-30 at Spooky Nook in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, with eight men’s and eight women’s teams compe ng to be crowned as the best adult team in the country. Kendra Lucking, the non-proﬁt director for the USFHL, has been busy coordina ng the event which will allow the best adult teams from local leagues the opportunity to compete to be the 2017 USFHL Na onal Champions. “When cha ng with adult leaders in ﬁeld hockey over the past two years, we iden ﬁed that the ﬁrst step in us coming together and growing the game for adults na onally is to have a compe on for the strongest teams to compete to be na onal champions. USFHL is designed to serve all levels of local and na onal adult ﬁeld hockey, but our ﬁrst step needed to be a men’s and women’s adult championship. In the ﬁrst year we wanted to keep it small so we could work out the kinks. We’ll kick oﬀ with something special so people will want to come back.” The USFHL Na onal Championship is not a pay-to-play tournament, and teams had to qualify from their local leagues. Conﬁrmed teams in the women’s tournament include Rovers Greenwich FHC (N.Y.) , Lancaster United (Pa.) Bal more Field Hockey Associa on, DC Dragons, NCAFH (North Carolina), Miami Surf and Olympic Club (Northern California). The men’s event will feature Greenwich (N.Y.) Field Hockey Club, DC Dragons, Miami Surf,Philly Premier FHA, and Texas FHC. Addi onal teams will be conﬁrmed as the event draws closer. “There are a lot of strong leagues providing great adult ﬁeld hockey thanks to passionate local leaders who put in a ton of me of eﬀort for adults to con nue playing the sport, o en with li le thanks and credit. A primary goal of USFHL is to support them through technology, marke ng, events, and coming together to strengthen the pipeline and the na onal community ” Lucking said. “Some notable successful leagues providing top hockey include NEFHA in New York, the Federa on in Southern California, and BAFHA & NFHCA in Northern California which oﬀers separate men’s and women’s compe on. Texas oﬀers a compe ve men’s league and PFHA in Philadelphia has a strong women’s league. Other successful co-ed leagues include NEPL in Boston, Triangle in North Carolina, BFHA in Bal more which is the oldest ﬁeld hockey associa on, and DC Dragons. Perhaps the most exci ng thing for me to see this year were forma ons of new leagues for example in Florida and Georgia in the Southeast and also WFHA, VA Beach, and Triangle formed leagues to provide localized cost eﬀec ve op ons for their athletes. Many of the leaders from these communi es are on the advisory board of USFHL guiding the organiza on’s next steps.” The USFHL Na onal Championship will be played the weekend before the 2017 Men’s and Women’s Pan American Cup, which takes place at Spooky Nook from August 4-13. The Pan Am Cup athletes will be prac cing at the site while the USFHL Na onal Championship is being held. “Making it the weekend before the Pan Am Cup will provide an exci ng background so it can be special even though there will only be 16 teams this year,” Lucking said. In addi on to the tournament, the USFHL Na onal Championship weekend will include a conven on, social and North vs South all-star game. Lucking says a goal for 2018 is to double the par cipa on . Many communi es were excited about the opportunity but were not able to submit teams in 2017, but have plans in place so that teams can qualify from their area in 2018. She hopes to see growing compe on at the local level as the na onal championship event develops. “Teams had to be selected through local compe on, and we are u lizing local hockey to be able to compete in na onals,” Lucking said. “This is a compe on of the best teams in the na on, not the best all-stars or someone who has friends that could come in. There are rules behind local parcipa on so it truly is a compe on between the best teams. We want to spotlight the club teams to grow local par cipa on since we don’t have huge adult club par cipa on in the United States compared to some other countries.” Vernon Vassou, the co-captain of DC Dragons, said his team is excited for the challenge of compe ng against other top squads around the country. “The na onal tournament provides the DC Dragons an opportunity to compete at a na onal level, and exposes our players to a higher standard of hockey,” Vassou said. “To represent the DC Metro area is a great honor and a source of pride. We have reached out to players throughout our region to have good representa on.”
nfhca newsletter USFHL National Championship (continued)
Lucking said the USFHL is a non-proﬁt that is dedicated to growing the game, and doing so at the adult level will keep players engaged a er they have completed collegiate compe on. “Whenever players graduate, a lot of mes they get ques ons on how to get plugged into the game,” Lucking said. “We are organizing, providing structure and growing in one place so adults know the website or place to go so that they can get plugged in to play.” Prospec ve players can go to USFHL.com to ﬁnd out more about the organiza on and what is going on at local levels throughout the country. Lucking said the website is key so players will have a central loca on to get informa on and not just rely on word of mouth. “When we work together the adult community can get coverage and marke ng through the big ﬁeld hockey organiza ons,” she said. “Players can then get plugged in locally where local organiza ons would not have that power by themselves.” Lucking has helped start, coach, and managed a number of youth ﬁeld hockey clubs in San Francisco, and believes that building the adult game will have a las ng eﬀect on youth in the sport as well. Once adults are engaged in the game in their local communi es, Lucking hopes to see a family sport dynamic and a stronger pipeline for athletes for a trickle-down eﬀect to get more youth engaged and involved in ﬁeld hockey. Lucking hopes to see the championship not only grow from year one to year two, but to con nue to blossom as the local leagues develop and ﬁeld hockey par cipa on picks up across the country. She hopes that post-collegiate players from all diﬀerent levels will be engaged in con nuing their careers a er gradua on. “The ﬁrst year and probably next year is star ng out with the most compe ve teams, but in the future we want to break into er one and er two to pull in more ﬁeldhouses and rec leagues at a diﬀerent level to really see growth, par cularly with men,” Lucking said. “Tier one and er two would support the broader type of athlete and get more engaged with adults so they are giving something back. That way you would have the social tournaments as well that are really popular in other countries. Also in two-to-three years we want to support indoor ﬁeld hockey for adults and also have more fundraising through corporate sponsorship and events for the local leagues to help mi gate the costs for athletes.” She added, “When I let myself get very excited about the poten al of adult growth, I think ten years from now when clubs from youth through adult are larger there can be more partnering with colleges and other facili es for more access to the astroturf surfaces since that is what adults want to play on and is probably the biggest limi ng factor in growing the game for adults.”
nfhca newsletter Field Hockey Student-Athletes Honored by CoSIDA By Ma Dougherty, NFHCA Director of Communica ons Fi een ﬁeld hockey student-athletes received recogni on for their success on the turf and in the classroom with a spot on the College Sports Informa on Directors Associa on (CoSIDA) Women’s Academic All-America At-Large Teams. Messiah’s Lindsay Bower led the way in Division III with a selec on to the ﬁrst team, while Rochester’s Sayaka Abe, Tu s’ Annie Artz, Skidmore’s Becca Halter and Worcester Polytechnic’s Hope Shevchuk were on the second team. Making the list in Division I were Liberty’s Serena Barr, Kent State’s Ines Delpech, Albany’s Paula Heuser, Hofstra’s Stella Schoen and Quinnpiac’s Angie King on the second team, with American’s Natalie Konerth on the third team. Four student-athletes who recently completed their senior year made the list in Division II, with East Stroudsburg’s Emily Howell, Bloomsburg’s Samantha Peters and Millersville’s Margaret Thorwart on the second team and East Stroudsburg’s Danielle Ard on the third team. Fourteen of the 15 student-athletes completed their senior season in 2016, while Delpech will be a senior at Kent State next season. The 15 honorees had previously earned a spot on the CoSIDA Women’s Academic All-District At-Large Teams, where they were joined by 10 addional ﬁeld hockey student-athletes. Montclair State’s Danielle Butrico, Camille Maimone and Megan Roeloﬀs, Muhlenburg’s Emily Boyle and Rachel Strow, Mount Holyoke’s Elizabeth DiCesare and Elizabethtown’s Halley Donlin received the All-District honor in Division III, Duke’s Robin Blazing and Wake Forest’s Jessy Silfer were selected in Division I and Kutztown’s Courtney Konowal was among the All-District honorees in Division II. The Academic All-America and All-District teams recognize student-athletes for their combined performance athle cally and in the classroom. The Women’s At-Large Team is comprised of student-athletes from the sports of beach volleyball, bowling, crew/rowing, fencing, golf, gymnas cs, ice hockey, lacrosse, riﬂe, skiing, swimming, tennis and water polo in addi on to ﬁeld hockey. All 25 student-athletes previously made the Zag Field Hockey/Na onal Field Hockey Coaches Associa on (NFHCA) Na onal Academic Squad announced in March, while 15 of the honorees also made the Zag Field Hockey/NFHCA Scholars of Dis nc on lists for holding a cumula ve gradepoint average of 3.9 or higher through the spring semester. Barr, Thorwart and Halter were the Zag Field Hockey/NFHCA Na onal Scholar-Athlete honorees for their respec ve divisions for maintaining the highest GPA among student-athletes who earned All-America status in 2016.
nfhca newsletter Coaches Corner: Yale Assistant Jessica Barnett Flow drills serve as a great way to incorporate many diﬀerent fundamental aspects of the game into a larger-scale situa on. At the end of the day, if you strip this ﬂow drill down to its basics, the drill is passing, receiving, and ming your leads appropriately. However, when you put it all together it becomes a li le more complicated. The idea behind crea ng complexity is to get your athletes to simulate taking informa on in the way they may have to in a game. We want our athletes to think more on their own, and get away from the habit of trea ng a drill like a drill. To note, things will break down if people don’t know what they are doing, if the leads are oﬀ, and if the fundamentals are poor. Therefore, it’s important that athletes are focusing on every aspect of the drill. Right Side Flow Drill: Requires: 10 Balls, 4 Cones, and 8 players The objec ve of the drill is: • Movement into the play a er passing • Leading to open spaces • Fundamentals *X2 makes a lead in front of the cones to receive the ball from X1 on their forehand *X1 makes a forward lead while X2 curls to face up ﬁeld *X3 starts to make a med lead out wide to the right-side line –get feet facing forward for an over the shoulder recep on *X2 sends a small shave pass to X1 on the move *X2 follows the play, and is beginning to make a med lead to receive pass 4 from X3 *X1 sweeps the ball ahead to X3, X3 then gives a square pass to X2 who has joined the play *X4 makes lead back towards the play, receives pass from X2 and begins to drive baseline *X3 joins the play and mes lead to be at the top of the circle as X4 is ready to release a dogleg pass to X3 *X3 ﬁnishes with a shot on goal Rota on: X1 goes to X2, X2 goes to X3, X3 goes to X4, X4 goes to back of the line Le Side Flow Drill *X2 makes a lead in front of the cones to receive the ball from X1 on their forehand *X1 makes a forward lead while X2 faces up ﬁeld *X3 starts to make a med lead out wide to the le side line –get feet facing forward for an over the shoulder reverse recep on *X2 sends a small pass to X1 on the move *X2 follows the play, and is beginning to make a med lead to receive pass 4 from X3 *X1 sweeps the ball ahead to X3, X3 then gives a square pass to X2 who has joined the play *X4 makes lead back towards the play, receives pass from X2 and begins to drive baseline *X3 joins the play and mes lead to be at the top of the circle as X4 curls strong and is ready to release a dogleg pass to X3 *X3 ﬁnishes with a shot on goal Rota on: X1 goes to X2, X2 goes to X3, X3 goes to X4, X4 goes to back of the line Transfer Flow Drill The Transfer Flow Drill is where we get a li le more complicated. We now have the ability to choose which direc on to go (le of right) because we are in the middle of the ﬁeld. We work on this because there are so many instances in a game when we are going forward, and it simply just isn’t on. Defenders have clogged the channel we are trying to go down, and we struggle to realize this and end up being dispossessed. We need the ability to recognize that the space is no longer in front of, and to use the space on the other side of the ﬁeld (big side). We achieve this by using the backspace and going around. *X2 starts the drill by making a lead around the cones. *X1 passes the ball into X2, X1 makes the decision to lead le or right. *X1 leads to the right, and receives ball back from X2 *X4 has made lead into wide/back space and receives ball from X1 *X2 makes lead into the forward space above the ball and asks for ball down the line from X4 X1 has joined the play, and has occupied the space in the middle of the ﬁeld to be a transfer op on X2 tracks forward with the ball and realizes the space is back and behind X1 receives the ball from X2 in the middle of the ﬁeld X3 has made a lead wide to the le side of the ﬁeld X1 completes the transfer to X3 X5 makes a lead ahead of the ball carrier, and receives the ball on the move going forward X5 drives the baseline, while X3 is joining the play to be a dogleg pass at the top of the circle X5 curls strong, and passed the ball back to x3 X3 ﬁnishes the drill by scoring
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