USA Field Hockey Weekly Report- July 4, 2011

July 05, 2011, 4:07 p.m. (ET)


USA Field Hockey Weekly Report- July 4, 2011
Lille, France is the place to be The USA Men’s National Team under the leadership of coach Nick Conway is underway in competition at the FIH Champions Challenge II in Lille. Conway earlier announced a squad of eighteen players to travel to Lille for the event that will extend through July 10. “It is enormously beneficial to have qualified for Champions Challenge II as it provides our team with another opportunity to compete against excellent non-continental opposition from Europe and Asia, providing an ability to expand out hockey horizons,” said Conway. Teams will play six matches over the nine-day event. Pool A features: USA, China, Austria and the Czech Republic and Pool B features France, Ireland, Russia and Scotland. The Men's Team recently completed a test series with Trinidad and Tobago in Moorpark, CA. The series finished with three wins for USA. Nick has done a marvelous job in assembling and coaching men from a limited pool of male athletes. The athletes on board are superb and we are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel as this team is determined to achieve success.

Last week the top 13% of our top Futures athletes (646) traveled to Virginia Beach to compete in the annual National Futures Championship.  The event commenced with an Olympic themed opening ceremony and featured 38 teams; 16 teams in both the under 16 and 19 age divisions and 6 teams in the under 14 division with teams named past or futures Olympic host cities.  Each team (17 athletes)  represented athletes  from five Futures regions.  Accompanying the athletes were equally as many friend and family members.  For more information and pictures click here. 

U12 Development Task Force well under way Dr. Tej Singh, a member of the USA Field Hockey Board of Directors, is chairing the U12 Development Task Force. This group is now into their third week of meetings. Last week the group met with USA Rugby CEO Nigel Melville to learn of rugby’s grassroots efforts. USA Rugby has developed a program called Rookie Rugby. The program is similar to our existing Stick Starz and Turf Tykes programs but much simpler. The essence of the program is to get a rugby ball into the hands of youngsters and create a type of rugby, no matter how simple, that can be played on literally any surface (e.g. parking lots, indoor open areas, backyards…..anywhere). The USA Rugby membership number has now crossed the 100,000 level. Around four years ago they were at the same level of membership that we currently are (~20,000). There are many ways in which we are similar and the task force is studying the common areas. Our sport certainly has the potential for growth in U12s and beyond. We are looking forward to the outcomes from the five weeks they will use in studying and then recommending paths for us to follow. Good stuff. 

Junior National Camp is the most elite camp in the country where the 100-120 selection spots are coveted by athletes in the U17, U19 and U21 age groups.  This years participants were selected at WNC, JWNC and NFC’s.  Camp will kick off on July 12th at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA and will provide the selection ground for the 2012 Jr National Teams: U21, U19 and U17.  

Junior Olympics or JO’s is an annual event where USA FH works with AAU by selecting the 128 U16 aged athletes that are invited to participate in the event.  This years competition will take place in the Big Easy, New Orleans, LA, August 2-6.  Athletes were selected at NFC and playing in this event allows athletes to be seen again for selection to Futures Elite.

Men's Junior National Championship Tomorrow kicks off the start of the Men's Junior National Championships in Chula Vista, CA. Four teams and sixty athletes will  compete for spots on the USA Junior Men's National Team over the next four days. Ventura Red Devils, San Fransisco Gold and East Coast Juniors are also competing for regional bragging rights. The tournament will run through Sunday, July 10.   







Pam’s report Last week we started a new approach in communication to our constituencies. Pam Stuper, who is serving as interim chair of the Board of Directors, will issue a report to you from the Board’s perspective. It will come out on a monthly basis and replace my weekly report for the particular week in which she reports. Pam is a tremendous asset to this sport and has a great network of connections including the wide array of college coaches in the USA, and has very significant international impact as she also serves as a member of the FIH executive committee. She is a lovely writer and I am sure she would enjoy hearing from you as she reflects on what is occurring.

And, speaking of the Board Last week the USA Field Hockey Board of Directors conducted an election to fill three vacant At-Large Board seats. Selected were:

Susan Nottingham, of the Nottingham Wealth Management Group in Norfolk, Virginia, is a Registered Investment Advisor and Accredited Asset Management Specialist (AAMS).

Susan and her husband, George, manage over a $100 million in assets for their clients under the umbrella of Wells Fargo Advisors. As the mother of two hockey players, one of whom is an NCAA D1 athlete, she is quite familiar with development programs within USA Field Hockey. She offers great capabilities in asset management and development. Her skills will be applicable to helping the association manage assets currently in place in investment portfolios as well as future assets to be developed through fund raising.

Jim Johnson is from Houston, Texas and is a Director at Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR). KBR is a worldwide firm involved in engineering, construction and project management of infrastructure, energy and government facilities. Both of the Johnson daughters, Shelley and Stephanie, were hockey athletes and played for the University of Michigan. Stephanie was also a member of the US U-23. He has served as the USA Field Hockey Board Chair and provided significant input to the restructure of the Board composition in 2009 through cooperative efforts with the United States Olympic Committee. Jim has continually provided contributions of governance improvement over the last several years which have made the organization more efficient.

Billie Ahluwalia from Irvine, California, serves as Controller for Sperian Respiratory Protection, USA. He also serves as chair of the USA Field Hockey Financial and Audit Committee. In his youth, Ahluwalia was a formidable hockey athlete, and his son was a member of the USA Men’s Junior  National Team. Ahluwalia has played a principal role in achieving profitability for the association, and has been a continual helpful monitor of financial flow and advisor in the development of proper transparency of financial information to the USFHA membership.

“These members all will contribute significantly as we move ahead into the 2012 Olympic year,” said Pam Stuper, interim chair of the USA Field Hockey Board of Directors. “We are facing a critical juncture for the sport as we initiate new programs and work toward qualification into the London Olympic Games.”

Jimmy Kimmel Live! “I didn’t pay much attention to history when I was in school. I try to put it all in the past.”

Have a great week! 

Steve Locke

USA Field Hockey

Executive Director