USA Field Hockey Weekly Report-Week of July 25, 2011

July 27, 2011, 9:53 a.m. (ET)
USA Field Hockey Weekly Report-Week of July 25, 2011 
This past weekend the 1st Annual USA Field Hockey National Club Championship presented by Harrow Sports was conducted on the SportsQuest complex near Richmond, Virginia. Sixty four teams competed (thirty two U17 and thirty two U19) for the USA Field Hockey National Club Championship designation, and the competition was hot (literally), fast, and furious. This new event serves a unique role in our sport. It is positioned to provide a platform for elite competition for young athletes, the premier level of competition within the club game. The concept has been met with great enthusiasm from all stakeholders, and now we will look to build on this first year success. That means encouraging an ever higher level of competition, exploring regional qualifiers, and considering other age groups.

The temperatures were brutal. Each day of the four day event had temperatures exceeding 100 degrees fahrenheit with the exception of the finals on Sunday. The athletes participating, the coaches coaching in the trenches, and moms and dads were tough throughout, and our staff with their organizational skills, and super set of volunteers never missed a beat. It would have been easy to panic with the epic temperatures and the occasional stormy skies, but beat-missing was not in the cards and the tournament was a great new addition in the USA Field Hockey quiver of annual events.

There are literally hundreds of people required to stage an event like the USA Field Hockey National Club Championship. Our national office staff was led by Karen Collins, one of the calmest individuals ever invented and a person perfectly suited for event production. Events of this size are detail laden and often full of surprises. Karen is masterful at eliminating surprises. Helping KC along the way were USAFH national staff members Simon Hoskins, Ashley Meunier, Katelyn Nerbonne, Simone Attles, Laura Darling, Steve Horgan, and a cast of many, many volunteers. Anthony Gulotta, USA Field Hockey Board of Directors member, was also on hand and pitched in.

The staff at SportsQuest was terrific. Chris Robertson led the SportsQuest group in keeping the facilities up, running, and clean. Finally, an often unheralded group was the umpiring cadre. The umpire group was just over-the-moon productive. Imagine 38 umpires working at least four games a day keeping up with teenagers in weather temperatures on the actual pitches exceeding 110 degrees fahrenheit. If we were in the business of awarding medals they would have all received Medal of Honor presentations.

Overall, it was a fabulous event and one that will only get better as the years go by. For those of you who attended, I hope you enjoyed it even though it was a bit warm. For those of you not there, I hope you will make it in subsequent years as much high quality hockey was staged over the four day event. Finally, congratulations to our new U17 and U19 National Club Champions, Spirit of USA and PennLanco, and to all of the other clubs who competed.    

Last week’s report stimulated many readers to write in offering up opinions on the recommendations being made by the USA Field Hockey Club Task Force. The recommendations were paradigm changing recommendations, and that was why it was so important for us to receive input. The principal concern expressed to us was regarding the requirement to Decllare a club and then stick with that club exclusively for a year’s time. Here is what we said about that last week in the weekly report:

Starting this late summer we propose to be enforcing Player Affiliation. What this means is that each member may affiliate with one Member Club and only participate in USA Field Hockey events for that Member club throughout the year. The club game has grown in recent years and together with this growth has been an increase in intensity of competition with a resulting number of issues around athletes and which club they play for (i.e. there have been issues of players jumping from one club to another). In line with other sports, the CATF i s recommending to require members to affiliate to a specific club. There will be an Open Registration period of August 1st to September 15th of each year starting this year where athletes may switch clubs on their membership profile on After September 15th members may only be on the rosters of their affiliated club in USA Field Hockey events in 2012 onwards) until the following Open Registration period (note that Festival 2011 is excluded from this process). All members will be emailed full details of this policy and instructions in coming weeks.


As there are many details within policies such as this (nothing is simple), and we recognize there are circumstances that pop up time to time that a black and white policy cannot respond, we have inserted some gray. Without going into laborious detail, we think this piece of the pie will resolve many concerns:


USA Field Hockey will be implementing a guest player policy which will allow up to three player guests to join other teams for events.  This should help with the situations many concerned responders had to the new Player Affiliation policy. Insofar as clubs splitting in order to get more teams, we are aware of this potential loophole and are developing an application process for clubs.  Once this policy is confirmed, clubs will need to show some level of club structure to join as a member club.  Clubs will just not be able to join as a member club without going through the application process.

USA Field Hockey On-Line Umpire Briefing to be held on August 10th. Following the extraordinary success of USA Field Hockey's 2010 National Rules Briefing, we are proud to announce the 2011 National Rules Briefing for coaches, players and umpires.

More people attended last year's briefing than any single briefing held in the United States and they paid a registration fee for the privilege. This year, based on suggestions from those who attended, we've made changes to the format. Further, we are utilizing new technology from the United States Olympic Committee and, therefore, are able to provide the briefing at no cost to those interested in attending.

 This year's briefing will take place on August 10, 2011 at 7:00pm EDT and will last approximately one and a half hours including a question and answer session. Unlike last year, the live briefing will not be available as a video on-demand production at the conclusion of the briefing.

 The 2011 National Rules Briefing presenter will be Steve Horgan, National Umpire and Technical Manager, and interpreter for the Rules of Hockey and the NCAA modifications. Steve will provide us with up-to-date training on the latest rules, interpretations, and current practices. This is especially important now that there are very few remaining differences between the Rules of Hockey, NCAA modifications, and the rules published by the National Federation of State High School Associations.

 One of the favorite parts of last year's briefing was when Steve answered your questions live. This year, while the live briefing is in progress, you can submit questions on the same screen without using any other software. Questions will be selected and responded to during and at the end of the session.  In the meantime, questions submitted to the ASK THE UMPIRE feature on may be selected for the briefing. To submit your questions prior to the briefing, go to 

Although it is not mandatory to do so, we ask our hockey community to click here and register. Registration is FREE and you DO NOT need to be a USA Field Hockey member (although it would be nice as there is some cost to the association to produce this event).  The web address to the briefing will be posted the week of August 1. Click here to register.

 Jimmy Kimmel Live!: ‘The United States’ soccer team lost to Japan, which means we’re now losing to Japan in math, science, and penalty kicks.’

Have a great week!

Steve Locke
Executive Director
USA Field Hockey