Executive Director Weekly Report

March 19, 2013, 3:02 p.m. (ET)

USA Field Hockey Weekly Report-Week of March 18, 2013

Man/Boy/Family With a Stick During the recent NITs in Richmond, VA., our photographer managed to take over 5,000 photos of boys, men, and families with sticks that we will be using in a wide array of ways over time to market the sport to boys, families, and also highlight the importance of creating post-collegiate opportunities to play. This is a massive new undertaking and below within this report you will see how we are expanding our USA Field Hockey Sport Development Department to accommodate this menu of needs. We have also asked for commentaries from boys/men to describe involvement in hockey and how that involvement has affected their lives. Here is a good first one to get started. It is from Andrew Zayac, a former goalkeeper for the U.S. Junior and Senior Men's Team, who is the first to contribute to Positive Experiences: Why I Chose to Play This Sport:

This is a true story. When my high school football coach kicked me off the team for missing the homecoming game to play with the USA Men's National Team on tour in another country, he made more enemies than friends out of my teammates. The whole team followed me online cheering and sending me messages to REPRESENT the USA jersey during the finals (complaining it wasn't on ESPN for them to see). Real athletes know the win is only as sweet as the size of the challenge. It is never easy, but it is always worth it. 

By the way, two weeks later I got a sincere apology from my football coach and a polite request to swap my beloved Obo GK pads for football pads for the playoffs. He is lucky as field hockey was slow that winter. 

I think the core reason I have been enamored with field hockey since I touched a stick when I was 9 is that it always comes with adventures. The tournaments, road-trips, crazy stories, and the lifelong friends I have made along sidelines testing the Gatorade and getting a tan. Field hockey is a game where a smart novice can beat a rushed expert so every team is the underdog. Every game is a challenge and chance to compete against new athletes and test all the work put in on the practice pitch with your teammates and coaches. Once you learn which side of the stick to use and to look up, you realize you are playing for all the other guys around you who want to work just as hard for you. Everyone wins. 

Andrew Zayac 

USA Field Hockey Philanthropy Committee Chair Since last year, USA Field Hockey has embarked in an effort to develop a legitimate fund-raising capacity to better help underwrite many of the programs we are bringing to the forefront to develop the sport. A good example of development was our first year effort in 2012 of attracting nearly 20,000 new athletes between the ages of 7-12 to be introduced to hockey. FUNdamental Field Hockey was the driver in that effort. FUNdamental Field Hockey is a simple program designed to introduce a new population of athletes of both genders into hockey and our go-forward efforts are now to provide for retention of these new youngsters. In 2013, our developmental efforts are expanding to include young athletes, a diversity of athletes, post-collegiate opportunities, and the development of folks into supporting roles such as umpiring. It is all very ambitious, and requires a lot of funding to properly underwrite.

In March 2012, USA Field Hockey hired its first-ever fund-raising manager. She is Meagan Connolly. Meagan was formerly a fund-raising manager for College of the Holy Cross near Boston and was a collegiate hockey player for the University of Maine.  The business of fund-raising is fundamentally a momentum business. As an organization, it is crucial to be more effective in targeting individuals with interests in hockey and presenting them opportunities to help develop legacy programs to grow the sport. Meagan is still working on base needs for fund-raising and is reaching out to those interested in nourishing opportunities for all ages of new and older involved people of hockey. To coincide with her efforts, we have developed a

USA Field Hockey Philanthropy Committee. We are now seeking a chair for that committee who has significant fund-raising experience and would enjoy working alongside Meagan and the other committee members to develop new and exciting avenues for members to get involved in developing programming and helping find ways to underwrite them. If you have an interest, please contact Rene’ Zelkin, the chair of the USA Field Hockey Board of Directors (rzelkin@usafieldhockey.com). 

The U.S. Women's Indoor Squad is in Buenos Aires, Argentina, ready to compete in a series of friendlies against Argentina and Uruguay, March 21-28. The series will be preparation for the 2014 Indoor Pan American Cup as well as the 2013 Junior Indoor Pan American Cup. It is a critical step for our squad in the journey towards the ultimate goal of competing at the 2015 Indoor World Cup. Good luck to our Women's Team and Go USA!

This is big! We continue to make strong progress in our work in the sport development area and now have placed it under the overall campaign theme of ‘Grow the Game’. After a very positive first year focused on the youth development program, FUNdamental Field Hockey, the natural evolution of our Youth Development initiatives are to now embrace development of the game as a whole evolving to be our USA Field Hockey Sport Development department. With this in mind, Liz Tchou, USA Field Hockey Sport Development Senior Manager,  and her team have been tasked with an expanded portfolio for the sport which includes the grassroots development of boys, adults, coaches, and umpires as well as initiatives targeted at diversity and inclusion You Go GirlNational Field Hockey Day and the equipment grant program Play it Forward.

USA Field Hockey will use programs and initiatives to introduce the sport to boys and girls, develop new coaches and officials, provide additional playing opportunities for kids, men and post-collegiate athletes and expose our sport in new and non-traditional communities.  

The following are title changes and promotions that I am delighted to share with you:  Liz Tchou,  Sport Development Senior Manager, Simone Attles, Sport Development Manager and Courtney Tavener, Sport Development Coordinator.  Liz's team will be in charge of the 'Grow the Game' campaign which will start at the grassroots level and move onwards and upwards towards strengthening the base of field hockey in this country.  

Together, let's Grow the Game!  

Conan: “McDonald's has introduced a yoke-free Egg McMuffin has only 260 calories. After hearing this, every McDonald's customer said, "Sweet, I'll have six of them."


Have a great week!!

Steve Locke
Executive Director

USA Field Hockey