As part of USA Field Hockey's Post- Collegiate HARROWines series, staff member Kait Mitchell catches up Rutgers head field hockey coach and U.S. National Indoor Team member Meredith Long for a quick Q & A.
“Mm, can you move that dresser over there?”
“No, a little more to the right.”
As a new abode owner and Harrow Cup captain, Meredith Long has a knack for strategizing, which was noted when she balanced our interview and uprooting her furniture simultaneously. It helps that the U.S. National Indoor athlete has a substantial amount of practice with the art of organizing. As the current head coach of Rutgers University, Long has practice picking and perfecting squads since her days of mentoring field hockey players at the University of Vermont followed by coaching at Towson University. A member of the National Field Hockey Coaches Association and a 2005 University of Maryland grad, Long ran through her Rolodex of recruiting and coaching expertise to make her Harrow Cup team Titan worthy of $10,000. So whether a sofa or an athlete, Long will find their perfect placement.
KM: What tactics will you pull from your coaching experience and into your new leadership role as a Cup Captain?
ML: My team is built from quite a few athletes who I have played with in college and on the U.S. National Indoor Team. During the draft I kept this image or this type of player I wanted on my team in my mind. I feel really good about my selection and the certain style I wanted to employ. You would definitely characterize us as an up-tempo team. We have quality mids and lots of speed from up front. The Titans will have a fast style of play and be on the counter attack.
KM: What has training been like with everyone so spread out?
ML: The phase we’re heading into now is to make sure we’re having training sessions as a group. Since the draft the players have taken it upon themselves to practice. Some are even involved in High Performance. We aren’t too spread out so in May we’ll be meeting at Rutgers to go over tactical stuff like penalty corner and just playing together. I’m looking to identify each player’s strengths and put them in a position that complements the team. We’re creating a structure and taking our training seriously. We’re looking to win.
KM: Can you give us a clue as to what the Titan jerseys will look like?
ML: The jerseys will have a grey Titan logo with bright orange trim. We’re also in the process of making shirts and fan gear. We’re anticipating a pretty big group of support in the stands.
KM: Out of curiosity, as a philosophy major do you have any sort of additional edge over your opponents?
ML: As a player and a coach I try to create a culture and an environment where a team can really be successful and believe in what they’re trying to do. I’m constantly conscious of projecting contagious enthusiasm to make that environment a reality and pull from my philosophy background to do so.
KM: What will you do with your earnings if your team wins the 2013 Harrow Cup?
ML: I haven’t quite decided that yet. I have thought about using that money and somehow giving back to the sport and continuing to grow the game even more. Or who knows maybe I’ll take a trip to Disney World.
KM: To you, why is it important to encourage post-collegiate hockey?
ML: It’s really exciting that women our age who once no longer had a real outlet like this have an opportunity to get competitive again. We have athletes who are dusting off their sticks and getting back out there. How exciting is that?