Igniting the Dream from the First Stick to the World Cup

June 12, 2014, 3:52 a.m. (ET)

As we all watch Team USA take the turf on Thursday against Australia, we will see the world’s top athletes compete with skill, strength, speed and finesse. With 15,000 fans chanting “U-S-A” in Kyocera Stadium and folks across the globe tuning in, it’s hard to imagine where it all began. However, it wasn’t too long ago that these athletes were struggling with yard stick pulls on a bumpy grass field or attempting 10 consecutive air dribbles.

“It feels like yesterday that my father took me and my friends to watch the U.S. Team play prior to the '84 Games,” said 1996 Olympian and Sport Development Manager, Liz Tchou. “It’s an experience I’ve never forgotten and I’m so excited we are able to have the current National Team work with this age group. They’ll remember this unique opportunity for a lifetime!”   

This summer, USA Field Hockey is introducing an opportunity to not only meet the stars of the 2014 Rabobank Hockey World Cup, but to also ignite the dream of youngsters nationwide. The U.S. National Team will hit the road and travel to 14 sites for the first annual Olympic Youth Camps.

“By connecting us with the next generation of dreamers, Olympic Youth Camps provide a great opportunity to share the sport we love in a fun, dynamic environment,” said U.S. Women’s National Team member, two-time Olympian, and World Cup athlete, Rachel Dawson. “It is our chance to give back, to share our stories, our sport, and most of all our smiles. It gets at the heart of sport, of what makes what we do every day so meaningful - it’s not just about us, it’s bigger than us; it’s about inspiring others with the courage to dream.”

In an effort to continue to grow the game and to allow Team USA to give back to the grassroots community, Olympic Youth Camps were introduced. Boys and girls, ages 7-13, will build fundamental skills, play games, and have an opportunity to learn from the very best. All skill levels and positions are welcome. Click here for more information!