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USA Field Hockey Weekly Report-Week of June 20, 2011

June 21, 2011, 10:03 a.m. (ET)

USA Field Hockey Weekly Report-Week of June 20, 2011
As mentioned in last week's report, we are now in a critical period for both the Women's and Men's National Teams. Last week the Men's Team  played Trinidad and Tobago in Moorpark, CA, and won three out of the four games. They next head to Lille, France in July to compete in the FIH's Champion Challenge II. The Women's  National Team are now in the final phase of the Champion's Challenge I event being held in Dublin (can be seen on live web streaming via the Irish Hockey website). Success there would put them in line for the Champion's Trophy event to be held in Argentina in February 2012. This will put them in a good place as they prepare for the Pan American Games to be held in Mexico this October.The Pan American Games will be the team's first opportunity to qualify for the 2012 Olympic Games in London. The Pan American Games are also the first opportunity for our men to qualify for London. We have high expectations for both teams. The time in building toward this opportunity has been a long road and the opportunity is now here, and we, of course, are looking toward success.

The 2nd Junior Women’s National Championship (JWNC) is off and running in Virginia Beach!  Tournament play commenced on Saturday, June 18 with a strong showing of competition.  This year’s tournament has an expanded field of six regional teams: New England, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Mid Atlantic, South and Midwest.  The teams have been training for the past six weeks with final travel squads selected ten days prior to the tournament beginning.  This is the premier tournament for Junior High Performance Athletes with selection to Junior National Camp on the line.  

The top 108 U20 athletes have made the trip to Virginia Beach and are competing in a round robin tournament that will crown a champion on Saturday, June 25.  To highlight the culmination of the JWNC the 646 top Futures athletes will ascend upon the National Training Center in Virginia Beach and celebrate their Opening Ceremonies while the JWNC athletes compete for bragging rights in the tournament final.  

These two tournaments bring the best of the best and are the future of USA Field Hockey. This year these athletes are competing in Virginia Beach but in years to come some of these athletes will be wearing the red white and blue and we’ll be cheering them on while they represent the USA at events like the Champions Challenge and Pan American Games. Good luck to all JWNC and NFC athletes!  Have fun and compete at your top level.  

The USA Field Hockey Member Club Task Force has now wrapped up their meetings, and will soon come forth with recommendations dealing with the NITs, the National Club Championship and its soon to be qualifiers, and several other topics of note including Hockey Festival. In the next several weeks, we will bring those recommendations to you (after our USA Field Hockey Board of Directors has a look). You will be impressed as this task force, led by Richard Cantwell, who has developed many forward thinking approaches that will eliminate a number of existing problems. Our feel is that task forces are highly effective as there are many different types of USA Field Hockey members on each task force dealing with fundamental issues. The club task force will be the first of many.

Looking to the future we have task forces designed to meet some ongoing issues we face as an organization and also will be following the many elements within our strategic plan. On the docket (and, beginning this week) will be the U12 Development Task Force chaired by Dr. Tej Singh. The principal work this group will deal with is the development of the game for thousands of youngsters in the under 12 age group. Upon the conclusion of that task force's work (in around five weeks' time) the next task force will come into play. The new task force will cast 'sunshine' on our current Futures program. 'Sunshining' any program is healthy to determine where improvements can be made, and how to make the program more contemporary with the times. After that group completes its work, we will form a task force revolving around fund raising, development, and philanthropy.

That is the short list and the task forces will continue down the line as we determine further the needs of the organization. The task forces will always include members of USA Field Hockey and members who are involved with the various constituencies of the organization. It is all quite good stuff.

The Tonight Show with Jay Leno: 'According to a new report, only 12 percent of American high school students can pass a basic history test. That's the lowest percentage since our country was founded in 1922.'
Have a great week.
Steve Locke
Executive Director
USA Field Hockey