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WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif. - December 9, 2019 - More than 80 California field hockey stakeholders and community sports leaders attended the 2019 California Field Hockey Symposium, presented by AstroTurf, on Saturday, December 7 in Westlake Village, Calif. to network and collaborate around growing and developing the sport throughout the state for players, coaches, umpires and fans.
The Symposium was made possible and affordable by funding from the USA Field Hockey Foundation, United States Men’s Field Hockey Foundation and AstroTurf, and was the first state specific conference of its kind.
USA Field Hockey’s Executive Director Simon Hoskins welcomed attendees with a brief update on the state of play in the country and region, reaffirming the organizations commitment to growing the game and serving members through regionalization.
“Growing the game and succeeding internationally go hand in hand," said Hoskins. "Growth will help Team USA to succeed and succeeding will help fuel growth and development.”
“California has unlimited potential for growth, with a strong history and tradition of field hockey among men and women, more than 40 million residents, the fifth strongest economy in the world," stated Marc Bakerman, California Cup Tournament Director. “The Olympic Games are coming back to Los Angeles in 2028, which means that our future Olympians are between the ages of 10 and 26 right now. We want these players to be home grown.”
The Symposium included inspiration from Tom Harris, the patriarch of California field hockey, Aaron Sher and Alva Serrette, Field Hockey Competition Directors for the Los Angeles 1984 and Atlanta 1996 Olympic Games respectively, and Bev Johnson, one of USA Field Hockey’s “Golden Girls.” Many Olympians and former U.S. Men's and Women's National Team athletes and coaches were also in attendance to inspire and share their experiences, including:
- Patrick Cota
- Steve Danielson
- Shawn Hindy
- Tiffany Snow Huisman
- Lenny McCaigue
- Caroline Nelson-Nichols
- Shellie Onstead
- Craig Parnham
- Jill Reeve
- Brian Schledorn
- Pam Stuper
The landscape of field hockey was described by several panelists across multiple stakeholder groups. All three California NCAA Division I head coaches attended to show their leadership and support and to address the goal of increasing the California collegiate footprint. Those head coaches are Britt Broady from University of California, Davis, Shellie Onstead from University of California, Berkeley, and Tara Danielson from Stanford University.
Additional panels made up of California leaders included:
- Umpires: Jeff Chandler, Christine Couteau, Dave Jackson, Mike Lipka
- High School and Futures: Caitlin Beatty, Tiffany Snow Huisman, Lisa McCoy, Nicole Ng, Mike Whitehead
- Club and Youth: Dave Jackson, Lifon Huynh, Tina Parrott, Poonam Sohal, Taylor Swezey
- Boys and Men: Steve Danielson, Dave Jackson, Lenny McCaigue, Ian Wagge
- Adults and Masters: Sandy Binder, Lindsay Coons, Savannah Devarney, Shawn Hindy, Kendra Lucking
USA Field Hockey's Director of Coach Education and Learning Craig Parnham and Sport Development Manager Jenna Ortega introduced the USA Field Hockey American Development Model (ADM) and the many programs, tools and resources in place to support and empower stakeholders and fuel development.
“USA Field Hockey has more resources than ever before to help individuals discover and learn the sport," said Ortega. "Field hockey is a sport for life, for boys and girls of all ages. It’s fun, safe and affordable and one of the most popular sports in the world. We encourage everyone interested in learning more about starting a program to look online at usafieldhockey.com/ADM or contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.”
The presenting sponsor of the Symposium was USA Field Hockey’s longtime partner, AstroTurf. Melissa Vassalotti Twist, AstroTurf's Director of Field Hockey, was joined by Stephen Niven, parent company Sport Group’s CEO for the Asia Pacific Region. Alastair Cox, International Hockey Federation's Facilities and Quality Program Manager, joined Twist in a discussion about the different types of surfaces for field hockey, from grass to wet turf, and what innovations AstroTurf has for the sport. Twist informed the group that the City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks already has more than 50 top quality AstroTurf fields installed and available for play throughout California.
Finally, Kendall Beveridge, the Community Outreach Chair for the Olympic Club field hockey team in San Francisco, presented the California Regionalization Plan, a program that is being piloted in California to fuel and support growth and development throughout the state. California will be one of the first formal Chapters of USA Field Hockey in the new regionalization model. A California Regionalization Committee consisting of Bakerman, Beverage, Sally Goggin, Ortega, Chip Rogers, Swezey, Keely Tamer and Whitehead developed the plan and will optimize it based on feedback from Symposium attendees. Over a year ago, an informal “Add Hockey” Committee was formed in Michigan and has been working to improve communication, support local grassroots efforts and promote the sport. The plan is for this committee to be converted to a formal Michigan Chapter Pilot Program along with California.
“Symposium was a great opportunity to meet, listen and learn from the California field hockey community, to network with them and local sports leaders who have the capacity to provide field hockey opportunities in California,” said Goggin, USA Field Hockey’s National Development Director. “We were thrilled to have such a great turnout of stakeholders and representatives from Los Angeles Recreation and Parks, LA City Council and school and club leaders and administrators. By working together with influential sports and grassroots leaders, and by providing structure to organize and empower local and regional leaders, we can and will exponentially grow the game. This was a great step toward unity. We are looking forward to continued collaboration with the diverse California stakeholder groups.”
Click above to see a photo gallery of the weekend events, including photos from Friday’s Foundations Course held at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif., Sunday’s Coaching Field Hockey: The USA Way Workshop, Umpire Education and Coach Educator Training all held in Moorpark, Calif.
Thank you to all participants and attendees for a great weekend of field hockey in California.