Field Hockey Gaining Momentum in Tennessee

March 12, 2019, 5 p.m. (ET)

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. - March 12, 2019 - Sixty Clarksville-Montgomery County District elementary, middle and high school physical education teachers gathered together last Thursday for a USA Field Hockey Foundations Course as part of their professional development training. This course is targeted toward teachers or coaches with little to no field hockey experience. Through the course teachers are introduced to the basics of field hockey and provided with the tools to teach, coach and play the sport with enthusiasm and confidence, all while having fun along the way.

Andrea McCarthy, Clarksville-Montgomery County School teacher and Nashville Field Hockey Club coach and player, worked with the Clarksville-Montgomery County School District (serves more than 35,000 K-12 students) to make the event possible. McCarthy played a key role in the Foundations Course that was delivered this past January with the Williamson County School District (serves more than 40,000 P-12 students). McCarthy and the Nashville Field Hockey Club (founded by Neil and Pam Pdden) hope that by hosting a Foundation Course for two of the larger school districts in the state will help to increase exposure of the sport and continue to fuel growth of the game in the greater Nashville area.

USA Field Hockey successfully delivered an engaging and educational Foundations Course with the help from Mary Beth Bletsas, Karen Judge and Jennifer Mertz. Mertz, Glenbard West High School junior varsity coach and local youth coach; Judge, Glenbard West High School varsity coach, retired physical education teacher and a 2019 PCA Double-Goal Coach Finalist; and Bletsas, community organizer and youth coach, made the 7-hour trek down from Glen Ellyn, Ill. to help deliver the course. All three have had experience growing the game in their local communities and were excited to be a part of the new growth in Nashville. In addition, USA Field Hockey had help from a USA umpire and proud father of three collegiate field hockey athletes, Michael Clark. Clark was also a crucial element in the delivery of the Foundations Course held back in January.

USA Field Hockey staff, Liz Tchou, Senior Manager of Coach Education and Learning; Sally Goggin, National Development Director; and Jenna Ortega, Sport Development Manager, were excited to work with McCarthy and the Nashville Field Hockey Club to organize the course and support the grassroots work that is being done. Tchou and Ortega paid a visit to the Nashville Field Hockey Club practice later in the day and offered a helping hand.

“It’s been exciting to see the growth and progress of the club over recent months,” said Ortega. “I was excited to have the opportunity to speak and work with the players. The excitement and joy are so evident in the players, that’s what growing the game is all about.”


The Nashville Field Hockey Club has over forty boys and girls participating as well as offers adult play for coaches, parents and Nashville residents on the weekends. With the recent Foundations Courses being hosted in the greater Nashville area, there is an opportunity for thousands of kids to be exposed to the sport through physical education classes in the upcoming year.

USA Field Hockey would like to thank McCarthy, Neil Padden and Pam Padden for their continuous efforts to grow the game in the greater Nashville area. Thank you to the wonderful volunteers that helped make the course possible, Mertz, Judge, Bletsas and Clark. USA Field Hockey would like to especially thank all of the enthusiastic, curious and willing to learn physical education teachers that were in attendance.

Schools who are interested in learning more about field hockey in the Nashville area or about hosting a Foundations Course can contact