Each week on Wednesday, USA Field Hockey will highlight an active club from one of the nine regions around the United States to shine a spotlight on what makes Member Clubs unique. From coast-to-coast, clubs big and small will be featured to increase awareness of field hockey across the country, and administrators and coaches will have the chance to talk about initiatives, training, and favorite parts of the game. This week’s featured club from Region 11 is West Coast Riptide (WC Riptide).
Club Name: WC Riptide
History: WC Riptide was founded by Taylor Swezey in 2015 and is based out of Los Angeles. It all started when Swezey moved to the City of Angels and began coaching a seventh grade team for Harvard Westlake Middle School. She quickly realized that she wanted her athletes to have more playing opportunities starting at a younger age. Having grown up in Pennsylvania, she began playing and had many more opportunities than the kids she was coaching in California. At the time, there were no active field hockey clubs in Los Angeles proper, so she had to build from scratch. The first club team was a U-14 squad made up of her middle school athletes, which then grew into the club’s first U-16 and U-19 teams. Swezey then expanded into the U-10 and U-12 age divisions. She says that while she may have started the club, there have been numerous coaches heavily involved, past and present, and it has been a massive group effort. WC Riptide current offers local programming for U-10 through U-19 Girls. In addition, they have competitive travel programs for U-14, U-16 and U-19 Girls.
Accolades/Awards: WC Riptide is currently ranked 75th in the U-16 Girls and 72nd in the U-19 Girls divisions for the USA Field Hockey National Club Rankings. WC Riptide is currently unranked in the U-14 Girls division.
Below is a list of recent finishes:
- 2020 Disney Field Hockey Showcase
- U-16 Anna Consolation Flight, T-7 Place
- U-19 Nala Consolation Flight Runner Up
- 2019 Disney Field Hockey Showcase
- U-16 Anna Consolation Flight, 3rd Place
- Merida Consolation Flight, 4th Place
Most Recent Event: 2020 Disney Field Hockey Showcase
Swezey on Club Life
Swezey grew up in a town just outside of Philadelphia and whose parents coached her in every sport she played. Her mother was her field hockey coach as Swezey played for Mystx and participated in Futures. She became a member of the U.S. U-16 Women’s National Team and it was here when she decided that field hockey was the sport for her. She went on to play for the University of Virginia before moving to Chicago after graduation, but was only able to coach a little bit on the side when she had time. That all changed once she moved to the West Coast and founded WC Riptide. She says that the field hockey community in Los Angeles is small but very tight knit and is filled with amazing people. She currently plays for a women’s team in the Moorpark area and some of her older U-19 club athletes also play alongside her. She says it has been really fun to be able to engage with her athletes on the field which has brought a completely different dynamic to her coaching.
When quarantine first hit, WC Riptide was running free Zoom sessions three times a week. Swezey also served as a workout instructor and led participants through 15 minutes of high interval training in small spaces, followed by 30 minutes of skills in small spaces. They were able to connect with URU Sports and U.S. Women’s National Team athlete Ally Hammel who helped coach players once a week. More recently, the club has been able to hold "indoor" practices on an outdoor court to try to prepare for the National Indoor Festival.
Swezey has a few short-term goals for WC Riptide. Her first goal is to be the first club in Los Angeles to take teams to indoor tournaments. They currently have U-14, U-16 and U-19 Girls teams and a boys U-19 team registered for National Indoor Festival and have been preparing for their first-ever indoor field hockey event. Secondly, she wants to add a second branch of the club in the Orange County area. Swezey runs the Futures site down in Huntington Beach, and quickly noted the amount of great athletes in the area. Her final short-term goal is to bring as many playing opportunities to all age groups and levels in Los Angeles as possible.
In the long-term, her biggest goal is to get a private turf field built. She says that the club competes with so many other sports that it is very difficult to find turf in the Los Angeles area. Often times club members end up driving more than an hour to find the closest available turf. Her hope is to build up the sport so much that when the Olympic Games come to Los Angeles in 2028, there will be a large group of young, inspired players who will go attend the games.
Swezey’s favorite part of being a member of the USA Field Hockey Family is the opportunities that were provided to her and she now has the ability to facilitate the same opportunities to the next generation. She says the friends she made while with Mystx are still some of her best friends to this day. She has very fond memories of her time traveling with the U-16 USWNT and she is a strong believer that sports help mold young athletes into strong, fearless adults. She says that USA Field Hockey has given her athletes the opportunities to not only grow as players, but also to grow as people.
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