As 2020 comes to a close, USA Field Hockey is busy working on plans for 2021, including a new format for Futures. More information will be made available in January, with registration scheduled to open in early 2021. Here’s some background and a glimpse at an upcoming plan for Futures.
USA Field Hockey’s “Futures” or Olympic Development Pathway Program, presented by Harrow Sports, is designed to develop and inspire athletes in each region, identify the most talented athletes in the nation and cultivate the Olympic athletes of tomorrow.
Since its establishment in 1990, Futures has been the start of many field hockey dreams! Each year, approximately 5,000 athletes who aspire to elevate their field hockey skills to the next level participate in the program.
USA Field Hockey is especially excited for the 2021 program to get underway. The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic forced unexpected changes and ultimately the disappointing cancellation of many regional training sites, the Regional Futures Tournaments and National Futures Championship. Although Futures athletes were able to develop and learn through a newly established online curriculum, the 2020 program was not what anyone had hoped for or planned.
USA Field Hockey is hopeful that 2021 will be healthier, safer and better with more field hockey.
In January/February 2021, USA Field Hockey will be introducing and opening registration for a new and improved 2021 program. The new program will build upon the strengths of the past one but has been optimized based on extensive feedback from recent participants and key stakeholders throughout the country. The new – and possibly renamed – program has been optimized to best meet the wants and needs of the field hockey community, changing landscape of the sport and changing schedules resulting from the pandemic.
While more information will be coming soon, here’s a sneak peek at some of the highlights.
- The new program will continue to be open to all girls and boys ages 11 to 19 and will continue to be a great opportunity for athletes who want to compete and improve their field hockey skills in the off-season, allowing them to work toward their dream to play at a higher level.
- Instead of seven, 3-hour training sessions, the 2021 program will be held in camp formats delivered over three weekends, minimizing travel and conflicts with other club and school weekend programming.
- Registration for the 2021 program will open in January/February, with weekend camps taking place throughout the country during the months of April and May. USA Field Hockey recognizes that several states have moved their high school field hockey seasons from the fall to the winter or spring and are working around these changes whenever possible.
- The new program will continue to feature dedicated, outstanding coaches, a standardized curriculum focusing on individual and team skills and tactics, and more game play and competition throughout the program. The new program will increase focus on “The USA Way” and individual and team skills needed to develop and progress in the USA system and Olympic Development Pathway.
- Based on overwhelmingly positive feedback, the new program will continue to include online components to supplement the on-field, in-person play and learning.
- Athletes will be coached and evaluated throughout the weekend camps, for a better and more thorough overall identification process. More feedback will be provided to all athletes on strengths and areas for improvement, using a newly developed player assessment tool.
- As in the past, top female athletes in the U-14, U-16 and U-19 age divisions will be evaluated and selected to attend and compete in the prestigious National Futures Championship (NFC) which will be held in Virginia Beach, Va. in June or July. Top male athletes will also be selected from the weekend camps and Regional Tournaments to progress to additional competition and selection opportunities leading to the Junior U.S. Men’s National Teams.
- Trials have been eliminated. New athletes to the program will register interest and ask a coach to submit a simple recommendation. Previous year participants will automatically receive an invite as they have in previous years.
- Scholarships and financial aid will continue to be available in an effort to make the program as accessible and inclusive as possible to all regardless of financial capacity.
- Credits from the 2020 program will be applied to the new program in 2021.
More information will be made available in January. All questions can be emailed to email@example.com.