COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – February 24, 2020 - USA Field Hockey recognizes that sustaining and growing a sport in the United States requires effective sports leaders. Exponential growth can only occur when national, regional and local sports leaders work together, adopting and applying shared goals, values and development philosophies.
In 2020, USA Field Hockey will work with leaders in select states to introduce a system of regional representation in the form of State Chapters. The three states identified to pilot these State Chapters are California, Kentucky and Michigan.
Field hockey is a sport for all and one for life and yet how it is enjoyed throughout the United States is very different. As a result, each area of the country has unique opportunities and challenges. It is USA Field Hockey’s vision that engaging and powering volunteers at the state level will result in exponential growth and increased interest, investment and enjoyment on behalf of all stakeholders.
The Michigan State Chapter leadership team is set with Keely Tamer accepting the role of president. Tamer served as the leader of the 2018-19 “Add Hockey Committee” that was as an informal chapter. In that time, two high schools were added and the state has seen an increase in field hockey activity and promotion. She is joined by board members Andrea Shaner, vice president and lead on the boys committee; Laura Jones, webmaster; Jessie Veith Rouleau, secretary and youth/recreation and education committee lead; and Erica Reilly, treasurer and middle school/high school committee co-chair alongside Tamer. Ingrid Fournier has been appointed as the Chapter’s committee historian, Leslie Fry will lead a committee focusing on adult hockey, and Pat Hayes will lead the umpiring committee.
“Formalizing the chapter and roles will improve communication and sharing of best practices,” stated Sally Goggin, USA Field Hockey’s National Development Director. “It will also empower local leaders to support existing programs and fuel grassroots growth. The volunteer leaders of the Michigan Chapter are playing an important role in the pilot program by assisting in the development of policies and procedures that work for our sport. They are setting the groundwork for other states. It’s been a pleasure working with Tamer and the entire Michigan Executive Board and I am looking forward to seeing what we can achieve by formally organizing our collaboration. The potential for growth and development in Michigan is huge and I can’t thank them enough for their leadership and support and look forward to bringing Kentucky and California into the pilot program.”
"Volunteering to work with USA Field Hockey and Sally was an easy decision,” added Tamer. “Field hockey has enriched my life, that of my family and the lives of the community members where I played and where I now coach. I believe strongly that sports in general, and field hockey specifically, offer athletes an atmosphere for growth of character, confidence, courage and resilience that is vital for the young adults in every community in Michigan. I look forward to working with my dedicated colleagues on the Board to accomplish our goals for growth in Michigan. I am confident that by working together with USA Field Hockey, field hockey enthusiasts in Michigan can have a positive impact on growth at all levels of the sport."
The Kentucky State Chapter is in the formative stages. In January 2020, the Kentucky High School Athletic Association (KHSAA) announced that it would meet to discuss dropping the sanctioned status of field hockey due to lack of growth beyond Louisville at the high school level. The Kentucky field hockey community rallied in support of the sport, and KHSAA voted unanimously on February 19 in support of continued sanctioning.
“Sanctioning is important as it makes it easier for a high school to add the sport,” said Goggin. “Like Michigan, Kentucky has a rich history and tradition of field hockey and yet has not achieved widespread growth throughout the state at the high school level. USA Field Hockey is looking forward to empowering volunteers to organize to sustain and grow field hockey at all levels throughout the state by establishing a State Chapter.”
In Kentucky, the Executive Board consists of Debbie Judd, Katie Hastings, Erin Maguire-Osting, Jody Schaefer and Suzie Stammer stepping up to take leadership roles. Chip Rogers, USA Field Hockey’s Board of Directors Vice Chair, has been instrumental in the foundational process, as the hard but exciting work has just begun.
Finally, the third pilot will be in California. With its vast geography and moderate climate, as well as its diverse population and large economy, California provides USA Field Hockey an exciting opportunity as Los Angeles prepares to host the 2028 Olympic Games. The state already has a solid field hockey base with more than 30 clubs for boys, girls and adults, over 100 high school programs, three NCAA Division I collegiate programs and eight collegiate club programs. California is also home to the California Cup, one of the largest and longest running international tournaments. Hosted annually at Moorpark College in Moorpark, Calif., the tournament is celebrating its 49th year in 2020. Despite this strong foundation, none of the bordering states offers high school or collegiate field hockey programs, making travel for competition burdensome. As such, establishing a California State Chapter will help improve communication and increase support from USA Field Hockey for local competition. By working together, and aligning efforts, it will be simpler than ever to better achieve USA Field Hockey’s mission to grow the game, serve members, and succeed internationally.
USA Field Hockey is looking for all interested in serving in a leadership capacity on the pilot California State Chapter to email firstname.lastname@example.org by Sunday, March 1. An informational call will be held on Thursday, February 27 at 8:00 p.m. PT to discuss the proposed roles and responsibilities of the Chapters and leaders. Please email email@example.com for login/call in details.