USA Field Hockey NEWS Club of the Week Wed...

Club of the Week Wednesday: CNY Rage

Oct. 28, 2020, 3 p.m. (ET)

Each week on Wednesday, USA Field Hockey will highlight one 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 4 is CNY Rage.

Club Name: CNY Rage 

History: CNY Rage was founded by Danielle Birckhead and operates out of Canastota, N.Y. Birckhead originally founded the club as a part of the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) club network in winter of 2019. Just a few short months later, Birckhead registered CNY Rage as a USA Field Hockey Member club. Her motivation to create the club was that she coaches a varsity high school team which team members wanted additional, more competitive playing opportunities in the offseason.

Presently, the club provides playing opportunities for U-16 and U-19 athletes but have high hopes that they will be able to expand their offerings into U-14 in the winter months and then add U-12 next summer. CNY Rage currently has about 20 members but expects to be close to 100 by the end of 2020. They are looking forward to attending their first USA Field Hockey event at the National Hockey Festival in November.

Accolades/Awards: CNY Rage is currently unranked in the USA Field Hockey National Club Rankings.

Birckhead on Club Life
Birckhead did not pick up a field hockey stick for the first time until she was a sophomore in high school and elected to not pursue collegiate play. She found her way into coaching the sport however through her younger sister, who was in the seventh grade at the time, who wanted to start playing but her team needed a coach, so Birckhead decided to step into that role. Over the course of the next ten years, she climbed the ranks from middle school coach to head coach of a varsity program at Canastota High School, and now additionally, a club owner. She wants to provide more playing opportunities for competitive field hockey in the Central New York area during the high school offseason. She says that she is still trying to learn as much as she can about coaching and looks to soak up as much information as possible every chance she can get.

Over the past months, Birckhead stated CNY Rage was fortunate to be able to get back on the pitch in July from local coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions. As soon as they could, the club jumped at opportunities to hold practices to get everyone back on the field. They were also able to hold clinics for the community and start to get younger kids introduced to the sport. Once the high school fall season started, she allowed the athletes to focus on that season rather than balancing both high school and club training. Reflecting on the time away from the field, she says having playing opportunities is more important now than it has ever been before because you never think that opportunity is going to be taken away.

Birckhead’s short-term goals for CNY Rage are, first and foremost, to continue to provide additional playing opportunities for both girls and boys and help them improve upon their skills. Next, she wants to expand her club to provide opportunities for younger athletes in the U-12 and U-14 age divisions. Most importantly, she wants to help grow the game and spread awareness of field hockey. She says that in the surrounding communities of Central New York, the primary sport is soccer and many kids have not even heard about field hockey. In the long term, she would like to create a lasting impact of the sport in the same area. She says that she is excited to work and grow to club into being one of the premier clubs in the state of New York.

Birckhead’s favorite part of being a member of the USA Field Hockey Family is being able to provide athletes additional opportunities that they would not have otherwise. She says that without USA Field Hockey she would not be able to provide those opportunities.

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