Each week on Wednesday, USA Field Hockey highlights 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 5 is Marojoka Hockey Club.
Club Name: Marojoka Hockey Club
History: Marojoka Hockey Club was founded in 1992 by Martin Romeril and the late Josh Kaligis, former U.S. Men’s National Team athlete (1963-79), and is based out of Bethlehem, Pa. The club was originally created when Romeril and Kaligis were hosting a group of young women visiting from Holland, through the Sports for Understanding program, to be immersed in American sports culture and play in several events. When signing up the group to serve as hosts for this tournament, Romeril could not find a fitting team name until Kaligis, with a mischievous gleam in his eye, suggested “Marojoka”.
Marojoka is not a Dutch phrase as Romeril initially thought but rather a combination of the first two letters of each of the pair’s first and last names. The club focuses on helping athletes develop and reach their full potential, but most importantly to enjoy playing field hockey as it is a lifetime sport and should be fun.
Accolades/Awards: Marojoka Hockey Club is currently tied 55th in the U-14 Girls and tied 61st in the U-19 Girls divisions in the USA Field Hockey National Club Rankings. They are currently unranked in the U-16 Girls division.
Below is a list of recent finishes:
- 2020 National Indoor Tournament
- U-19 Pool P – 5th place
- Women’s Pool AA – 4th place
- 2020 Disney Field Hockey Showcase
- U-19 Snow White Consolation Flight Runner-Up
Most Recent Event: 2020 National Indoor Tournament
Romeril on Club Life
Romeril grew up in Pennsylvania and was introduced to field hockey in his high school gym class. His gym teacher was the varsity field hockey coach at the school and would have both the boys and girls play with each other. His interest was peaked when one of his male classmates would get the ball and weaved through the defense to score effortlessly. It turns out that this classmate was from Indonesia where it is was more common in the 1980's for men to play field hockey than it is for women. Romeril was amazed by his classmate’s skill and wanted to compete just like him. He continued playing and would go on to create an intramural club at Gettysburg College, which would have friendly scrimmages against the varsity team on Sundays when the coaching staff was not around.
After graduating from Kutztown University in 1992, he continued playing with the New York adult club, Rye Hockey Club, a member of the Field Hockey Association of America (FHAA), and was very active in the negotiations before the United States Field Hockey Association (USFHA) merged with the FHAA in 1993 to have two organizations to have one governing body overseeing both men’s and women’s field hockey in the United States. He was invited to try scholastic coaching by a men’s club teammate, Los Angeles 1984 Olympian Scotty Gregg, who was both a student of and coached by Kaligis. This encounter ultimately got Romeril into coaching and his motivation was wanting to give athletes an opportunity to play outside of school programs. However, he did not want to create a club program that was associated to one school so he gathered athletes from multiple schools in the area to play together which would build relationships outside of a school environment. He added that he has been coaching so long that he is now coaching with, and also coaching the daughters of, women who used to be members of Marojoka!
Romeril’s short-term goals for Marojoka are to, first and foremost, return to normal activity and have group activities again. He would also like to engage in a fundraiser for a scholarship fund for graduating seniors to encourage them to continue their education and use field hockey as that vehicle. In the long-term, he would like to be able to open a dedicated practice facility to eliminate renting space from several facilities, because the availability does not always match the club’s needs.
Romeril would also like to continue bringing former players back to coach because the club’s coaching philosophy is to encourage players to focus on what they can control of the controllable, their effort and performance and to not worry about things they cannot control. With former athletes having already mastered this approach both on and off the field, there is no concern that coaches will be unduly focused on trivialities, such as the score of any one match. One thing he likes to keep at the front of the coaching staff’s mind is that this is never about the adults, but rather the young athletes.
At the beginning of quarantine, following the close of indoor season, Romeril tasked the captains of each of Marojoka’s indoor squads to keep lines of communication open within that team. Once each team had a meeting, Romeril scheduled another through Facebook to talk about the game. In these larger meetings, they reviewed short clips of games they had played and would have some chalk talk. Rather than focusing on the physical skills during their time off the field, Romeril turned the focus to growing passion and learning more about field hockey. Focusing more on the rules and strategy would translate to their performance on the field when they would return.
Romeril’s favorite part of being a member of the USA Field Hockey Family is the opportunities USA Field Hockey provides for a large group of people who have a shared interest and always having something to talk about. He is grateful for the relationships he has built over the years through these events and the community that anyone can be a part of at these events.
Continue to follow usafieldhockey.com for future Club of the Week Wednesday features and all other field hockey news.