On Wednesdays throughout 2021, 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 from Region 4 is Long Island Field Hockey.
Club Name: Long Island Field Hockey (LIFH)
History: Long Island Field Hockey was established in January 2019 in both the Nassau and Suffolk Counties in New York. Their mission is the bridge the gap between youth athletics and the college level by specifically training individual player skill sets. By delivering high intensity training, discipline and tactical understanding of the game, they prepare their athletes to succeed on and off the field.
Within the first two years of the club, LIFH hit many milestones. In March 2019 they held their first official practice, in August 2019 they hosted their first overnight camp on Long Island and in the fall 2020 they held three tournaments to keep the game going during the global pandemic. This past March, LIFH developed a program, Field Hockey 4 All, to allow individuals with disabilities the chance to train and compete alongside all athletes within the club. They are the first club in the United States to offer this type of programming.
Accolades/Awards: LIFH is currently ranked 101st in the U-19 Girls division. They are unranked in the U-14 and U-16 Girls divisions.
- 2021 U-16 Girls National Indoor Tournament
- Pool Z, sixth place
- 2021 U-19 Disney Field Hockey Showcase
- Merida Consolation Flight, fourth place
Guerin on Club Life:
With LIFH only being two years old, Mallory Guerin, LIFH’s Director of Coaching, says they do not have a large alumni network yet, but many of their current athletes want to continue to play collegiately as student-athletes. Guerin also stressed that they encourage the athletes who graduated from high school to continue to play with their sister club, Long Island Stix – an adult field hockey league.
LIFH has a huge presence in the community. Last April during the pandemic, the club donated food to two local hospitals, Good Samaritan and Long Island Jewish Medical Center, for all the heroes that worked tirelessly every day during some of the hardest times.
To stay busy during the pandemic, LIFH did Zoom practices with their athletes weekly. Guerin said they held conditioning, stick skills, cone work, rebounding and field hockey trivia questions to keep all engaged.
When the pandemic canceled the local high school season, LIFH immediately created an 8-week Fall League for those athletes to participate in. They also created and hosted three tournaments on Long Island called “QuaranTEAM”, “QuaranSCREAM” and “LI Turkey Bowl”, which brought in teams from all over the state. College coaches were included to these tournaments to recruit due to the limited opportunities during the pandemic.
The community initiative that Guerin and LIFH are most proud of is the Field Hockey 4 All program that was inspired by one of their para-athletes, Lauren Richardson. She said that following the initial introduction, four LIFH coaches are now members of USA Field Hockey’s Disability Inclusion Steering Committee. Guerin hopes their efforts will encourage other regions in the United States to start similar disability inclusion programs.
Guerin says being part of the USA Field Hockey Family is something LIFH truly values. She appreciates the incredible support the club has received and the opportunities that USA Field Hockey has given the athletes to play, even during the unprecedented times.
She goes on to give extended credit to the coaches who helped make the club what it is today – Danielle Groneman, Catherine Brudi, Olivia Kelly, Shannon McGuinness, Courtney O’Brien and Alexa Bracco.