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 3 is Strikers Field Hockey (MA).
Club Name: Strikers Field Hockey (MA)
History: Strikers Field Hockey (MA) started in 2006 with just eight girls. Jennifer Brown, club director, had eager and willing to learn athletes but no field in her area to teach, so she decided to start a program. With some word of mouth encouragement by that fall they grew to 13 girls. In 2007, she started training athletes year round which helped form the club. They competed in local tournaments as individuals from different towns started to join. The travel and club aspect continued to blossom and a few years later they entered a U-12 team at their first ever USA Field Hockey event in the Junior Disney Field Hockey Showcase. The club enjoys the Disney tournament each year and has since entered a team since.
Also in 2007, she developed a middle school program in the area where a schedule was formed that had the team compete against other middle schools in the area. Another year out, there was enough girls to form two middle school teams with about 40 athletes.
With the interest to play continuing to rise, in 2009 Brown started a youth program for girls in kindergarten through sixth grade. In the first year there was an amazing turnout of 60 kids coming out to play. Both the middle school and youth programs have grown tremendously over the years.
By 2015, Strikers entered their first U-14 Regional Club Championship (RCC) and were thrilled to qualify for the National Club Championship. The club has since entered the RCC each year in all three age groups and has proven to be a big competitor. Also, in that year, Brown introduced an indoor sector to the club where dozens of kids came out to play on the court. By 2016, they entered their first U-16 and U-19 National Indoor Tournament Qualifiers as well as a U-14 team for the National Indoor Tournament (NIT). Since, the Strikers have had a team qualify each year for NIT.
Strikers now has two main locations where they train in Acton, Mass. and Shrewsbury, Mass., and they have worked with the South Shore Area for the past five years. It has grown to have more than 200 athletes train with them in some capacity.
The eight original athletes helped name the team and Brown has kept it the same as it mapped out the foundation on how the club started. The groundwork was built on the motto, “for the love of the game”.
Strikers Field Hockey (MA) are currently ranked 75th in the U-14 Girls, 29th in the U-16 Girls and 49th in the U-19 Girls USA Field Hockey National Club Rankings.
- 2021 National Indoor Tournament
o U-16 Girls: Pool B, fifth place
o U-19 Girls: Pool C, sixth place
Brown on Club Life:
Brown, who also serves as the founder and director, has helped many athletes take their talents on to college. The club is at about an 86% rate of athletes playing in college with each senior class. Brown’s goal is to keep them playing at some level and keep their love of the game alive. She also stresses the importance of academics and the club has a great recruitment program to help the players who want to continue their athletic and academic careers.
Each year, Strikers has about a dozen kids go into the Futures program (now called Nexus) and several have gone on to be selected for the National Futures Championship and the AAU Junior Olympic Games.
The club found this year with the COVID-19 pandemic challenging, but they managed to push through it. They communicated with their athletes through Zoom and kept the girls motivated through team and individual challenges. They learned to work on things like fitness, mental health and overall well-being.
Brown’s favorite part of being a member of the USA Field Hockey Family are all the opportunities the organization has allowed the club. She claims that all the events offered over the years has helped grow and develop her athletes as well as give the club great competition.
With celebrating their 15-year milestone, Brown said the club has been a dream come true. She went on to say that seeing the growth and development over the years is amazing. Seeing the success of the athletes on and off the field and how field hockey has shaped them into young women as been wonderful. She thanks the continued support of the coaches, families and athletes and credit them for helping keep the club going.