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Michigan State Chapter Working to Promote & Grow Field Hockey

Nov. 24, 2021, 3:06 p.m. (ET)

Last weekend, the Michigan State Chapter worked with USA Field Hockey to host a series of youth, coach and umpire education events in conjunction with the NCAA Division I Semifinals and Final in Ann Arbor, Mich. The goal was to promote, develop and grow field hockey in the state, welcoming and inspiring both the local field hockey community and fans from around the country who were in Michigan to attend the National Championship.

The weekend kicked off Friday with a social following the NCAA Semifinal games. Despite the fact that both matches went into overtime and were delayed, a great group convened at Conor O’Neil’s for some food, fun and door prizes. Attendees include USA Field Hockey’s Executive Director Simon Hoskins, who greeted the group.

Saturday started with a Coaching Education Course, . A total of 16 coaches attended and Allan Law, Coach Educator and U.S. U-16 and U-21 Women’s National Team Assistant Coach, led the 3-hour session.

“Thanks to USA Field Hockey for partnering with the Michigan Chapter to bring an exciting and educational weekend of event to our area,” said Keely Tamer, Michigan State Chapter President. “As a pilot program, we have learned about the importance of support from USA Field Hockey, the benefits of a strong relationship and look forward to continued growth and development in both our sport and relationship to the National Office. Our volunteers work hard on behalf of the sport and this weekend is just one such example of the power of collaboration.”

Next, coaches and umpires in the area attended a presentation by USA Field Hockey’s Director of Umpiring Steve Horgan titled Umpiring the Modern Game. Horgan reviewed the game’s evolution and how it has impacted rule interpretation. Attendees had the opportunity to meet and learn from the umpires working the NCAA Division I Championship, including Ridge Bair, Mallory Federoff, Maggie Giddens, Ayanna McClean and Lance Sarabia.

“I am very glad I was able to attend the Umpiring the Modern Game session with Steve Horgan this weekend in Ann Arbor,” said Leslie Fry, Michigan State Chapter Lifetime Engagement Chair. “Coming from the coach’s point of view, it was very helpful to hear Steve’s instruction on game management, see video clips and be able to participate in discussion about different types of calls. A very informative session!”

A Level 1 Instructional Coaching Clinic was delivered to 15 coaches from Michigan and surrounding states by Law. He taught best practices in coaching, introduced the “The USA Way” and how to apply a games-based and player-centered approach to coaching.

“Thanks to the Michigan State Chapter for facilitating and running a fantastic weekend of field hockey and coach education opportunities for passionate coaches who are looking to grow their coaching expertise and the game,” stated Law. “The coaches present at the Defen Principles Workshop and Level 1 (Part 2), were a joy to work with. It's very exciting to be involved in the growth of the game and coaches’ development in Michigan.”

On Saturday afternoon, 65 youth kids came to a clinic led by Michigan coaches and players that culminated with an autograph session featuring Olympians and U.S. National Team athletes. Lori Bruney Johnston, Di Chung, April Fronzoni-Bertin, Mary Koboldt, Marcia Pankratz, University of Michigan Head Coach; Erica Reilly and Liz Tchou, were joined by Junior USWNT and USMNT members, Kathryn Peterson, Sofia Southam, Abby Tamer, and Landon Brimacombe who all engaged with athletes as young as 4 years old. Young players left with a ball autographed and personalized by these former and future field hockey legends.

On Sunday, USA Field Hockey and the Michigan State Chapter Committee met in person to get to know one another, share updates, and discuss plans for future growth in Michigan. The group included Fry, Pat Hayes, Kristen Henn, Krista LaRosa, Keely Tamer and Erica Reilly. Along with Hoskins, USA Field Hockey’s Board of Director Member Chip Rogers also attended the meeting.

USA Field Hockey would like to thank the entire Michigan State Chapter leadership team, and specifically weekend organizer Reilly, for collaborating on an exciting, educational, and fun-filled field hockey weekend, and for all they have done to lead the regional representation pilot program. In large part to the Michigan State Chapter’s success, USA Field Hockey will continue to support and expand State Chapter expansion in the coming months and years.