Field hockey is always fun, but on the Saturday of the 2022 Sunshine Showcase, it was even better than usual. On that day, USA Field Hockey, in partnership with Long Island Field Hockey and their Field Hockey 4 All, launched a new inclusion program called All Starz Field Hockey, designed to create opportunities that make field hockey more accessible to athletes of all ability levels. Athletes who had never played in a USA Field Hockey event before came to demonstrate their skills and share their joy and knowledge.
“Bringing our Field Hockey 4 All athletes to the Sunshine Showcase and watching their debut as All Starz was one of the highlights of my coaching career, and of Mallory’s as well!” said Danielle Groneman, LIFH Assistant Director of Coaching. “The energy and support were absolutely amazing. We cannot thank USA Field Hockey enough for being our No. 1 fan. We encourage other clubs across the United Sates to reach out to USA Field Hockey and to help start a program of their own!”
“It has been so amazing to be a part of Field Hockey 4 All and to be able to share my love for field hockey with others,” commented Sarah Smalley, LIFH Athlete and Junior Captain. “I always have a great time and it makes me happy that I am able to help make the game more accessible.”
“Being a part of Long Island Field Hockey and getting the chance to work with so many great Field Hockey 4 All athletes that aspire to work their hardest and have fun has truly been one of the best experiences an athlete can have,” said Katie Singleton, LIFH Athlete and Junior Captain. “Being able to work with these athletes since last spring and to watch them be able to experience the Sunshine Showcase is so inspiring. To see their smiles and watch every athlete look forward to playing is something I look forward to every week. I strongly encourage every club to create an All Starz program to help grow the game and benefit the community!”
“Getting to coach these athletes every week is such an amazing experience for all,” Dayanna Ortiz, LIFH Athlete and Senior Captain. “I am so honored to be able to give the experience of being part of a team to the All Starz athletes who may have never experienced it before. I get to show up and see the smiles of all the All Starz athletes faces as we work and learn from each other. I am super grateful that I can be part of such an amazing program, and I hope that we inspire other clubs throughout the country, and even the world, to pursue a program like Field Hockey 4 ALL.”
“Being able to be a part of Field Hockey 4 All and playing with the ParaAthletes has been such an amazing opportunity,” noted Ayden Fleming. “Seeing the love and passion that they have for the sport and to see the pure enjoyment is something I will never forget and will always keep close to me.”
“Field Hockey 4 All is a great program for all athletes since it gives them all an athletic outlet that they normally might not have gotten,” Emily Stoessel. “These athletes look forward to it every week and it’s a really humbling experience as a player and volunteer because it really makes us realize how lucky we are that we get to play field hockey. It’s heartwarming to see all the athletes excited and happy to being playing and just having fun with the group of people who became their friends. The All Starz demonstration was a great way to showcase the FH4All athletes and gives them a chance to show off all their hard work that they have put in every week. It will hopefully inspire other clubs to start a program like this and giving many other kids and adults the opportunity to become an athlete and do things they might not have been able to do before.”
The All Starz athletes were Anthony Cooper, Michelle Gambin, Eloise Jaekle, Gia Munro, Adryana Navarro, Paul Navarro Jr., Rebecca Rama and Scott Weisbrth. They were led by coach Alexa Barraco.
Thank you to the Long Island Field Hockey, and especially to their leaders Danielle Groneman, Mallory Guerin and Bracco.
And a huge thank you to all who volunteered, listed below, and another thank you to those who came and cheered the All Starz athletes on!
Dayanna Ortiz, captain
Katie Singleton, captain
Sarah Smalley, captain
If you are interested in learning more about All Starz or starting a program in your community, please reach out to Sally Goggin, USA Field Hockey’s National Development Director, at email@example.com.