From Futures to NEXUS
USA Field Hockey’s Futures program was established in 1990 as USA Field Hockey’s Olympic Development Pathway Program. Over the past 30 years, the game and landscape of field hockey in the United States has evolved and changed. Rule and equipment changes have made the game faster, more exciting than ever before. To better serve the needs of players, parents, coaches and the organization today, USA Field Hockey revamped and improved the schedule, curriculum and assessment criteria to establish a program that applies long-term development principles alignment with "The USA Way" so coaches and players across the country are focused on building a strong foundation for growth. The result: Nexus. Nexus, presented by Harrow Sports, will help grow the game, serve and inspire members, and prepare the next United States players to lead, succeed and win in international competition.
- a connection or series of connections linking two or more things.
Field hockey, like many team sports, is a game of connections, uniting skilled players and coaches to connect and collaborate to achieve a common goal. USA Field Hockey’s Nexus program, presented by Harrow Sports, is designed to connect players to coaches - and players to players - to provide a fun, challenging, competitive experience within the long-term athlete development process. Field hockey is a beautifully simple and technical game. Training and practice are essential to mastering both basic and complex skills and concepts that serve as the foundation to confidently progress to the next level.
Nexus, presented by Harrow Sports, is USA Field Hockey’s Olympic Development Pathway Program, designed to help players take their game to the next level and develop the next Team USA Olympians. Nexus is an evolution of USA Field Hockey’s former Futures program, open to boys and girls ages 11 to 19 who are committed to their development and serious about improving their understanding of the game and working on individual and team skills and tactics. The concepts and principles presented in Nexus will support all players to reach their goals, whether the goal is to compete and improve to play in high school or college, or peak performance and Olympic glory. Nexus is for all players – field players and goalkeepers.
Nexus connects players with experienced coaches who are trained in "The USA Way", the framework that guides USA Field Hockey’s vision for athlete development and the game of field hockey across the country. Nexus coaches will help players master the skills and tactics crucial for long-term development and success, teaching principles of play that will remain consistent throughout the pathway. This unique program will create and build friendships, establishing a field hockey network, with connections that can last a lifetime.
USA Field Hockey strives to make Nexus and all programming accessible and inclusive to all. Financial aid/scholarships are available. To request financial aid, click here.
Nexus features a new 3-weekend camp format designed to better serve players and coaches in the landscape and calendar of field hockey today. Weekend camps will provide focused training opportunities, with time for on and off-field learning. Players will receive guidance and feedback throughout each weekend, enabling each player to progress and move as appropriate within the development pathway. Additionally, players will be expected to participate in online primer activities that introduce principles and skills that will be the focus of the weekend trainings. The unique online learning platform features U.S. National Team athletes, connecting younger players with the top female and male athletes in the sport. The primers will cover various topics of interest to connect on and off-field learning, and educate and motivate all participants. Overall, the Nexus program is designed to enhance the training players receive in their own communities, exposing them to "The USA Way" and inspiring lifetime engagement.
In the first weekend, players will be assigned by age group, U-14, U-16 and U-19, to the closest possible location. Players will participate in a learner-centered environment consisting primarily of game-based activities with complementary skill development. Throughout the weekend, coaches will utilize a new talent assessment tool to provide consistency across regions when viewing and assessing field players and goalkeepers. Specifically, players will be evaluated in the areas of mindset, tactical, technical, and physical skills and attributes. Each player will be supported to build their Personal Development Plan (PDP).
Upon completion of Training Camp Weekend 1, players will be placed into one of four groups to best support their stage of development and their long-term success and enjoyment of the sport: Emerge, Aspire, Perform and Elite. Players will then be assigned a location for their second training camp weekend. The location may be different than the first weekend. A detailed description of each group can be found here:
Emerging players are discovering fundamental elements of the game including basic tactical understanding and the associated core skills, such as moving with the ball and moving the ball, fundamentals of defensive and attacking play, or, for goalkeepers, positioning, movement skills, footwork and glove work. These are the building blocks, and players of all physical abilities and potential must develop a strong core and knowledge of the game on which to build and progress. Emerging players in Nexus will be encouraged to focus on skill development and execution, "The USA Way" principles of play, decision-making and learning through game play and competition, to take them to the next level.
Aspiring players demonstrate a foundational knowledge of the key skills and concepts of the game and will work to gain a deeper understanding of tactics, such as applying "The USA Way" attack and defense principles, becoming comfortable playing multiple positions and, for goalkeepers, assuming a leadership role and the importance of communication for success. Aspiring players in Nexus will continue to gain confidence in their skills, tactics, and physical abilities, and will improve through game play and challenging competition.
Players in the Perform group demonstrate a level of mastery of the fundamental elements with a proficient understanding and application of foundational concepts of the game. Players in Perform will focus on consistently making good decisions and delivering a wide variety of skills while under pressure. Perform players demonstrate strong physical ability and stamina that allows them to compete throughout games, from start to finish. Field players and goalkeepers at this level will start to understand and adapt to "The USA Way", while demonstrating mindset skills such as leadership and resilience that support their development and performance. The Perform environment will challenge players in all aspects as they strive toward peak performance.
Elite players have an advanced tactical understanding when compared to others in their age group, supported by consistent performance of core skill execution under pressure. Players at this level demonstrate advanced physical competencies and decision making, understanding how to apply concepts and skills from "The USA Way" in competitive situations. Elite players will be challenged to become students of the game, set and reset goals, develop resilience, and understand and improve their personal impact on their team, including how they can best build upon and use their strengths to achieve peak performance and positively influence those around them.
Assessing and aligning players in these four groups, based on their stage of development, will help build confidence and enjoyment while providing all participants with the best potential for improvement and long-term growth. Coaches will work with players to focus on specific foundational skills and concepts, advancing players as they progress and develop.
Training Camp Weekends 2 and 3 will enable players to focus and build on the areas of mindset, tactical, technical and physical skills that make up "The USA Way". Weekend Camps will use a learner-centered approach that puts the players at the center. All four groups will focus teamwork, collaborative problem solving and individual skills, utilizing game-based activities and skill development to keep players active, engaged, challenged and learning. All weekend sessions will include both on-field and off-field sessions, encouraging self-reflection to stimulate learning, growth and creativity. Pre-training online primers introduce important topics and supplement on-field learning.
Feedback from coaches will be provided through out each session to guide players in creating their Personal Development Plan (PDP). The personal development plan will assist players in understanding strengths and areas and strategies for improvement. Field players and goalkeepers will be evaluated throughout all sessions allowing for movement with the pathway as players meet the tiered milestones to advance to the next level.
After the third training camp weekend, the top female Nexus players from across the country will be invited to attend an additional training weekend where selections to the prestigious Nexus Championship will be made. Approximately 40 percent of the players in each age division will be invited for possible selection. Selection Camps will be held in five locations throughout the United States and will be conducted in a similar format to the training weekends, with both game play and skill development, coaching and assessment. There will be an additional fee for participation in this Selection Camp weekend. Dates and locations will be provided to invited players as available.
Male Nexus players will be provided information about boy’s opportunities and specifically boy’s Olympic Development Pathway Programming, including Regional High Performance Centers.
The Nexus Championship, presented by Harrow Sports, will invite the top 720 female players from the three-age divisions to compete in Virginia Beach, Va. early July 2021. Approximately 216 players from the U-14 division (192 field players and 24 goalkeepers), 288 players from the U-16 division (256 field players and 32 goalkeepers), and 216 players from the U-19 division (192 field players and 24 goalkeepers) will work with USA Field Hockey’s Coaching Staff and compete in a five-game tournament. USA Field Hockey will assess and select players for various Junior High Performance opportunities.
USA Field Hockey divides the country in nine distinct regions based on location and size of the field hockey landscape. Each region has a designated Regional Manager who is employed by USA Field Hockey to oversee the Nexus program in their region.
Click on the map below to get to know your Regional Manager, as he or she will be your main contact as it relates to Nexus in your region.