Field Hockey in Bay Area, California
In order to build a grow the game of Field Hockey, not only we need to work at grass root level which will help us to get local talent, but we also have to provide our youth here: best facilities so that they can compete with the best talent not in the USA, but around the world!It’s a sad fact that we don’t have one single facility where our clubs, players can practice on Astro-turf regularly. Why can’t we do it here in a Bay Area; in Silicon Valley where so many dreams come true? Maybe we haven’t given enough push or thought about it.
It’s time to act now!
On February 28th, I wrote my thoughts on how we can grow this beautiful game of Field Hockey here in California. It’s been almost 4 months since then; a lot more has happened that is I think to help us going in right direction!
- US Field Hockey announced the creation of State chapters that can help Sports leaders, passionate individuals, coaches, parents to spread this game in three states to start with: Michigan, California, and Kentucky. It’s very heartwarming to hear that US Field Hockey believes; exponential growth can only occur when national, regional, and local sports leaders work together, adopting, applying shared goals, values, and development philosophies.
- As a result of this California State Chapter came into existence. Our CA chapter leadership includes President – Kendall Beveridge, Vice President – Nicole Ng, NorCal Presentative – Jessica Hendricks, and SoCal Representative – Lindsay Coony. It’s very exciting to see we got experienced, passionate folks coming forward to take this opportunity and help all of us to the common goal.
- I myself have volunteered to work as in the position of Webmaster!
As a Field Hockey parent, this topic is very dear to me. My kid started playing Field Hockey at the age of 6. We started with knowing nothing about this game, but we grew up with passionate people who were working tirelessly to introduce Field Hockey to the next generation.
First-year we were on the sidelines, thinking should we continue this game or not. But over time, kids gelled and so do we as parents. Going to Calcup become a big part of life. This is the first time in the last 8 years, we missed our trip to Moorpark College. Many of our boys went on to play for the US National team (U16, U21). In the last two years, our U14 girls’ team went on winning most of the local tournaments. For the first time in the history of our club last year in 2019, three of our U14 girls (Adya, Jaiya, and Matilda) were selected as part of USA Futures, to play in National Futures Championship representing California! We are very excited about the prospect of seeing our players growing along with this sport.
But at the same time trip to “Home of Hockey” in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, made us realized some of the real facts. It showed me that we as Bay Area residents, Field Hockey enthusiasts are far behind in facility, training to be par with East Coast Hockey Clubs. Lot more needs to be done so that we can produce quality players who can make their stamp at National/International level!
In my opinion, the two biggest challenges that we have been facing are – a steady flow of players from a very young age (U8-12). Also if small clubs need to have age groups (U14, U16, and beyond) it’s very important that you have an affiliation with some school field hockey program otherwise it’s just impossible to retain the team as players move on. We’ve experienced this first hand! This year we couldn’t able to form a U16 team just because for the 11v11 game we need to have at least 15-16 players on our roaster. And that’s the reason I’ve decided to volunteer my time with US Field Hockey so that we as a CA Chapter and US Field Hockey can work together to help each other introducing this game to many School Districts in different counties across the Bay Area and beyond!
Right now this game is mainly played in Santa Clara County, but it’s a neighboring counties (where there are few Field Hockey clubs) – Almeda County, Contra Costa; don’t have this game in High School. We ourselves live in FUSD (Fremont Unified School District) where this game is not yet included in the High School Sports list. We as parents recently started discussions on how together we can help to change this. We are very determined to make this happen, will need guidance from all Field Hockey passionate folks within Bay Area, CA Chapter, and US Field Hockey.
One more thing that will help us to get better at Field Hockey is having a dedicated facility as sports demands it. Yes, we’re talking about the Astro-turf field! Right now all local hockey clubs are being forced to use the Football field for practice sessions. It’s an improvement over the Grass. But that’s not enough, as our players go to high schools, games become fast. With lack of regular facility with Astro-turf field, when they go to many major events and have to play Astro-turf, speed of game surprises them as they are not used to it. It’s not that they can’t run fast or control the ball; it’s a simple fact that they are haven’t got exposure to such field on a regular basis.
So the question is what we can do to provide such a facility to our youth here in the Bay Area? Should we just keep quiet ourselves and continue to complain that we don’t have better infrastructure otherwise we could have excel ourselves!
We think we can do better here. We’re living here in Silicon Valley which is the center of IT, we’ve seen many big dreams came true. We’re very proud to be called as Bay Area residents. Yes we as passionate Field Hockey lovers, want to work toward making a state of art infrastructure available to our coming generation. We believe that we can be the change that we seek. We: local residents here, CA Chapter, and US Field Hockey should work together as a team to make this happen!
Who knows we may produce future Olympians who will be part of US Field Hockey Men’s and Women’s team and help us to fetch us our first Gold Medal for Field Hockey right here in LA in 2028! There will not be an any better opportunity than this to make it happen!
We’re working on a plan to get this going. We would love to get your feedback and guidance. Thank you for your time.