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.

Adoption of Field Hockey sport in California

Middle School / High School Participation

  • Right now Field Hockey as a sport is not available in many schools; many parents/kids don’t even know that such sport does exist. Schools that offer this sport, do it from High School; IMHO by then, it’s a bit late for a person to grow the game on them. For two reasons: 
    • High School Studies take precedence over sport (and maybe for the right reasons). Kids are more busy with their homework, securing better grades and getting ready for college, naturally, sports become a lower priority and hence though player starts playing, they are not totally into it!
    • It requires time and energy to acquire good skills in any sports. If the new player has different sports background, then they catch up fast. But if a player is just starting to play their first sport at this age, then it becomes a struggle. Because not only you have to learn the skills of the game, you also need to have speed and stamina. And unfortunately, time is the only answer to that.


  • Many professional clubs here are offer game starting U14 or U16 age group on wards. Since these clubs are affiliated with High Schools, getting new players is somewhat easy for them. But as I mentioned earlier, honing new skills into these players takes time and that makes a big difference as they move into upper age groups!
  • Catch them young! – As a small hockey club without any school affiliation is very hard to survive! We as a club offer training starting age group U8. There are only very few other clubs who offer Field Hockey at such age. Hence it’s constant struggle to keep the team together as we are always short on players. And that doesn’t motivate parents whose kids are enrolled in the program to continue with this sport when they can easily find established Basket Ball, Baseball or Volleyball clubs within their town. Clubs that are driven by volunteers can’t do recruitment as one driven by professional clubs. I think this is where the US Field Hockey organization can be a big help. 
    • Around the age of 8, parents are trying different sports and see what suits/motivate their kids. Hence it’s very important for Field Hockey to one of the choices that these parents aware of!
    • US Field Hockey officials putting booth camps in different festivities, events; showcasing them game; allowing them to interact with current US Field Hockey players will be very beneficial. And when parents show interest at these events, we can introduce them to local clubs in their neighborhood where they can take the kids to tryouts. 
    • We should also encourage clubs to put special efforts on new members; show them path as an athlete their kid can have. It will go a long way to help parents to understand clubs are passionate about this sport and not just about fees and tournaments!

Turf Fields (and finding better alternatives)

  • When my daughter went to Nationals as part of U14; we finally understood when someone says East Coast teams are good at field hockey. Players over there were very good runners; ready to do more hustles. Definitely they have better good coaching and a much bigger pool of players who compete with each other to raise the overall game. But IMHO another important reason East Coast Players are better because they are fortunate to have better infrastructure.
    • For all clubs here in the Bay Area as I know, everyone practices on local football fields which is not an ideal environment. Same for tournaments. Every year when we go to Calcup, it’s always very annoying to see our young players playing on thick grass fields where the ball doesn’t move at all. Also, many of these fields are not well maintained. We need to have better fields if we want to raise the level of our players.
    • While it’s very easy to ask for Astro-turf fields, I’ve been told it’s very costly and difficult due to the cost of land and the turf itself. We all talked very passionately about setting up a community driven Astro-turf field when we heard the University of Pacific shutting down their program due to budget reasons. But these talks lead no-where as it requires substantial planning, money and time commitment.
    • Does this mean, we can’t do anything about it and give up hope! No way! There is a better way and that’s too without zero cost on the Infrastructure side! Remember we have Indoor Basketball courts everywhere right? So why not use them? We need to promote Indoor Field Hockey more and more. This will help players to play the game on a fast surface and help them to get acquainted with speed (which our players really need to do especially at a young age!).
      • Challenge is Commercial Indoor Sports complexes are very costly and small clubs can’t afford them. This is where US Field Hockey can play a key role. US Field Hockey should work with local middle school/High Schools and provide school facilities to clubs at a much-discounted price!

US Field Hockey blessed Regional Tournaments

  • The only major event that US Field Hockey approved is CalCup otherwise mostly we are figuring it out ourselves; setting up local tournaments, participating in tournaments organized by local universities. (Yes, we are really lucky to have Stanford and Cal in our backyard; coaches here are very helpful. Staff is always ready to find time and energy to train youngsters! Thank you, folks!)
  • We really need to have more tournaments that will encourage East Coast Teams to travel on this side of the world to play. This will help our young players (U8-14) to compete with better players and have constant checks/reminders that we need to improve even further. 
  • Also having local US Field Hockey leagues that can allow competing within local teams and then with top teams across other regional leagues will be a good idea. 

Social Media Awareness (Twitter / Instagram / Facebook)

  • All being said, if we can’t share success stories of different players, how they getting accepted into different Colleges on their sports merit, showcasing different clubs, individuals; their dedication; innovative ways to make sports to go; celebrating the success of local clubs at National level is a must.
  • We need to talk about what everyone is doing to take us to the next level. And nothing better than US Field Hockey doing it from their own official handle!