Top Qualified Adult Teams to Compete in USFHL Adult NCC in July
July 21, 2023 is the opening day for the United States Field Hockey League (USFHL) Adult National Club Championship (NCC) in Newark, Del. at the University of Delaware’s Rullo Field. These games will decide which adult men’s and women’s teams are the best of the best in 2023.
All competitors had to win to get here. No one comes in with the expectation they are not going to be standing with a trophy in their hands at the end. Eight men’s teams and twelve women’s teams will travel to Newark – with only two leaving as National Champions. Following the conclusion of the event on Sunday, July 23, some truly fine field hockey games would have been played that were worth watching for anyone interested in the game. If you’re asking yourself if you should make the trip or put it on your calendar, rest assured this is worth your time. If you are unable to attend in-person, games will be streamed on YouTube. All tournament information is listed below and rosters are posted on USFHL.com.
In the Adult NCC men’s division there will be no shortage of high-caliber contests, spectacular goals and unbelievable saves. Fans won’t want to miss these matches as multiple former national team athletes from around the globe will be playing on many of the teams.
Last year's Men’s Champions, the NY Islanders FHA have a handful of former national team athletes, as well as several other teams like the Minuteman, who won the Northeast Premier League to qualify, who has former players from Canada, Kazakhstan, Puerto Rico and USA. In qualifying through elimination regional events, these teams have been vetted as serious contenders. All teams are arriving with workhorse mentality, vying to win a championship on Sunday.
The NY Islanders FHA are returning champions from 2022. Their off-the-field hallmark is having a fun time and it has translated well for them into on-the-field success. The gentlemen from New York delivered high skill play last year, besting Lonestar FHC out of Texas in a tight match for the title. This is the team to buzz by if you need a pick me up moment of happiness. Lonestar qualified again, and there’s nothing like sitting on a year of being second to drive you to push for more repetitions, cage time and conditioning for a return to the title match. Sitting in opposite pools this year, Lonestar could meet NY Islanders in elimination play to have their chance at redemption.
Philly Premier will be playing in their backyard. Just an hour drive from Newark, they have the benefits of being a “home team” for this tournament. Not quite as local, Rye/Westchester from New York will be arriving as the League Champions from the North East Field Hockey Association (NEFHA). They already hold a national title as they are “New York's oldest and most successful field hockey club since 1928”. They plan to add to that success and “win the cup” this year, according to their goalkeeper Oliver Stubel.
If you have never seen a men’s field hockey game, then mark your calendars for the July 21 to 23 weekend and head to Newark, Del. - admission is free. You are guaranteed to see some high quality, competitive, and if last year is any measure, at times very hotly contested games.
Once again, the estimable Gus Soteriades will be leading the officiating crew. Soteriades and his team kept pace with fast games, a few short tempers and managed to seamlessly move the competition forward to everyone's satisfaction through the bumpiest of moments in 2022. USFHL is pleased to have Soteriades and his crew returning and elevating the officiating to professional levels.
The hotbed of women’s teams coming into the Adult NCC this July will make up the four pools competing to land in contention for the title round. Twelve teams from around the country will compete in Delaware this summer, where one will walk away with the title National Champion.
Returning National Champions the Olympic Club from San Francisco will be defending their 2022 title. The athletes of this team have recently been seen working hard and competing in regional tournaments. They are aware they arrive with targets on their backs and eleven other teams wish to send them back to California disappointed. Many of the athletes from their 2022 roster are returning again, and certainly are well remembered.
Also returning are the women of the Atlanta FHC, led by director and captain Elizabeth Hitti. Noteworthy, Hitti was named to compete in the Senior Nexus Championship, so believe it when we say that this team is ready to compete. Having bested all competitors in their Regional Club Championship in Houston this year, they are ready to make their run to the end. Like the Olympic Club, they are prepared to hit the ground hard and not let up.
Also traveling in from California are the Santa Monica FHC. Making their first-ever appearance in the Adult NCC, team manager Sandra Binder remarked, “we want to represent the coast, coming from so far away. We are excited to be going and our goal is to finish in the top-three for our first nationals.” Binder also reports the other team goal is to enjoy the event as a whole. On Saturday evening, all teams are invited to the National Tournament Social.
DcDragons are looking to reclaim their stance, having won the women’s event in 2021.
The women’s bracket is rounded out with a few more teams including the Miami Surf arriving from Miami in the Southeast. The Strikers from Pennsylvania, who won the league championship at Spooky Nook Sports to qualify, are joined by fellow Keystone State teams Running on Empty, the Pennsylvania Field Hockey Association Champions, and SteelStyx, hailing from Pittsburgh. We cannot forget to mention the hometown favorite, who practice on Rullo Field, Delaware FHA! With the hometown advantage in play, plus some skills players, they are certainly a team that could be the last one standing in the women’s bracket on Sunday.
The NY Islanders FHC, Lonestar FHC, dcDragons and Washington FHA teams will be making an outsized presence, as all four of these clubs are sending both their men’s and women’s teams to the competition.
Admission to the 2023 Adult NCC is free and parking is available onsite. If fans cannot make it to the event in-person, be sure to tune in to the live coverage on USFHL.com and check out the USA Field Hockey Event Page.