Missouri State Chapter Hosts Chapter Launch Day at Maryville University

Content courtesy of Missouri State Chapter

Jake Hood, board member of the new Missouri State Chapter of USA Field Hockey had a vision to show his community the depth and length of field hockey within Missouri. Field hockey in Missouri began 102 years ago, at least, when Mary Institute fielded a high school team. Constance Applebee is often credited with bringing field hockey to America, and she visited the Missouri school in 1963 to see their field hockey program in action, which clearly had reached national notice at that time. Today, field hockey has continued and grown, and is now played in Missouri at four different clubs, 35 high schools, and at least 25 middle school programs!

With the launch of the new grassroots growth focus by USA Field Hockey, the national governing body (NGB) of field hockey in the United States, states are able to create local State Chapters under the auspices of the NGB. Sally Goggin, National Development Director of USA Field Hockey, was impressed by the depth of the Missouri team and their ability to pull everyone together and not only launch the new chapter, but also host this kick off event. 

“USA Field Hockey is dedicated to our grassroots programs and growth for our sport. We know that sports need to serve all kids in their home communities and be available for them to play as part of their normal daily activities. The key to this fun is well-trained and experienced coaches who can focus on the fun learning experience for new players, where they are living. The new Missouri Chapter has a group of leaders with field hockey expertise that can well support new players and programs, so kids have a chance to learn the game properly and have a great time doing it. Our sport is really fun at every stage of play. We are excited that more children in Missouri will now have the chance to find that out.”

The USA Field Hockey state chapters focus on local growth, local issues, local excellence and of course, the history of local field hockey. The new Missouri State Chapter was the perfect vehicle for Jake to work with like-minded local leaders to showcase the rich Missouri history of field hockey and its current status within state sports landscape.

St. Louis and Kansas City are the main concentration areas of field hockey currently. In the middle between them is the University of Missouri and may be the ideal place to meet at from the two sides of the state, and become a target for growth. University programs are well known to be anchors of growth; Maryville University (Division II), St. Louis University (Division I), and Lindenwood (Division I) are places with current collegiate programs and are all within a 20-mile radius of each other. Maryville University, the newest program, launched with its inaugural field hockey season in 2022.


State Chapter President Lynn Mittler was pleased by the various groups all coming together to celebrate and showcase field hockey in Missouri this day. All clubs and university teams were represented by players, available to help newcomers understand and try out various aspects of the sport.

“The connection between the college players and the little kids was key for me. This modeling of potential for young kids by players is so important. The kids were happy to try field hockey and having the university players’ encouragement and help solidified the experience for them. You can dream about things you can see in front of you. Adding the personal connection just makes those dreams more realistic for kids.”

The event also captured some of the greats of the game from Missouri – and the legends came out. Champions and original pioneers who began programs showed up to help raise the day and the status of the event. The outpouring also included coaches from various teams and programs, including all of the local club teams who had people on hand to help out and showcase the sport.

While often seen as a girls/women’s sport, the boys/men’s game in Missouri is alive and growing. The day was designed for all players in every case to find a place to play and see that they have a home in the Missouri hockey community. Hockey is the number three most involved sport in the world and is primarily seen as a sport for both genders around the world. The men’s game is robust and many children in the world dream of being stars like Alexander Hendrickx (Germany) or Tim Brand (Australia). Missouri boys will find encouragement and opportunity in the new state chapter in the coming years and may even come to find new heroes and games to follow in the USA Field Hockey Men’s National Team roster!

When asked about future plans after the event, Mittler spoke about growing the local game.

“The idea is for the chapter to help new programs start up, to make more kids aware of the game and get them into our sport where they live. We want to reach new communities in Missouri with our game and give kids the chance to play hockey and have fun with it.”