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2023 USA Field Hockey National Club of the Year Award Winner: Needham Youth Field Hockey

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Following the announcement of all winners, USA Field Hockey is individually highlighting each recipient of USA Field Hockey's 2023 Annual Awards. This week, USA Field Hockey is honored to feature the 2023 National Club of the Year Award winner, Needham Youth Field Hockey.

Needham Youth Field Hockey (NYFH) was founded in 2020 by Dina Hannigan. What started with 81 players across five teams in that first year, grew to almost 300 registered for the upcoming 2024 spring session, and continues to grow each season. Since then, NYFH has grown into a program known for its beacon of inclusivity and community engagement.

Hannigan founded NYFH to provide players an opportunity to learn field hockey at a young age, as prior to 2020 the sport was not offered in town until 7th grade. As a strong believer in the ability of girls to become successful in all areas of their lives' through sport, she hoped that by putting sticks in their hands and teaching them the sport she is passionate about, that athletes would reach their goals and fulfill their highest potential, both on and off the field.

In 2021, Hannigan named Tessa Taylor as NYFH’s assistant director and together they run and help coach the league. They cultivate an all-encompassing and empowering community where players not only acquire field hockey skills but also experience a strong sense of belonging to a team, regardless of their skill level. NYFH integrates social and emotional components into their coaching approach, ensuring that the valuable lessons learned on the field can be applied in various aspects of players' lives beyond the game. Furthermore, NYFH recognizes the importance of balancing academics and athletics, encouraging their athletes to excel in school.

“It is extremely important to us that NYFH is a place where the girls feel respected, heard and empowered and in the process learn to become well-rounded individuals,” both Hannigan and Taylor echoed.

NYFH’s collaborations with local businesses and charities demonstrate a profound commitment to societal betterment. Each season the program supports organizations such as Dana Farber, Autism Speaks, Boston Children's Hospital, The Faustman Lab at Massachusetts General Hospital, Needham Community Council, and Walker Therapeutic and Educational Programs exemplifies how sports can be a powerful vehicle for positive change. These efforts not only aid these esteemed institutions but also teach young athletes the value of community service and empathy.

“We are honored to be named USA Field Hockey’s 2023 National Club of the Year,” commented Hannigan. “We are so proud of each and every one of our coaches, players, families and supporters. This is an award recognizing all of their efforts, dedication and sacrifice to not only help grow the game of field hockey in Needham but to also foster hope and resilience in our community; and we couldn’t do it without them. NYFH is more than a sports program; we are a supportive family that stands together for the betterment of our community.”

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