Field Hockey Continues to Grow in Michigan, Headlined by Dexter Native

BRIGHTON, Mich. – The sport of field hockey continues to grow in the Great Lakes State, thanks in part to the leadership of the Michigan State Chapter of USA Field Hockey and to a Michigan native athlete, Abby Tamer.

Since the formation of the Michigan State Chapter in 2019, there has been much growth and excitement around field hockey. Several high schools have added programs, joining the Michigan High School Field Hockey League (MHSFHL) and creating more opportunities for girls to play. The Michigan State Chapter has held events to fuel growth, including Discover Field Hockey Clinics and ancillary events around the hosted NCAA Division I Semifinals and Finals. Michigan based athletes are going places, with many committing to play collegiately. The energy continues to buzz around Dexter, Mich.’s Abby Tamer, who is making a name for herself as a member of the U.S. Women’s National Team and Paris 2024 Olympic hopeful.

Abby epitomizes hard work, dedication and passion for a sport. She was a four-year standout at Dexter High School and twice named high school player of the Year by the MHSFHA. While in high school, she was named to the U.S. U-16 Women’s National Team in 2019. She rose through the juniors ranks on the U-18 and U-21 squads before being pulled up to the senior team in January 2023. Even in her short time with the United Eagles, she has made a true impact, scoring a game-winning goal that helped Team USA qualify for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. 

Currently one of the youngest athletes on the USWNT, Abby's offensive prowess is making her a threat on the international scene. She is a current junior at the University of Michigan but deferred her enrollment this past academic year with an Olympic Waiver to concentrate and prepare for Olympic qualification. With one box checked, she is hopeful to become an Olympian when the U.S. Women’s Olympic Field Hockey Team of 16 athletes is named in the middle of June.

Abby’s journey is impressive, unique and continues to be written. She is the only current rostered USWNT athlete from Michigan, a state in which field hockey is not yet sanctioned at the high school level. Just this week, two additional field hockey athletes from Ann Arbor, Mich., Corinne (Coco) Courtright and Lilian Soldan were both named to the U-18 USWNT squad that will travel to compete in Europe in just a few weeks.

Abby’s mother, Keely, has been instrumental in advocating for high school growth and sanctioning by the Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA). Keely currently serves as the president of USA Field Hockey’s Michigan State Chapter. She credits her high school and college field hockey experiences with shaping her into the leader she is today.

Field hockey is a great team sport and a sport that relies on several different types of talent and strength by team members," commented Keely. "Girls find their unique talents and see how those strengths contributes to the whole. We want more kids in Michigan to have the opportunity to play and grow through field hockey. The field hockey community in Michigan is growing and getting stronger at all levels, youth through adult, and high school field hockey opens doors for more female student athletes to compete and excel."

At the end of February, Abby gave back by hosting an offensive clinic for youth field players and goalkeepers at Legacy Center Sports Complex in Brighton, Mich. Hockey UnTamed was a 1.5 hour clinic that had 67 girls attend who were full of excitement to learn from Abby. From skill stations to game play, Abby and the other coaches shared their skills, knowledge and passion for the game through interactive drills and demonstrations, often jumping into game play alongside the young participants. It ended with some exciting giveaways and an autograph session.

The Tamers are not alone in hoping the MHSAA will vote to sanction field hockey in their upcoming March 22 vote, and that high school field hockey will continue to grow throughout the state. Dexter High School’s Athletic Director Michael Bavineau is a big supporter. “The state of field hockey in southeast Michigan has never been greater. This is due to the outstanding young people like Abby Tamer. In my time, I have watched field hockey grow within our community and around the state. I have no doubt the popularity and the growth will continue to impact young people all over. I would encourage any school district or community to consider adding field hockey. The more opportunities we can add for young girls the better leaders and athletes we will have in our school communities.”

Specific to Tamer, Michael added, “We are certainly proud to call Abby a Dexter Dreadnaught and watch her be part of team USA. Go USA!”

Learn more about Abby's journey in field hockey in the recent Why We Play Success Story.  

USA Field Hockey offers Starter Packages to new high schools and clubs programs to provide reduced pricing and equipment, supporting schools in Michigan and throughout the country.