A Home for Hockey

There are many pieces of a puzzle that need to come together as a team prepares for a big event, along with many roadblocks that can get in the way of reaching full potential. One of those pieces that came together for the U.S. Women’s National Team as they trained for potential Olympic qualification was having a centralized home.

Through the support of the United States Performance Center (USPC) and countless others, that home was completed in September 2023 at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and was instrumental in the team’s training and eventual qualification for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

“Our new centralized home in Charlotte contributed to the team’s success because it brought all of our pieces together in one place,” said Kelsey Bing, USWNT Goalkeeper. “In our new home, the team is able to focus on training together and developing our team culture. Our culture is our team’s backbone. It is what helped us succeed at the Olympic Qualifiers so we could achieve our goal of qualifying for Paris 2024.”

Griffin Zetterberg

After years of instability and movement, the project of settling in a new home was kicked off in summer 2021. Facilitated by long-time supporter and USA Field Hockey Board of Directors Chair Cathy Bessant, the USWNT began to centralize in Charlotte, N.C., playing and training at Bessant Field at Queens University of Charlotte. As the team adjusted to life together in Charlotte, the plan to build a new National Training Center for field hockey was in the works.

Finally, in May of 2023, the start of construction on the new field at UNC Charlotte was celebrated with a Groundbreaking Ceremony. It was a magical moment on September 7, 2023, when the USWNT took their first steps on their new field. They were finally home.

Since then, the USWNT has been centralized in Charlotte, N.C. The ability to be together to focus on building team culture and train with the highest caliber resources has been instrumental to the team, both in the lead up to qualification and now as they prepare for Paris 2024. 

“[It is] massively important to get continuity of quality of training on a daily basis,” commented David Passmore, USWNT Head Coach. “This allowed us to prepare properly and being in North Carolina also helps provide good weather for training.”

Griffin Zetterberg

The facility is supported with the elite high performance services from the USPC, which includes strength and conditioning, athletic training, physical therapy, mental wellness, sport psychology and sports medicine resources. The field surface is the Poligras Paris GT Zero. This caliber of turf, widely regarded as the best field hockey turf in the world, is the same surface that competition will be played on in Paris.

This amazing project would not have been possible without the supporters of USA Field Hockey and their mission to grow the game and succeed internationally. The support of the state of North Carolina, UNC Charlotte, and the USPC – particularly co-founders Ike Belk and David Koerner – was pertinent to creating a home for the team.

"The planning and development of the field hockey pitch at UNC Charlotte was a collaborative effort that involved careful consideration of the needs of the athletes and the organization,” said Belk. “We worked closely with the NGB and our partners to ensure the pitch met international standards, including using the same turf as the one that will be used in the Paris 2024 Olympic [Games]. Our goal was to provide the team with a world-class facility that would enhance their training and performance."

“The support of USPC has been invaluable and their relationship with UNC Charlotte essential to allow us to build in such a fantastic environment,” commented Passmore. “The planning process took well over a year and numerous attempts to get the right location, pitch orientation, liaison with contractors which is all thanks to USPC with the support of UNC Charlotte.”

Having our own dedicated hockey space has made our new field feel like home at UNC Charlotte. We are so lucky to have the USPC’s support in building our new home.
Kelsey Bing

"Seeing the team qualify for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games was a monumental moment and a testament to the hard work and dedication of the athletes and coaching staff,” said Belk. “I'm incredibly proud that the US Performance Center could play a role in their journey by providing them with a top-notch facility to train on. It's truly an honor to be a part of their success and to see them reach this milestone."