The 4 Things You Wouldn't Expect about the Field Hockey Community
by Uru Sports
There’s no doubt that field hockey is a unique sport. As we all know, it is not typically a sport casually picked up at recess, or taught in most gym classes. For many of us, it even started as a secondary or tertiary sport. Still, the uniqueness of the game and the community surrounding field hockey is as strong as ever. It is this unparalleled community that led us to really analyze what makes it unique, and what we think you need to know about the field hockey world. Here are the top 4 things you wouldn’t expect about the field hockey community:
1. Field hockey is wildly popular worldwide
Although there are only 213 NCAA college field hockey teams in the United States (and only for females), many sources claim that there are over 2 billion fans that watch field hockey. In The Netherlands, there is estimated to be 240,000 club field hockey athletes, where athletes often begin as young as 6 years old, and play well into adulthood (think clubs with teams for ages 60+!). Uru Sports founder, Ainsley McCallister, had the chance to play overseas in England, Australia and South America. In her experience: “Fresh out of college I experienced the richness of the [field] hockey club scene abroad and was blown away. Up until that point I was on teams that consisted of 23 individuals within a larger athletic department that wasn’t necessarily passionate about field hockey - the fans never understood why the whistle kept blowing and the cheers always roared when goals were scored when shot out of the circle. Overseas, I was part of a club with thousands of members who were all passionate about hockey. Fans would spend all day at the club and even give you knowledgeable critiques at the end of every game.”
2. The field hockey community is a powerful network
The community has the chance to change lives. For McCallister, her hockey community helped her to play abroad in the first place. “I was fortunate to have people with personal connections and who were willing to introduce me to clubs from their international network,” said McCallister.
While it is still currently limited to “who you know,” McCallister built Uru Sports to help the hockey community connect beyond word of mouth networks. “For me, it was a web effect of people who kindly wanted to help me get a great experience. But without individuals acting on behalf, I wouldn’t have had the chance to participate in these opportunities,” said McCallister, “First, I got the English experience through Craig Parham, who sent a personal introduction. Then for Australia, the UConn coach, Paul Caddy, introduced me to a former UConn athlete playing in Australia who thankfully tried to help me navigate finding a club to join.”
Thus, McCallister built Uru Sports to help the hockey community connect. “The network helped me have a life changing experience playing for 7 different teams around the world, meeting people I never thought possible, and getting cultural & work experience that would shape me forever. I wanted to create Uru Sports in that image - a high-tech solution to connect people in order to help support and open doors for athletes and better their overall sports experience, be it finding them a new opportunity or helping them make the most of their current situation.”
3. It is easy to give back to others in the field hockey community
No matter what stage of athlete you may be - youth, recreation league, NCAA college athlete, professional or Olympian - there are others in the field hockey community going through similar experiences. In field hockey there are key milestones such as trying out for your first club team, buying your first stick, choosing a position, going through the recruiting process, learning how to balance homework and practice, etc. By sharing your experience and giving back to others, you create the opportunity to strengthen the community.
During quarantine, Team USA’s Ally Hammel used her knowledge of the game and gave back to local clubs. She partnered with Uru Sports to provide virtual training sessions to WC Riptide in Los Angeles. For Hammel, “Uru Sports has the amazing ability to connect so many people within the [field] hockey community. Connecting to the players with WC Riptide was awesome - they were so motivated and eager to learn, I was thrilled to be able to share my experience and exercises with them.”
4. Lastly, let’s face it, the field hockey community is more intertwined than most other sports
You’ve learned about how Ainsley McCallister gained a global network abroad, and how Ally Hammel met with field hockey players across the country. While this community is smaller in the United States, the community is far more intertwined. Even at the collegiate level, unlikely teams connect in order to continue playing.
For Tufts University field hockey team captain, Beth Krikorian: “In the summer off-season, it’s very common to train with athletes from other schools. You play with your teammates, but also mix with other schools, even rival programs. Programs like Tufts, Boston, Northeastern, etc. will actually host nights for college field hockey players in the area to play together. Athletes across all three divisions come to play. It’s just a great, fun way to continue training in the offseason.”
Uru Sports is designed with this unique community in mind - aiming to easily connect the field hockey community, and grow the game worldwide. For more information on how you can connect with the field hockey community in your city or overseas, visit urusports.com, or email the team at firstname.lastname@example.org.