Club of the Week Wednesday: Houston Velocity Field Hockey Club
by USA Field Hockey
On Wednesdays throughout 2021, USA Field Hockey will highlight an active club from one of the nine regions around the United States to shine a spotlight on what makes Member Clubs unique. From coast-to-coast, clubs big and small will be featured to increase awareness of field hockey across the country, and administrators and coaches will have the chance to talk about initiatives, training and favorite parts of the game. This week, from Region 10 is Houston Velocity Field Hockey Club.
Club Name: Houston Velocity Field Hockey Club
History: Houston Velocity Field Hockey Club was founded in 2021, and while the club is still in its infancy, they have made tremendous strides in a very short period. The club was established by coach Jennifer Bower, coach Jeremy Cain and operations manager Thomas “Tom” Bower. While these three drive the day-to-day operations, the club’s initial success is largely a function of the overwhelming support of parents and advocates backing the club’s formation.
Houston Velocity was founded and supported by parents who have lived the field hockey life for years. This perspective allows for an understanding of off-the-pitch dynamics, such as player health, school/sports balance, life commitments, logistical considerations and financial limitations. It is important that the club represents the values of the parents, their players and the community. They hope that those players in Houston, looking for a club to call home, will give Houston Velocity an opportunity.
During their first three months, Houston Velocity has had many milestone moments. Those include registering the club as a non-profit organization, bringing together 50 girls for their first spring session, putting together a summer training calendar and preparing to send a U-19 team to the Disney Field Hockey Showcase. While the first three months were extremely busy, the club has much to be thankful for.
When picking a name for the club, Tom said it was a challenge, especially when there are already so many other clubs established in a large city, such as Houston. At the same time, he said they needed a name that embodies what the club represents. Velocity, from a science perspective, is the rate of change of an object as it relates to its given direction. In much the same way, Houston Velocity wants to foster an environment of growth and opportunity for a player to progress forward over time.
With only being established in 2021, Houston Velocity will hit the ground running and are taking the opportunity to participate in the Disney Field Hockey Showcase in June. This will be the club’s first USA Field Hockey event.
In addition to the competition, the club is looking forward to team building opportunities. Beyond that, Houston Velocity is already looking at fall/winter events, such as the National Hockey Festival and National Indoor Tournament.
Tom on Club Life:
Tom said that Houston Velocity was founded to create more field hockey playing opportunities. In a city of two million people, a single club could not offer the diversity of perspective to adequately account for every undiscovered, future field hockey player. The club wants the athletes to grow not only on the field, but also within the community. Tom and the staff believe in camaraderie, strengthened by shared training and competitions, but also by working together outside the club. In addition to team dinners and social activities, Houston Velocity plans to be involved in community activities, like helping at the Houston Food Bank or preparing meals for Kids Meals, a local philanthropy effort that delivers lunch to Houston’s hungriest preschool-aged children.
Being a nonprofit organization, Tom believes it is important to bring field hockey to new audiences. Houston Velocity will be offering a ‘Pick Up a Stick Day’ in late summer to show the uninitiated what field hockey is all about. Additionally, they are coordinating outreach efforts and demonstrations at local schools. Finally, they have a scholarship program for deserving athletes. It is their intention that community interaction will inspire a lifetime of service among the players.
Houston Velocity offers a full suite of college recruiting abilities. Whether it is a coaching staff of experienced players (current and former), deep relationships with collegiate coaches, technology rich capabilities (videography, website player profiles, etc.) or playing opportunities to showcase abilities on the pitch, they have the assets desired by college-bound players. Houston Velocity is another pathway for Houston’s finest athletes to demonstrate the amazing talent found in Texas.
While the COVID-19 pandemic has created some challenges related to field access for practice, Tom said they are fortunate to have formed Houston Velocity as the situation was improving. The club has found some wonderful practice fields a little farther than most would prefer for commuting; however, the parents and players have been incredibly supportive. They hope to find closer field access as soon as local schools are more comfortable sharing field space and they are appreciative of the flexibility everyone is demonstrating during the pandemic.
As parents of a USA Field Hockey player, Jen and Tom have enjoyed the friendships created on and off the field. Month after month, tournament after tournament, the families have bonded over the shared experiences. Jen and Tom said they cheer on each other’s players as if they were our own. There forms a lasting, life-long friendship through the sport of field hockey.