Moving NCAA Field Hockey Forward
by USA Field Hockey
USA Field Hockey and the National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) are working together to promote the benefits of collegiate field hockey in the United States. The two organizations aim to increase the number of National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) programs, thereby creating more opportunities for athletes, coaches and umpires at the NCAA level.
The project, tabbed Field Hockey Forward, brings together various efforts in a unified initiative to demonstrate to colleges and universities the depth, value and breadth of collegiate field hockey in the United States. Field Hockey Forward is an evolution of USA Field Hockey’s College Sustain and Grow Project that began in 2019 and is supported by the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee.
Field hockey is currently played at more than 285 NCAA colleges and universities at the Division I, II and III levels, providing more than 6,000 female student-athletes with a collegiate athletic experience. Although growing at the Division II and III levels, field hockey at the Division I has not grown as rapidly as other sports, such as women’s lacrosse and wrestling.
“Field hockey is the third most popular sport in the world and an Olympic Sport for women and men,” said Simon Hoskins, USA Field Hockey’s Executive Director. “There’s a lot of room for it to grow at the NCAA level, and many NCAA colleges and universities would benefit from adding field hockey to their athletic sports line up.”
USA Field Hockey and the NFHCA want to help colleges and universities understand the many benefits of adding field hockey programs to their institutions and for their student-athletes.
“We recognize the clear correlation between collegiate athletic participation and success in business and life, and that field hockey student-athletes are exceptional students and leaders, making countless positive contributions to their campus communities.” Hoskins added.
NCAA field hockey is unique in many ways. It was one of the first NCAA Championship sports, and boasts one of the highest percentages of female Division I coaches and umpires. Furthermore, NCAA college programs play a huge role in the development of young field hockey athletes striving to represent Team USA in international competitions, including the Olympic Games. Every player on the current U.S. Women’s National Team competes or competed for a Division I field hockey program.
A typical Division I field hockey program features an average of 24 athletes, a head coach and two assistant coaches; while Division II and III programs vary more in size and staffing. In addition to varsity programs, more than 150 colleges sponsor club field hockey teams for intercollegiate club play. Collegiate clubs are most often run by Student Activities, as opposed to varsity programs, which are run by the Athletic Department.
USA Field Hockey and the NFHCA would like to thank the outstanding volunteers serving on the Field Hockey Forward Advisory Team: Janelle Benner (Ursinus College Head Coach), Julee Burgess (Michigan State University Associate Athletic Director), Pam Bustin (Duke University Head Coach), Steve Jennings (American University Head Coach), Sandy Miller (East Stroudsburg University Head Coach), Melissa Vasselotti Twist (AstroTurf Director of Field Hockey & Regional Sales Manager), Marielle Van Gelder, (University of North Carolina Senior Associate Athletic Director/Senior Women’s Administrator), Sarah Wilhelmi (United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USPOC) Senior Director of Collegiate Partnerships) and on the Data Team: Sam Brown (James Madison University Associate Head Coach), Teresa Mathews (Lehigh University Associate Head Coach) and Chip Rogers (Miami University Associate Head Coach). Another thank you goes to consultant, Matt Banker (MB Sports Consulting LLC), and the USOPC for their continued support. Representing USA Field Hockey is Executive Director Simon Hoskins, and National Development Director Sally Goggin. The National Field Hockey Coaches Association is represented by Executive Director Cate Clark.
If you are aware of a college or university interested in learning more about field hockey, please fill out this form. For questions or feedback, contact Sally Goggin (email@example.com) and Cate Clark (firstname.lastname@example.org.) USA Field Hockey and the National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) are building programs and resources to help educate and support new and potential NCAA programs on and off the field.