USA Field Hockey Sets Sights on Los Angeles 2028 Olympic Games
by USA Field Hockey
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – A lot is on the horizon these next few months. The U.S. Men’s and Women’s National Team will be heavily preparing for the 2023 Pan American Games in Santiago, Chile taking place in October, which is their first opportunity to qualify for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. With that, the USA Field Hockey Staff are building momentum off-field for another Olympic Games that is just around the corner – the Los Angeles 2028 Olympic Games. The organization, along with a LA28 Committee, are well underway working to make the domestically hosted Games the largest and most-watched field hockey event in history.
Hockey, as the sport is called internationally, is one of the most popular and widely played sports in the world. An Olympic Sport for men since 1908 and women since 1980, USA Field Hockey’s vision is to achieve success on the pitch and within the wider community with hosting the Games. Hockey brings mass crowds of people from around the world into stadiums in other nations and comes in at the third most watched sport globally with 2.2 billion viewers according to Sport for Businesses.
The Los Angeles 2028 Olympic Games are projected to be a game for the people. Already, multiple organizations surrounding the LA28 movement are working to enfranchise communities with new pathways to enjoy the sport of field hockey within the United States.
USA Field Hockey’s Executive Director Simon Hoskins and the Sport Development team are taking the lead, advocating with the International Hockey Federation (FIH) and International Olympic Committee (IOC) for a large venue enabling abundant and affordable tickets. At the same time, they have built a key partnership with the City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks (LA Rec and Parks) to build a local field hockey community, where none exists today. LA Rec and Parks have a designated program, PlayLA, which has been tasked by LA28 with exposing local youth to Olympic Sports and has received a significant grant to accomplish this task.
USA Field Hockey hired California native and longtime California Cup Director Marc Bakerman to manage the LA Rec and Parks partnership and drive growth in and around Los Angeles. Since being hired, Bakerman has run more than 60 play and coach education clinics and got sticks into the hands of over 1,000 new players within the LA Rec and Parks system. He is just getting started and his work with LA Rec and Parks is foundational to the growth of the sport and success of the vision around the LA28 movement.
“We are advocating for big stadium hockey, enabling new and current enthusiasts to enjoy the thrill and pace of world-class hockey at the Olympic Games live, or from the comfort of their homes,” said Bakerman. “The experience of watching high level field hockey is a thrill that has been denied to most Americans. A sports-loving public can easily fall in love with this game, and many already have. The sport has all the things necessary to attract USA fans; high levels of strategy and skill demanded, along with grueling athleticism.”
To that end, Bakerman and the team have been dedicated to building the LA Rec and Parks programming to surround the LA28 Olympic Venue with plenty of homegrown fans and athletes. It is an all-hands effort that provides children in Los Angeles with new athletic opportunities in a robust sport that is backed by a high quality, pro-athlete/pro-child curriculum from USA Field Hockey’s top national coaching experts. The smiles on the children’s faces is evidence that the positive and developmentally appropriate coaching philosophy from experts is effective. Bakerman is building a love of field hockey first, then the skills, which following “The USA Way” model.
U.S. Men’s National Team Head Coach Harry Singh has already been pressed into service, providing coaching for these new athletes in some of the Los Angeles clinics. Singh was seen smiling through the whole event, so it is clear these youngsters are not a hardship duty for the internationally successful coach, and he has already seen his next rising star in the groups. He also provided training for new coaches, an essential step in building new sustainable programs.
LA Rec and Parks and PlayLA are amazing partners for USA Field Hockey, providing clear direction and sharing their vision. Dedicated to providing their constituents with opportunity, training, and the benefits organized sports can bring, LA Rec and Parks forward leadership is opening doors for kids in Los Angeles. The PlayLA initiative focuses those efforts on bringing the children Olympic Sports. The decision of USA Field Hockey to partner with both organizations serves the children by bringing a sport which was formerly out of reach right to their home communities.
“Our Department and PlayLA program are truly excited about what we have accomplished together with USA Field Hockey and especially Marc Bakerman’s leadership,” said Anita Meacham, City of Los Angles Superintendent of Recreation and Parks. “Seeing the faces of the kids at the events and clinic,s as well as our staff’s enthusiasm, has been inspiring these last few years and we look forward to even greater opportunities for working together for these kids.”
Beyond happy kids, USA Field Hockey and LA Rec and Parks are creating visionary program development that trains coaches and officials to properly support their new athletes. The best of what USA Field Hockey has to offer is being brought to the children of Los Angeles.
California is the wider audience for Bakerman’s efforts. “The state has unlimited potential for field hockey development,” stated Sally Goggin, USA Field Hockey’s National Development Director. “The population, climate and great sports tradition will support our innovative programs statewide. Marc’s role is to support partnerships like PlayLA and develop new ones to grow the game and create field hockey opportunities for both boys and girls, men and women, across all California zip codes. Marc is up to the task - passionate, professional and connected.”
The Los Angeles basin is about to become one of the places to watch and play field hockey in the United States. Supporting LA Rec and Parks efforts and the wonderful children of Los Angeles has created a new invigorated enthusiasm inside USA Field Hockey’s Sport Development Department. Continue to check usafieldhockey.com for updates about the exciting development on this partnership.
If you want more information on the efforts USA Field Hockey is doing in the lead up to LA28, reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.