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News for 19 December 2020

All the news for Saturday 19 December 2020

Belgium vs Netherlands eight-goal thriller voted Best Match of FIH Hockey Pro League in 2020

Image copyright: KBHB / PHDPH

There may not have been any fans present due to the Covid-19 health protocols in place, but that did not stop fans using the Watch.Hockey app from selecting November’s thrilling 4-4 draw between the men of Belgium and the Netherlands as being the best FIH Hockey Pro League match of 2020.  

The superb encounter – in which Belgium took the bonus point by winning the shoot-out after the two teams shared eight goals in regular time – claimed a 29.14 percent share of the fan vote, finishing ahead of the Netherlands women’s 3-1 victory against Argentina in Buenos Aires (2nd place - 22.73%) and India men’s 2-1 triumph over reigning world and European champions Belgium at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar (3rd place - 13.19%).

The Belgium versus Netherlands clash was the clear winner in the ten-strong, mixed gender shortlist that attracted votes in their thousands from all over the world.  

To mark the occasion, we chatted to Belgium midfielder John-John Dohmen – who is just two games away from joining a handful of players to have played 400 senior internationals – about this very special Low Countries derby match.   

FIH: John-John Dohmen, nice to talk to you! I can tell you that the Belgium game against the Netherlands, played in Brussels last month, has been voted as the best game of the FIH Hockey Pro League in 2020. What are your memories of the game, as a player involved in it?

John-John Dohmen: “It was a really nice game to play, I think. It was pretty cold that day, so it was not easy to be really focussed and really sharp for the game. But we did well, and Holland did well also. If you have a game like that, with four goals to each team, it is pretty impressive. I think it was a nice game to watch on TV, but it was a pity that the public was not present, but we know why. It was a nice game to play, I think.”

FIH: Hockey had been away for such a long time. There had been some pretty good games before, but this match was a real reminder of what everyone had been missing since the coronavirus pandemic kicked in. I think that the fans just loved that they got to see two world class teams in action. It must have been fantastic to be on the pitch, being part of that.

John-John Dohmen: “Yes, and it really was an offensive game, I would say. I think Belgium and Holland, they played to win of course, but also to play some good hockey and to score some goals. So, we were not waiting to defend, and it was the same for our opponents. It was a nice game to play; really open, tactical as well, which is something that I like. I think we saw quite a lot of mistakes tactically, but also saw nice hockey skills and nice goals, so it was an interesting game for us.”

FIH: It was certainly close! You guys took a 1-0 lead early in the match through an Alexander Hendrickx penalty corner, but the Dutch hit back immediately through Jeroen Hertzberger and took a 2-1 lead into quarter-time thanks to Thierry Brinkman. At that stage, were you thinking that this was clearly going to be an open, attacking game?

John-John Dohmen: “Mentally, it was very interesting, because we were leading and playing well, but then they came back immediately and then scored a second goal. We had to react, and we did so really well. Obviously, it is nice to play a game like that, because anything can happen. We can take the lead and they can take the lead; we cannot make any mistakes because they could come back into the game. I think mentally it was very interesting, and a good lesson for the future.”

FIH: Maxime Plennevaux scored Belgium’s equaliser just after half time, but then the Dutch went ahead again just a minute later through Jip Janssen, giving the Dutch a 3-2 lead. Then, in the final quarter, there were three goals in three unbelievable minutes. Your team moved into a 4-3 lead thanks to Florent Van Aubel and another penalty corner from Alexander Hendrickx, but then Billy Bakker levelled things up – it was an incredible final quarter of hockey.

John-John Dohmen: “Yes, I think the last quarter was a really quality game, especially for us. We played really well, and we were winning 4-3, scoring those two goals in two minutes. We didn’t expect Holland to come back at the end of the game, but it was a beautiful effort from Billy Bakker. I think he did 40 metres alone to score the goal, it was well done. But we should have won that game, especially at the end, even if a draw was [a] logical [outcome].”  

FIH: It went to the shoot-out, and goalkeeper Loic Van Doren turned out to be the hero. He’s a young man who is starting to make a name for himself.  

John-John Dohmen: “He is a really good goalkeeper. People always talk about Vincent Vanasch, which is normal – he is our first goalkeeper and the best in the world. But Loic Van Doren is also really good, and I think he showed during the three games, because he played also against GB, that he is really good. And yes, impressive in shoot-outs as well. We are really confident in our two goalkeepers because they can both make the difference. It was nice that he could show himself that he can play that kind of game on the best level.”

FIH: Obviously we know the coronavirus situation meant that there couldn’t be a crowd there to witness such an incredible game. How much of an impact did the lack of a crowd have on you guys? Did you just forget about the fact that they were not there, and just got on with the hockey?

John-John Dohmen: “To be really focussed on the game and to be really motivated, I think it is easier with the crowd because they can motivate us when we warm up, when we play at home. It gives us more energy to start the game. When we are playing, we are not thinking about it. But sometimes, we need a bit of support in difficult moments or when we score a goal. That was not there, so it was a bit disappointing for us, but it is like that, so we have to do it without the public at the moment. Because we were playing at home, we were thinking a bit more about it, so the impact was a bit bigger than if we played away. It did not have a huge impact, but I think we could have played better with the public, that’s for sure.”

FIH: Do you want to say anything to the fans who voted for this match as the best game of the FIH Hockey Pro League in 2020?

John-John Dohmen: “Yes! Thank you for voting for us and Holland. I think it was a nice game to watch, and a really nice game to play as well. It is always a great game, Belgium against Holland. It is always important in tournaments. If you look at the last Pro League, the last World Cup, or even the last Olympics, they are always decisive for the end result. I think in the future it will be the same, so we expect to play more great games against Holland, in the Pro League, the European Cup, or at the Olympic Games.”

FIH: Well, thank you so much for your time today, and very best of luck for 2021!

John-John Dohmen: “Thank you very much!”

Don’t forget to download the Watch.Hockey app, where you can find the latest news and interviews as well as action replays and highlights. Simply search Watch.Hockey in the App Store or on Google Play. A desktop version of the app is available at www.watch.hockey.

Watch.Hockey Fan Vote – The Results.

Best Goal – FIH Hockey Pro League in 2020
1: Ambre Ballenghien hits a backhand from an acute angle for Belgium against New Zealand (women’s competition - 1 February 2020)
2: Gurjant Singh scores after just thirteen seconds as India make their FIH Hockey Pro League debut against the Netherlands (men’s competition - 18 January 2020)
3: Carla Rebecchi of Argentina shows terrific skills and lightning quick reflexes to score against USA (women’s competition - 8 February 2020)

Best match – FIH Hockey Pro League in 2020
1: Belgium 4-4 Netherlands (3-1 after shoot-out) (men’s competition – 4 November 2020)
2: Argentina 1-3 Netherlands (Women’s competition – 16 February 2020)
3: India 2-1 Belgium (men’s competition – 8 February 2020)


FIH site

Dohmen reflects on eight-goal Pro League game of the year

November’s mad-cap 4-4 draw between Belgium and the Netherlands’ men’s teams was voted the best FIH Hockey Pro League match of 2020.   
The encounter – in which Belgium took the bonus point by winning the shoot-out after the two teams shared eight goals in regular time – claimed a 29.14 percent share of the fan vote, finishing ahead of the Netherlands women’s 3-1 victory against Argentina in Buenos Aires (2nd place – 22.73%) and India men’s 2-1 triumph over reigning world and European champions Belgium at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar (3rd place – 13.19%).  
The Belgium versus Netherlands clash was the clear winner in the ten-strong, mixed gender shortlist that attracted votes in their thousands from all over the world.

Speaking to the FIH website, Belgian midfielder John-John Dohmen – who is just two games away from joining a handful of players to have played 400 senior internationals – reflected on the memorable contest.

“It was a really nice game to play,” he said. “It was pretty cold that day, so it was not easy to be really focussed and really sharp for the game. But we did well, and Holland did well also. If you have a game like that, with four goals to each team, it is pretty impressive.  

“I think it was a nice game to watch on TV, but it was a pity that the public was not present, but we know why. It was a nice game to play, I think.  

“It really was an offensive game, I would say. I think Belgium and Holland, they played to win of course, but also to play some good hockey and to score some goals.  

“We were not waiting to defend, and it was the same for our opponents. It was a nice game to play; really open, tactical as well, which is something that I like. We saw quite a lot of mistakes tactically, but also saw nice hockey skills and nice goals, so it was an interesting game for us.”

See the interview here

Euro Hockey League media release

Dancer names reduced panel for 2021 Olympic bid

Sean Dancer during the 2019 European Championships. Pic: Frank Uijlenbroek / World Sport Pics

Uncapped Michelle Carey and Zara Malseed have been given a late chance to stake a claim for an Olympic spot following Irish women’s head coach Sean Dancer’s decision to reduce his panel.

They were included in his reduced panel of 23 from which 16 players and two reserves will be selected for Tokyo 2021.

It features 16 of the 18 who helped Ireland qualify last year with Serena Barr missing out due to an ACL injury while Gillian Pinder withdrawing from the panel for work reasons.

Both were also part of Ireland’s last outing back in January on tour to South Africa before lockdown came with the squad training locally ever since.

In that time, UCD flyer Carey – a former youth international cross country runner and Dublin ladies Gaelic footballer – impressed in the Irish Senior Cup success in September. Malseed, meanwhile, was first called into the wider Irish panel last February following an outstanding scoring return of more than a goal a game for Ards.

On the goalkeeping front, Railway Union’s Grace O’Flanagan has returned to the squad in recent months after an extended break, combining training with her work on the frontlines as a doctor.

She will likely be dicing with Liz Murphy for the reserve goalkeeper spot with Ayeisha McFerran the recognised first choice of the three netminders included.

Ireland’s Olympic campaign starts on July 24 against South Africa with world number one side the Netherlands, Germany, India and Great Britain waiting in the wings in the six-team preliminary group.

Speaking on the selection, Dancer said “This has been a tough process, reducing the number of athletes on the panel. We’ve seen some new talent come in and make an impression, which is a great sign for the longer term vision of the sport here in Ireland.

“I’m confident we have a really good mix of experience and talent in this panel. They’ve all been working incredibly hard and it’s been quite challenging over the past number of months with restrictions.

“I’m looking forward to the next few months and excited that we’re getting closer to Tokyo 2021.”

 “We are very excited for 2021 with two major international competitions on the calendar, Europeans and the Olympic Games. However, first and foremost we just cannot wait to play some international test matches again in the New Year.”

Katie Mullan will continue to captain the team and she said of the year ahead: “2020 has been a challenging year for everyone but over the past couple of months we have trained incredibly hard.

“With a very competitive cohort we have made some great progress, despite all the challenges COVID has presented. All our training has been in a safe environment which is credit to our staff and the players for adhering to all rules put in place.”

Irish women’s senior squad for 2021: Beth Barr (Belfast Harlequins), Michelle Carey (UCD), Naomi Carroll (Catholic Institute), Lizzie Colvin (Belfast Harlequins), Nicci Daly (Loreto), Deirdre Duke (Old Alex), Nikki Evans (Old Alex), Megan Frazer (Belfast Harlequins), Sarah Hawkshaw (Railway Union), Zara Malseed (Ards), Hannah Matthews (Loreto), Shirley McCay (Pegasus), Ayeisha McFerran (SV Kampong), Hannah McLoughlin (UCD), Katie Mullan (Ballymoney, captain), Anna O’Flanagan (Muckross), Grace O’Flanagan (Railway Union), Lena Tice (Old Alex), Sarah Torrans (Loreto), Roisin Upton (Catholic Institute), Chloe Watkins (Monkstown), Zoe Wilson (Randalstown)

The Hook

Euro World Cup spots in spotlight as FIH launch Nations Cup bidding process

Ireland’s men are waiting to hear if they have any chance of qualifying for the next World Cup. Pic: Koen Suyk/World Sport Pics

While the European Hockey Federation has secured a high quota of tickets to the 2022 and 2023 World Cups, precisely where and how those tickets will be allocated is under discussion.

Unlike previous editions which used the World League or other direct qualifier events, the FIH has allocated all 16 places to each events to continental quotas.

Europe will have six teams in the women’s competition – to include co-hosts the Netherlands and Spain – while the men’s competition in India will feature seven from the continent.

The press release announcing the breakdown of places simply stated: “Teams will qualify based on their performance at the final competition of each 2021 Continental Championship.”

However, with no formal document on World Cup qualification yet produced, it has not been confirmed if this means the top six women and top seven men from June’s eight-team EuroHockey Championships qualify directly for the World Cup or whether some spaces will be up for grabs for teams from the “B division”.

National Federations were canvassed this week by the European Hockey Federation and are now awaiting feedback from the FIH on the issue.

The significance of the decision is a big one for the Irish men in particular following their relegation to the second tier. Should the FIH insist only top tier results from the 2021 Euros count, they have no path to the World Cup.  

For the Green Army, they are in the top tier in 2021 and so have a strong chance of qualifying, particularly if six of the eight competitors in Europe will get a spot.

Elsewhere, the FIH has opened up the bidding process for the FIH Nations Cup which will be played in 2022 for the first time.
The aim of this new yearly event is to offer a top-level competition to the best-ranked teams not participating in the FIH Hockey Pro League and give the winners the option to be promoted to the FIH Hockey Pro League the next season.

The FIH Nations Cup also marks the start of the promotion-relegation principle for the FIH Hockey Pro League. The winners will have the chance to be promoted to the 2023/24 FIH Hockey Pro League, provided they meet the necessary requirements.

On the men’s side, 13th ranked Ireland are currently in line for inclusion along with Canada (world number 10); Malaysia (11); France (12); South Africa (14); Japan (15); Korea (16); Pakistan (17); Austria (20) and Egypt (21).

In the women’s competition, potential entrants and hosts are Spain (7); Ireland (8); India (9); Korea (11); Japan (13); Canada (14); South Africa (16); Italy (17); Chile (18) and Russia (19).

World Cup allocations

Africa: 1
Asia: 4
Europe: 6*
Oceania: 2
Pan America: 3
*including hosts

Africa: 1
Asia: 4*
Europe: 7
Oceania: 2
Pan America: 2
*including hosts

The Hook

My Greatest Game: Against all odds, when Savita Punia won India a historic Olympic spot

Goalkeeper Savita Punia kept Japan at bay in the 2015 World Hockey League semi-finals and helped the Indian women's hockey team make the Olympics for the first time in over three decades.

By Rahul Venkat

Until 2016, the Indian women’s hockey team had qualified for the Olympic Games just once - at Moscow 1980. Thirty five years later in Belgium, the script changed.

Having lived in the shadows of the men’s hockey team for decades, the Indian women’s hockey team were rank outsiders in the 2015 World Hockey League semi-finals. But it was a great opportunity to qualify for the Rio 2016 Games and the girls grabbed it.

India didn’t exactly set the field alight during the World Hockey League semis. But in the all-important match against Japan, the Indian girls played like a team possessed.

The Indian hockey women’s team, buoyed by a goal from captain Rani Rampal, beat Japan 1-0 in the fifth-place playoff to return to the Olympic fold after 36 long years.

Cometh the hour, cometh the woman. Rani’s goal may have been the differentiator between India and Japan but it was young goalkeeper Savita Punia, who helped save India in Antwerp.

Savita thwarted as many as six clear chances to deny Japan victory. The current vice-captain of the Indian women’s hockey team regards the contest against Japan as the greatest game of her career to date.

Here’s how it all unfolded for India.

All to play for in Antwerp

The Indian hockey women’s team qualified for the World Hockey League Semi-finals in Antwerp in 2015.

It was a 10-team tournament, divided into two groups. The top four would win direct qualification to the Rio 2016 Olympics.

The Indian hockey women’s team was a young side then and was drawn in Pool B with New Zealand, Australia, Belgium, and Poland.

The unfancied Indian hockey team fell to Belgium and New Zealand in its first two games before winning 3-1 against Poland only to lose again to Australia in the final group game.

However, India had done enough with the Poland victory to scrape through to the quarter-finals but they drew the Netherlands, one of the favourites, in the last eight and lost 7-0.

Since only the semi-finalists would qualify for Rio, it seemed India’s dream of Olympic qualification was over. However, two of the top four in Antwerp were South Korea and Australia, both of whom had already earned their tickets to Rio 2016 by winning their continental championships.

This meant that the Indian hockey women’s team could still qualify for the Rio Games if it finished fifth or sixth at Antwerp.

In the match between the losing quarter-finalists, India beat Italy in a penalty shootout to set up a fifth-place match with Japan. The excitement was palpable in the Indian hockey team camp.

“We had felt hopeless after the group stages but then suddenly, an opportunity opened up for us to play against Italy to salvage our Olympic hopes. After we won the Italy game, I could see the change in body language in the team,” Savita Punia recalled in a chat with the Olympic Channel.

“We knew we had to give it our all against Japan, a team against whom we had played close matches in the past. We knew it had all boiled down to that match and we kept telling each other that it would be our day tomorrow.”

Savita Punia was instrumental in India earning their Rio 2016 ticket against Japan.

The match started in the best manner possible. The Indian hockey team was on the attack and with two minutes left in the first quarter, striker Vandana Katariya drove down the left flank and tested the Japanese defence.

Though it was saved by the Japanese keeper, skipper Rani was on hand to drive home the rebound and give the Indian hockey team the lead. However, India’s real test began then.

Japan were relentless in their pursuit for an equaliser and forced a slew of penalty corners. But Savita Punia stood like a wall -- throwing herself in the line of the ball and swatting away every attempt the Japanese made to score.

By conservative estimates, Savita Punia had thwarted six clear chances for Japan, and it was a seminal moment for the then 26-year-old.

“Until then, I had spent a lot of time on the bench as the substitute goalkeeper and had only just started making the playing XI. I will never forget that match because I was in the zone,” Savita said.

“My confidence was sky-high after that and I felt like I could take on any team in the world.”

The historic win also secured the Indian hockey women’s team’s first Olympic appearance in 36 years, an achievement that brought happiness back into the camp.

“I could see real smiles on the faces of everyone, which had been missing for a long time,” remembered Punia.

“At the 2014 Asian Games, we had narrowly missed out on direct qualification (India won bronze when gold would have ensured an Olympic berth), so when we finally won the spot, it was a feeling of immense satisfaction.”

The Rio 2016 campaign may not have gone according to plan – the Indian hockey women’s team ended last – but India have qualified for a second-consecutive Olympics at Tokyo.

The team is much more experienced now and has racked up solid wins in the years since Rio. This gives the Indian girls a realistic chance to finish on the podium in Tokyo.

Olympic Channel

Women and Men national teams named prior to 2021 Africa Cup qualifiers

Both the male and female national Hockey teams will be coached by Italian national Francesca Richichi

by David Isabirye

In preparation for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers, the Uganda Hockey Association (UHA) has named a total of 50 players, both male and female.

There are 25 men and women apiece ahead of the qualifiers that will take place in Nairobi, Kenya come January 2021.

The group will be coached by Italian national Francesca Richichi for the training period before the final squads shall be communicated.

The male side has the likes of Moses Tusabe, Peter Elolu, Peter Walusansa, Richard Kaijuka, Richard Semwogerere, Solomon Mutalya, Stuart Kavuma, Thomas Opio, Timothy Ntumba, Topher Kyamanywa, William Okecha, Alfred Agaba, Ashraf Tumwesigye, Bosco Ochan, Brian Bayule, Brain Okondi, Charles Ekapolon, Colline Batusa, Emma Isiyagi, Innocent Raskara, Jerome Owori, Jordan Mpiima, Julius Seruyange, Martin Okello and Maxwell Mugisa.

These will be managed by Kenneth Tamale.

The female players are; Lucky Akello, Margaret Nassiwa, Mbabazi Doreen, Norah Alum, Pauline Achom, Peace Makhoha, Shakirah Namboozo, Siddy Alum, Susan Khainza, Sylvia Giramia, Sylvia Oryaro, Teddy Aciro, Teopista Anyango, Winnie Atim, Winnie Alaro, Aisha Kagere, Annet Namuwonge, Consolate Muber, Doreen Asiimwe, Esther Chelimo, Jackie Namyalo, Joan Mukoya, Joy Mutoni and Lamula Nakajjumba.

Fatumah Namubiru shall be the manager of the women team.

Kawowo Sports

Field Hockey Canada: 2020 Highlights and Reflections

Field Hockey Canada is taking the time this holiday season to reflect on 2020 — a truly unprecedented year — and celebrate the positives

The year started out like any other with the Men’s National Team preparing for an Olympic campaign. The Women’s National Team was preparing for the next steps including World Cup qualification. The NextGEN Women’s program toured to Chula Vista and sent three teams over the two weeks.

Then, all of a sudden, everything stopped.

The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent postponement of every major global event ground international competition to a halt and left organizations, teams and leagues scrambling to figure out next steps. The Canadian Olympic Committee was the first national federation to pull out of the 2020 Games, starting a domino effect, leading to the postponement of the Games to 2021. Every major competition followed suit and we were left with a dry 2020, empty of any international or domestic events.  

How do sport organizations respond when there are no tournaments? No tours, limited training? Field Hockey Canada wrestled with these questions and the result was a dedicated effort to our online presence. The organization and administration built out resources, offered webinars and other e-learning opportunities. Additionally, Field Hockey Canada led the successful and safe nationwide return to play for all athletes and staff.

Typically, these reflective lists are dominated by our national team athlete’s accomplishments and rightfully so. This year, with little-to-no competition to reflect on, to celebrate the positives of 2020, we’ve highlighted five feel-good projects from the 2020 programming slate to reflect and reminisce on as we sip some eggnog and prepare for the excitement of a new year.


Volunteer Week

From April 19–25, Field Hockey Canada celebrated National Volunteer Week and highlighted a few volunteers across the nation, including Alison Sweeten, Ashleigh Gold, Christa McAlduff, Diane Huneault and Michelle Savich. The game is nothing without the people who work tirelessly to put together matches, recreational and competitive leagues and countless other initiatives behind the scenes. We thank them and everyone else immensely — your efforts do not go unnoticed!

Coaches Week

National Coaches Week, put on by the Coaches Association of Canada, took place from September 19–27 to recognize the crucial role they play in everyday sport and life. Fittingly, Field Hockey Canada gave out four FHC Coach Awards: congratulations to Sara Restani and Ray Lewis, the Grassroots Coach Award recipients, and Andrea Gibson and Ed Fernandes, the Development Coach Award recipients! Along with the introduction of our Competitive Development Cohort Program, we are proud to share coach education resources and institute more NCCP-trained coaches to support our domestic programs. #ThanksCoach indeed!

Hall of Fame – Class of 2019

Though the Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony has been postponed until further notice, we celebrate the Class of 2019 all the same along with their incredible achievements. Each inductee was carefully selected and has paved paths for present and future individuals and groups. We congratulate: Shelley Andrews, Alan Hobkirk and Reg Plummer in the Athlete category; Alan Waterman in the Official category; Dot Asuma, Jenny John, Denys Cooper and Dr. Jack Taunton in the Builder category; the 1983 Women’s National Team in the Team category. Please see the full announcement here.

Field Hockey Canada Conference

Held on December 1–4, this inaugural event was created from the desire to engage the field hockey and broader sports communities during these unprecedented times and to provide an entertaining and educational twist on our Ahead of the Game Webinar Series. We offered six sessions in total, featuring 13 speakers and 138 delegates, and are proud to lead and continue the conversations had and ideas sparked. See the conference recap article along with our closing video here. Archived sessions can be found on our YouTube channel.

National Team & High-Performance Growth

While national team play abruptly came to a halt in March, there were a few silver linings as the pause made way for changes to our high-performance programming and staff. As we thank individuals like Paul Bundy and Hugh Purvis for their long-standing commitment to the organization, and Patrick Tshutshani for his ongoing support to the WNT, we also look to the future with new hires: Andre Henning and Pasha Gadement as MNT Head Coaches, Andrew Wilson as WNT Head Coach and Adam Janssen as High Performance Director. With our Team of Teams structure as the higher purpose, Field Hockey Canada strives towards developing the sport from coast-to-coast. Read more here.

❆ From all of us at Field Hockey Canada, happy holidays to the hockey community!❆
We hope to see you on the field in 2021. Stay safe and warm!

Field Hockey Canada media release

Get to Know USWNT’s New Head Coach Anthony Farry

Even on a Zoom call over 8,000 miles apart, the excitement between the Uru Sports team and new U.S. Women's National Team Head Coach Anthony Farry was tangible. As one of his first interviews since being announced head coach of the women’s national team, Anthony Farry gave a tell-all to the Uru Sports staff, diving into his experience, plans to grow the game with collaboration of USA Field Hockey, and answered anonymous questions Team USA really wanted to know (...and you’d be surprised at some of his answers).

Australian born, Farry got his start playing at top levels, finding his way into the Australian Indoor Senior National Team, and playing for programs around the world, including Scotland and France. Later in his playing career, he made a switch into the coaching world full time. “I never planned on being a career coach,” Farry remarked. ”I think I just fell into it at the right time and got really lucky to work in Australia with some really really good coaches. Led by Frank Murray and the National Training Center coaches. I was surrounded by a real wealth of knowledge.”

From his transition into coaching, Farry has racked up an impressive resume. He has coached Australia’s Women’s National Team, Canada’s Men’s National Team and Japan’s Women’s National Team to name a few accolades.

As he looked into the U.S. Women’s National Team, he first noticed the women’s strength of fitness and power: “I really paid attention to them at Rio at the Olympics. It was a moment where I was sitting with our Canadian guys, and we were talking about stuff for training and the USA was at halftime in one of their matches. They came and ran past us. When I saw them go past, I thought our Canadian Men’s Teams were fit and strong and like all Olympic teams and ready for competition, but when this group went past I was like 'wow they look way better than we do, I have to watch this'. So I started looking at their style of play and watched them through the Olympics and saw the potential there.”

At Uru Sports, we share USA Field Hockey’s goal of growing the field hockey game in the United States, expanding to new markets and creating great competitive opportunities. Farry seems to believe in this and takes it a step further in his philosophies for the national team: “Just after it was announced I’d be the coach, myself and my assistant put some questions to the playing group on what they would like to see in the program, what is important in being successful. More or less, they are the ones that are going to shape what we’re doing. These are the things we value, not only in hockey but in life. Making something robust around each player individually to be successful.”

And let’s get to the nitty gritty - what did Team USA players really want to know about Anthony Farry? Check it out:

If you could invite any three people, who’d you invite to a dinner party.

That’s a really tough one. My wife will be one of them. The other one would be Lauren Conrad. Remember Lauren Conrad from The Hills? I don’t know why, but I always thought that would be intriguing to meet and speak to. I’m not sure why. And the third one, Reggie Miller. I think he would be a really interesting guy to talk to. Mainly because outside of his team, he was pretty much hated, wasn’t he? So it would be interesting to learn about his journey and things he would talk about would be quite interesting. Every time he talks, I really enjoy what he has to say as a commentator.

If you weren’t coaching, what would you be doing?

Definitely running a business. I really enjoy the aspect of meeting new people every day - probably a coffee shop. I would love to be a professional surfer, but I’m not good enough.

What’s a defining moment for you in your coaching career thus far.

Oh I’m still waiting for it I think. But I think one defining moment was the first time I met the Japan Women’s Team and the first training session where I tried to get a message across and it just didn't work. Some of the Japanese girls spoke english and some didn't. I talked to them like I would the Canadian guys, right at that stage i was like “Oh wow. This is going to be hard. They were looking at me like ‘we don't know what you’re saying.’ And my Japanese is less than perfect let me tell you. For me to try and communicate at that early part, I didn't understand at all.

Toughest experience you’ve overcome and what it taught you?

World Cup when we lost to Belgium. It was tough because I had it wrong. I just expected us to win that game. I certainly didn’t read the girl’s temperament as much. I didn't take into account how they were feeling about the game. It was completely my fault. It was a really tough experience because I wanted them to do well and really wanted them to win. When you get it wrong, it’s not great, and I realized really quickly that I got it wrong on every level and I let them down. It’s important to check in to see how the team is feeling about each game.

Any superstitions before games?

No, none.

What excites you most about the opportunity to coach the USA?

I think the potential, that’s what excites me. The potential of what you can do. You always want to be involved in a program that can win medals, a little bit from a selfish point of view. But I think the potential of the program is infinite. I believe they should always be in the top 5. Once you’re in that position you're really pushing, and pushing at the big tournaments. That's something that really excites me and excites the staff as well, so to try to unlock the potential.

Content Courtesy of Uru Sports

USFHA media release

2021 U.S. Women’s National Team Trial To Be Held Virtually

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Following recent United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) approval, USA Field Hockey will conduct the 2021 U.S. Women’s National Team Trial virtually. Typically, the annual USWNT Trial would take place in-person, but the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has created a landscape where the risks of holding one are considered too high. In order to consider the health, safety and well-being of all, reduce travel costs, avoid quarantine requirements and travel restrictions, USA Field Hockey received approval from the USOPC and determined to administer the trial in this manner.

Athletes currently not on the 2020 USWNT and who are interested in trying out for the senior squad will need to nominate themselves or be nominated by their college coach. The nominations must be sent to Krista Page, USA Field Hockey’s USWNT Manager, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. no later than Friday, January 15, 2021.

All nominees will then be provided with a short questionnaire and a link to upload their submission.

Final submissions must be received no later than Friday, January 22, 2021 and will be subject to the following criteria:

        Maximum of 30 video clips or 5 minutes total video time
        May be from 2019 and 2020
        Match, training and skill videos are all acceptable

        Strength and fitness test results will be requested
        May be from 2019 or 2020 (best result to be submitted)

If you have any questions regarding the 2021 USWNT Trial, please email Krista Page, USA Field Hockey’s USWNT Manager, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

USFHA media release

Nick Pink reacts to investment decision from UK Sport for Paris cycle

Great Britain's women celebrate reaching the Tokyo 2020 Olympics

England Hockey today received notification of UK Sport’s investment decision for the Great Britain and England world class hockey programme.

The award for the Paris cycle 2021-2025 of £12,376,622 is very similar to our Tokyo 2017-2021 award.

Nick Pink, Chief Executive of England Hockey and Chief Operating Officer of GB Hockey said, "These are incredibly difficult times for everyone in Olympic and Paralympic Sport, so I would like to place on record my admiration and respect for UK Sport’s approach to these investment decisions.

"Our Performance Director Ed Barney and his team deserve credit for the time and skill invested in the submission process.

"This investment from UK Sport and the National Lottery will enable our men’s and women’s programmes to be in a position to plan fully for a number of significant international events in the next four years; including two Olympic games, a home Commonwealth Games, four seasons of the FIH Hockey Pro League, Senior and Junior World Cups and EuroHockey Championships to name but a few.

"Now more than ever, I am delighted that the power of world class sport to inspire the nation has been recognised by stakeholders and government alike.

"With so much hockey to come next year, I truly believe that sport can be a power for good as we look to a much brighter 2021.”

England Hockey Board Media release

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