National field hockey teams stop by campus for practice

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Dylan Drury

The USA Men's and Women's National Field Hockey Teams practicing and scrimmaging at Sacred Heart Greenwich October 10 and 11. Dylan Drury '22

Sacred Heart Greenwich hosted the USA Women’s and Men’s National Field Hockey Teams on the Joan Magnetti, RSCJ Turf Field for two practices October 10 and October 11.  Mr. Alex Gheorghe, varsity A field hockey coach, Mr. Abdel El Kettani, varsity B field hockey coach, and Mrs. Kelly Marks, former head coach of the 7/8 A field hockey team, competed alongside the national teams, offering students the opportunity to watch the professional athletes train and compete on campus.

The USA Women’s and Men’s National Field Hockey Teams practice on the Magnetti turf field October 10 and 11.  Courtesy of Katherine Hennessy

Ms. Janneke Schopman is the head coach of the United States (US) Women’s National Team.  Her team typically practices and plays at Spooky Nook Sports in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.  Mr. Rutger Wiese coaches the US Men’s National Team, which trains at the Chula Vista Elite Athlete Training Center in Chula Vista, California.

Both teams came together to prepare for their upcoming International Hockey Federation Olympic qualifiers, October 25 to November 3, in Lausanne, Switzerland.  The winners of the Olympic qualifiers will earn a spot at the 2020 Olympic field hockey tournaments, being held in Tokyo, Japan.

Mr. Gheorghe, who is also the 2019-20 US Men’s National Indoor Team Head Coach, commented on how the practices benefited the community.

“We were really lucky and privileged to watch both Olympic teams train and compete together live on campus,” Mr. Gheorghe said.  “Learning from the top level of field hockey players in the country will always benefit our program and our community.”

Mr. Alex Gheorghe, varsity A field hockey coach and 2019-20 U.S. Men’s National Indoor Team Head Coach, participates in the scrimmage with the USA Men’s Field Hockey team.  Courtesy of Katherine Hennessy

Mrs. Marks, a midfielder on the US Women’s National Team also took part in the scrimmage.  After coaching at Sacred Heart for one year, Mrs. Marks now plays for the national field hockey team and has many accomplishments, including winning the Canadian Cup in 2017.  She is also a member of the 2019-20 US Women’s National Indoor Team and will participate in indoor tournaments in Europe this winter in preparation for the 2020 Indoor Pan American Cup.

Many collegiate and national teams in the past have used the athletic facilities at Sacred Heart.  Ms. Elizabeth Dennison, Director of Athletics, felt great pride when both USA Field Hockey teams were practicing on campus. 

“Exposure to athletes performing at the top level of their sport is hugely beneficial for our student-athletes,” Ms. Dennison said. “For those field hockey players that were able to see the USA women’s team in action, it is an example of hard work, commitment, and strong women performing their best in a team environment.  It is always exciting to have national teams and top-level collegiate programs come to our campus.  Our state of the art facilities have attracted these groups, as our campus is a great place to play and train.”

Featured Image by Dylan Drury ’22