A Visit With US Field Hockey In Charlotte

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This weekend I attended a meeting of the USA Field Hockey Foundation which was an opportunity to meet with coaches, players and other board members to discuss progress, training and look at the new site for US Field Hockey in Charlotte. At the present time the team is practicing at a very fine site at Queens College which has a fine turf and is near the ultimate site. We learned that the group developing the Olympic site has engaged a company to install a state of art turf field which should be ready by this summer. At the moment the team is looking forward to the Pan Am Cup in Chile.

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The US Performance Center (USOPC) is managing the development of this state of the art facility which already has five olympic sports committed to moving there. However, already the USOPC is supervising the physical conditioning of our Field Hockey team with some impressive results. They use DNA testing to insure that diet, strength and cardiovascular elements are coordinated to make sure we deliver the best conditioned athletes in the world. In the next few years the state of the art game pitch will be the centerpiece at the site and we all can’t wait to have 5,000 screaming fans rooting for the USA in competition. In the meantime, two permanent fields along with apartment space surrounding it will be constructed for training athletes will be constructed. The State of North Carolina along with private support is financing this dream.

The city has embraced the team and team has embraced them. Many team members are living with families in the Charlotte area and our athletes have been treated to welcoming events.

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This is the 100th year for US Field Hockey and there will be a celebration at the Union League in Philadelphia on February 5. In addition, Hall of Fame Inductions will be announced along with a celebration of two women, Grace Reynolds and Elisabeth Shellenberger, who unfortunately passed recently and are affectionately known as the “golden girls.” This weekend we remembered them and the legacy they are passing on to our women’s team. Pam Stuper ( the Yale head coach and executive director of US Field Hockey Foundation) shared a little of their life, and devotion to the “game,” with our current national team, and we viewed a number of emotional tearful moments from our young women.!!

There was also a dinner at a local steak house where the servers were impressed with our local celebrities. It was an opportunity to reconnect with team Captain and Lafayette grad Amanda Magadan and got to see her new bling on her finger!!! I also sat next to Patriot League and Boston University grad Ally Hamel, who is making her mark with the team and thankfully will not be making life difficult for Lafayette in the coming collegiate seasons. In addition, we got to talk to Jenny Rizzo the current GK who coached our Lafayette GKs before landing on the US Team. All in all, we met and broke bread together with many athletes that we have read about and seen on TV nationally. How fortunate for us, they are now representing our country.

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William Rappolt

I am past chairman of the Lafayette Friends of Field Hockey and a former BOT member at Lafayette College. My wife and I are members of the Board of Trustees for USA Field Hockey Foundation. I am the retired treasurer of M and T Bank Corporation and a 25 year fan of Division one field hockey

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