Welcome to our series of Five Minutes with… blogs that will feature interviews with AstroTurf’s staff of experts, partners, clients and friends. We hope you learn something about our industry and the great people associated with it. Today we talk with USA Field Hockey’s National Development Director, Sally Goggin

You serve as the National Development Director for USA Field Hockey, will you tell us a little about that role and what it entails?
My overall responsibility is to grow the game of field hockey in the United States. Over the past five years, well over 100,000 young athletes have tried field hockey as a result of “Grow the Game” initiatives and grassroots programming. Many in the United States don’t realize that field hockey is an Olympic sport for men and women and one of the most popular and widely played sports in the world. USA Field Hockey wants more people throughout the country to have an opportunity to enjoy this great game. It can be enjoyed by young and old, as it’s truly a sport for life.

The sport of field hockey is definitely gaining in popularity in the United States. Aside from the “Grow the Game” initiatives, what do you think is making the sport so attractive to athletes?  There are many great reasons why the sport is growing. It can be enjoyed by people of all ages, it’s easy to learn, it’s affordable with minimal equipment needs, and it’s a safe sport with a low rate of serious injuries and concussions.  Just because it’s safe doesn’t mean it is slow and boring. The game is really fast with ball speeds sometimes exceeding 75 miles per hour. On top of all of that, it’s great exercise too. Players can travel more than five miles in a single game.

We’ve talked about how field hockey is growing in the United States, what do you think is necessary to take that growth to the next level?  Access to quality fields and the increased number of field hockey specific fields continue to play a key role in supporting and driving growth of the game across the United States. As more and more recreation departments and schools – both high schools and colleges – install fields, more and more people are having the opportunity to get in the game.  According to USA Field Hockey CEO Simon Hoskins, “Quality fields are of critical importance to field hockey. AstroTurf has been and continues to be an important partner in supporting our growth and development initiatives and we can directly correlate field growth to growth of the sport.” 

The USA Field Hockey Summit is coming up in March. Would you like to tell us a little about the event?  AstroTurf has been the presenting sponsor of USA Field Hockey’s Summit since its inception. Attendees of USA Field Hockey’s Summit 2019, to be held March 15-17 in Baltimore, will experience on-field coach education opportunities and more on an AstroTurf field installed in the Summit hotel ballroom. In addition, USA Field Hockey will also be launching their American Development Model (ADM), a framework for instilling a lifelong love of the sport, and Tom Farrey, Executive Director of The Aspen’s Institute’s Sports & Society Program, founder of Project Play, will be the keynote speaker, leading a panel about growing the game of field hockey in the United States. Last year’s event was amazing and we have every reason to believe that the 2019 event will be even better.

Sally, it is very apparent that you love the sport and are very passionate about growing the game. Where does that enthusiasm come from?  I do love the sport! I have been involved with field hockey as a player, a coach, a parent, a grassroots organizer, and now as a leader for the national governing body of the sport.  I began playing field hockey at Deerfield High School in Illinois and went on to play at Dartmouth College where I was First-Team All-Ivy and team Captain. My passion comes from wanting to give kids the same opportunities that I had. It’s all about developing opportunities for athletes of all ages to experience the great game of field hockey as players, coaches, umpires and fans. I take great joy in serving our members and seeing the results of our “Grow the Game” initiatives. When you see how your efforts positively impact the lives of athletes, why wouldn’t I be enthusiastic?

USA Field Hockey Is the national governing body for the sport in the United States with more than 30,000 individual members and over 300 member clubs. The headquarters is in Colorado Springs, CO.

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