Serving the scholastic field hockey and lacrosse community since 1998

Archive for September 8, 2018

Sept. 8, 2018 — Prelude to a fall?

In my observed conversations within the adult field hockey world over the last three decades, one of the first and most urgent questions asked is, “Do we have a goalie?”

The goalkeeper in field hockey is a position with a unique set of skills, chief of which is being courageous (or crazy) enough to face a five-ounce mound of dense plastic being hurtled towards you at speeds over 60 miles an hour.

Upon observation, there appear to be fewer and fewer takers for being a goalie on a field hockey team. On more than one occasion, I have come across accounts of scholastic teams having to ask for a volunteer goalkeeper, or even rotate players into the goalie pads every day in practice.

There have also been more than one accounts of college teams who have had to go without a goalie and play entire games with 11 outfielders because of injuries to every available goalie on a particular team.

In this story from the Bangor Daily News, this passage, written about the current situation within the University of Maine field hockey team stands out:

[Maine head coach Josette] Babineau indicated there are some former field hockey goalies attending UMaine who are not on the team.

Given the competitive nature of NCAA sports over the last few years, more and more situations like this are bound to happen, even with nearly 2,000 scholastic field hockey teams shedding several hundred goalkeepers annually as they graduate high school.

And it’s not as though you can blame the colleges. No NCAA field hockey team has a JV team ready to be able to provide an emergency goalie, and only a very few have a pay-to-play collegiate club on campus. Too, you have to clear an emergency goalie though the NCAA’s regulatory scheme.

Reading the story and reflecting on what I’ve seen over three decades of observations, one does wonder if there is a goalkeeping crisis brewing here in America.