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Archive for September 29, 2018

Sept. 29, 2018 — A final (albeit very important) footnote

On the upper plaza at the west end of Burns Field on the campus of Radnor Academy of Notre Dame de Namur (Pa.), I had a chance to talk with a very important figure behind yesterday’s game between the Irish and InterAc rival Newtown Square Episcopal Academy (Pa.).

Emily Snowden is a former varsity field hockey for the University of Vermont and the current volunteer assistant for Drexel University.

She is also the Director of Goalkeeping for the WC Eagles field hockey club, the offseason club program which has dominated indoor club play as well as National Club Championships during the summer. Amongst their alumnae are Team USA’s Erin Matson, as well as numerous members of age-group national teams as well as the senior national indoor team in the last cycle.

Club founders Richard and Jun Kentwell have made their reputations by questioning everything. They have done several things that no other club team had ever tried before, such as building their own hockey-specific facility. But more germane to yesterday’s game was Snowden, who, in the offseason, trains both EA goalkeeper Caroline Kelly and ND goalkeeper Paige Kieft.

Now, as i said yesterday in the game story, the coaching of goalkeeping was something that wasn’t taken seriously 20 years ago. But specialized coaching at the top levels of the college game has made its way to club play. Snowden works pretty much full-time for WC Eagles, in a U.S. club system where coaching is very much done on a part-time basis.

I hadn’t thought of the benefits of a full-time goalkeeping coach, but it makes sense in the context of what has made WC Eagles such a powerful name in American and international field hockey circles, even making it into a chapter of Gavin Featherstone’s book, “The Hockey Dynamic.”