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Archive for December 16, 2018

BULLETIN: Dec. 16, 2018 — Allessie tapped for senior national team

Mackenzie Allessie, the senior attacking midfielder from Mount Joy Donegal (Pa.), who was the first scholastic player to amass 100 goals in a season, has been tapped for the roster of the U.S. women’s national field hockey team a scant seven weeks before the Americans go to Argentina to debut in the FIH Pro League.

Allessie, also the leading goal-scorer in the history of the National Federation with 351, is one of a number of prominent additions to the U.S. roster made over the last few days by head coach Janneke Schopmann. She has added goalkeepers Kelsey Bing and Kealsey Robles, along with national collegiate Player of the Year Linnea Gonzalez from the University of Maryland.

Training begins in earnest next month for the U.S. women, but the addition of Allessie is very much a statement of confidence.

“Mackenzie is one of the bigger talents in our pipeline and showed her potential this past summer against the Chile U-19 team,” said Schopman in a USA Field Hockey news release. “After two trial weeks, she has convinced the staff that she is able to play at the required level, and despite her age, we feel comfortable adding her to the team. She will join us full-time in January as she graduated high school early which is important in her development as a player.”

The recent history of the U.S. women’s national team, at least since Olympic qualification failure in 2000, has featured a number of teenage players such as Erin Matson, Katie O’Donnell, and Katelyn (Falgowski) Ginofili seeing significant time with the senior national team and helping them to consecutive Olympics as well as consecutive Pan American Games championships.

But few have put up the kinds of numbers that Allessie has, and it will be incredibly unfair to compare her high-performance career to her scholastic career, given the pace, tactics, and goalkeeping in the international game.

The possibilities, however, are enormous.

Dec. 16, 2018 — Even more work to do

As some of you may know, one of my off-hours vocations is coordinating volunteers at public dance events at a national park. As such, I have a certain responsibility to ensure that the volunteers help create a safe and harassment-free environment for the patrons.

I assist two out of seven presenters for one specific dance form. There are seven different dance forms run out of this particular venue, and there are up to three dozen dance forms are enjoyed by tens of thousands of people in a metropolitan area of 6.2 million people.

As such, I’m beginning to understand the magnitude of the problem of what USA Today laid bare late last week, where Olympic governing bodies of sport have seemingly been unable to prevent banned coaches from having a role in the sport from which they were banned.

It’s similar to a situation which I witnessed a few weeks ago. After attending a dance held by another presenter, I went to a different dance on the same premises where a banned dancer from my dance form was engaged in his same predatory behavior towards young women.

I went to a seminar last weekend, trying to learn more about the magnitude of the problem and whether any kinds of “safe space” or other policy could ameliorate the situation. What I found was a legal thicket, involving an entire wing of the law called “premises liability” and the question of whether dance volunteer duty should involve mandatory-reporter duty.

The overall North American partner dance world has been roiled by scandals involving instructors who have been accused of sexual misconduct by victims emboldened by the MeToo movement. The ramifications have been immediate: disinvitation from teaching gigs, the discontinuation of a clothing line, and even the removal of footage of these instructors from YouTube.

Yet, there are also stories about many of these same instructors being able to find work, even though there is a common ban-list with the names printed out in black and white, But, unlike USA Safe Sport, there is actual documentation showing why the particular figure is banned.

Dance, and sport, are involved in a long game in order to mitigate sexual misconduct, and it appears that not even a higher level of transparency is helping.