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Archive for December 23, 2019

Dec. 23, 2019 — A hire that USA Field Hockey may have gotten right

For the record, the hiring today of Caroline Nelson-Nichols continues USA Field Hockey’s trend of hiring foreign-born coaches the last 20 years, as the former Columbia University coach was born in Hamilton, Bermuda.

But Nelson-Nichols is as all-American as they come. She prepped at Salem (Va.) before matriculating to a Hall-of-Fame field hockey career at Old Dominion University. She would then go on to represent the USA in two Olympics, and she was an absolute rock at defense and defensive midfielder for the States.

It’s why, I think, her hiring is an inspired choice as head coach for a reeling U.S. women’s national team program. I don’t think this was a “panic button” choice at all; she’s a coach who has built good success in her time at Columbia, to the point where her incoming class of committed players includes Annabelle Brodeur, part of the No. 1 Oak Knoll field hockey team.

Nelson-Nichols will be, I believe, the kind of coach who can build the team from the back. WIth an elite world-level goalkeeper in Kelsey Bing, a defense can be built around her, with the rest of the parts finding their roles during training.

That training is going to have to come with dispatch: the first U.S. match of 2020 is one month from now against the world champions, Holland.