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Archive for November 24, 2020

Nov. 24, 2020 — A numbers game

Saturday, Alexandra Mega put herself in the pantheon of great clutch field hockey goals with her 70-yard solo goal for East Greenwich (R.I.). On her back and front was a number you might expect for a goal-scorer: the number 10.

The 10 jersey has been given an almost mythical status in soccer over the years. Now, there had been a system which came into being in the United Kingdom in the early years of the 20th Century in which you were numbered from back to front and from right to left. In other words, if you were the right-most defender, you wore the number 2. If you were the center forward in a three-player front line, you wore the number 10.

Numerous creative, powerful, and incisive attacking players gravitated towards the 10 shirt.

Oddly enough, that has not been the case in field hockey. Take a look at the list of the greatest goal-scorers in history, and their high-school numbers were, frankly, all over the board:

2 Mackenzie Allessie
30 Austyn Cuneo
11 Hope Rose
2 Meredith Sholder
4 Sophia Gladieux
1 Haley Schleicher
20 Ryleigh Heck
32 Lexi Smith
10 Charlotte de Vries
29 Paityn Wirth
16 Sammy Popper

Yup, of the top scorers of all time, only Charlotte de Vries, whose father was a professional soccer player and coach, took on the No. 10 when she was in high school. Turns out she’s also wearing the 10 shirt at Syracuse.

I’m hoping more good scholastic players are able to embrace the responsibility of having those two digits on their uniform.