You have been playing field hockey with a great passion at a high level in your country for years. You dream of continuing to play at a high level even after finishing high school. What about college field hockey in the USA?
You know that life is more than just sports. You stand at the crossroads of your future, where you have to choose a further study that prepares you for a successful career. What now?
In this article, you will learn:
How to balance Field Hockey with your studies in the USA.
What a typical day and life look like for a college Field Hockey player.
The various universities in the USA where you can play college Field Hockey.
Insights into the campus life of an American university.
Personal experiences and stories from players who've made the journey.
Combine Field Hockey and Studies in the USA
Here, you train every day at the best facilities in the world. You travel throughout the country to play matches with the ultimate goal of becoming national champions.
At the same time, you are studying at a top university in America. Here, you push yourself every day to eventually graduate with a degree that you can build your future upon.
It's More Than Just Playing College Field Hockey
This is a journey, an adventure, an unforgettable experience that will enrich your life in many ways.
You'll share unique moments with your teammates, build lifelong friendships, and meet inspiring classmates from around the world. You'll get to know new cultures, explore new places, and discover new perspectives that broaden your view of the world.
This is the ultimate opportunity to combine your passion for hockey with your studies, to gain unforgettable experiences, and to develop yourself in ways you could never have imagined.
What Can You Expect From Playing College Field Hockey?
You are embarking on an adventure that revolves around hockey and studies, but what will your new life look like?
Life As A Field Hockey Player In The USA
America is crazy about sports. The passion is unparalleled, and this is evident in all college sports. When you play for the university team, it is expected that you defend the pride of the school.
You will be immersed in hockey every day. You wake up early in the morning for a morning training session, and later in the afternoon, there will be strength training or video analysis. You play two games per week and travel throughout the country, sometimes by bus and even by plane, for matches.
To perform at your best, you will be pampered and well taken care of. You will have access to top-notch facilities, personal physiotherapists, sports meals, various sets of sports clothing, and even your laundry will be taken care of.
If hockey is your passion, this is the perfect environment for you.
Let's take a look at a day in the life of a hockey player at the University of Louisville:
Studying At An American University
Education is just as important as hockey. Due to your status as a top athlete, the university ensures that you perform optimally in the classroom as well. This includes having homework tutors, extra time for projects, and more.
In your first year, you will still take general courses such as English, Mathematics, and American History. Afterward, you will begin to specialize more in a specific field of study.
In America, you study 2 semesters per year: the fall and spring semester.
The first semester (fall) runs from August to December. After a 4-week winter break, the spring semester starts from January to May. Then, there is a summer break of nearly 3 months.
Take a look at the facilities at an American university:
At Which University Can I Play College Field Hockey?
In America, college field hockey is played at three levels within the governing body that organizes the sport, which is the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association). The levels are divided into Division 1, 2, and 3. The level at which you can play depends on your hockey skills and your academic performance.
The competitions, known as conferences, are divided into different regions, similar to how the national competition typically is divided into regions. For Division 1, for example, there are 10 different conferences.
College field hockey is predominantly played on the East Coast in America. Cities such as Boston, New York, and Philadelphia are places where you will find many hockey schools in the vicinity.
Here are some examples of universities where you can play:
At Boston College, top-level hockey and academics come together. It is a prestigious school located in Boston, with a hockey team that competes in the ACC conference, one of the best leagues in the country.
Learn more about the field hockey team in the interview with assistant coach Mark Foster.
Harvard University is an Ivy League school and arguably one of the most renowned universities in America. It holds a special place in American academia, with many former presidents and distinguished individuals among its alumni.
We visited Harvard University this year. Take a look at some of the moments we captured.
UMass Amherst is a large university located in the town of Amherst. This town is home to five colleges, so you will truly experience American college life.
We also visited UMass Amherst earlier this year for a campus tour and to visit one of our players.
Life On An American Campus
In America, everything revolves around the campus. Not only do you live on campus, but you also attend classes, train, and play your matches here. Additionally, all school activities and events take place on campus.
In America, you are typically provided with a "meal plan" as part of your university experience. This means that you can often eat three meals a day in one of the school's dining facilities. These dining halls often offer buffet-style meals, where you have a variety of food options to choose from. This relieves you from the responsibility of cooking and washing dishes on your own.
Living On Campus
In your first year, it is mandatory to live on campus. You will reside in a "dorm room." As you may have seen in American movies, you will share a room with a teammate or a fellow student. In the following years, you have the option to choose to live off-campus with teammates in an apartment or house.
Discover the vibrant campus life filled with activities and sports competitions. Many athletes attend games of other teams, but there are also activities such as comedy shows, game tournaments, or other recreational clubs you can join. There is no shortage of opportunities to meet new people and learn about different cultures.
The Experience Of Our Own Players
Myrte van Herwijnen
After playing at a top level in the Netherlands with SCHC and the Dutch national team, she decided to join UMass Amherst. When asked why she came to America, Myrte said:
"I chose America because I wanted to embark on a new adventure. I wanted to gain new experiences in the hockey world and play with people from all around the world. Academically, I also thought it was a smart choice to pursue an international study."
Now that her first year is behind her, she looks back on a fantastic first year and highly recommends this opportunity to other female hockey players:
"I 100% recommend playing hockey in America. I think it's a unique opportunity to build international connections, pursue an international education, and play with players from different countries and cultures."
Myrte's positive experience highlights the enriching aspects of playing hockey in America. The opportunity to engage with a diverse range of players, pursue an international education, and broaden cultural horizons make it a valuable and rewarding experience for athletes seeking both athletic and academic growth.
Earlier this year we visited Myrte at UMass to hear from her in person about her experience. Watch the interview below:
Field Hockey Scholarships
You may have heard of field hockey scholarships, but what are they exactly?
A scholarship is a grant that covers a significant portion (or even all) of the costs associated with studying at a university.
In America, the costs of studying (and living) are much higher than anywhere else. Here, you not only pay tuition fees (which are approximately 10 times higher), but you also pay the university for housing, food and beverages, insurance, and books.
Without scholarships, this cost can quickly add up to around $50,000 per year!
The amount of your scholarship is determined by your hockey level, but your grades also play a significant role. There are both hockey and academic scholarships available. The combination of both can make it financially possible to take this step.
Whether you qualify to play college field hockey and study depends on multiple factors. It's important to understand exactly what you're looking for. As you have read, there are different levels of hockey and academic programs.
Before we begin the process, we will conduct an evaluation together to assess your possibilities. Here are the factors we consider to determine your eligibility:
Your Hockey Level
To play in NCAA Division 1 or Division 2, you will need to compete on a first team that plays at a national or regional level. Additionally, it's important to have footage that showcases your talent effectively.
To be able to study in the USA, you need to maintain a GPA of at least 2.3. It's also important that you graduate with your high school degree.
Your Financial Situation
Some players may require a smaller scholarship than others to make it financially feasible. Based on your hockey and academic level, we can provide a good estimate of the scholarship you can expect.
When Can I Get Started With The College Field Hockey Recruitment Process?
We understand that not everyone knows years in advance that they want to play college field hockey and study in America. Many players discover this opportunity in their final year of high school. Even at that stage, we can still be of great assistance.
However, if you know earlier on that this is what you want to pursue, it's advisable to start the process as early as possible. Coaches have limited budgets, and the later you start the process, the higher the chance that many scholarships may already be allocated.
How Can I Start The Recruitment Process?
Are you completely convinced about studying and playing college field hockey in America? Then you can sign up here.
We will then schedule an introductory conversation with you to discuss all the possibilities in person. After that, we will conduct an evaluation together, and you will receive a game plan outlining the trajectory of your journey.
If everything aligns with your vision and your family's expectations, we can proceed with starting the process.
Our task is to find a suitable university for you based on your hockey and academic level, as well as considering your financial situation.
A personalized approach is incredibly important to us. We want to get to know you as an individual and as a player, so that we can determine the university that best fits you. It's a significant step that you are about to take, and we want to ensure it's the right fit for you.
Additionally, there are many factors to consider in such a process. Not only do you want to know what to expect and receive the right guidance during one of the most important decisions of your life, but you also want everything to go smoothly. This includes paperwork such as eligibility requirements, entrance exams, university applications, and visa processes.
At +31 Sports, we ensure that you are guided step by step to embark on this great adventure in America