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1,000 STRONG


Field Hockey is no different than other sports with respect to its quantity of officials: there are never enough great ones. There is constantly a lack of dedicated individuals able to commit the time necessary to become well-educated and practiced in the trade. With a lack of qualified umpires comes an overall lack of quality umpiring. As with any profession, there needs to be a healthy mix of new and young umpires working along- side the seasoned umpires in the sport.


The more umpires available, the better the quality of umpiring that can be performed on a regular basis. As the quality of umpiring increases, the ability of athletes to compete at their best will be positively impacted. This is why USA Field Hockey is spearheading a program aimed at bolstering the troops: “1,000 strong by 2013."


Currently, USA Field Hockey (USAFH) has 650 registered umpires covering the country. There are an enormous number of annual events organized by USAFH, the NCAA, the NFHS, as well as private events. The best case scenario is to have one umpire for each participating team: effectively each umpire would work as many games as each team plays. The fellowship of umpires must look to recruit and welcome those willing to give umpiring a try.


The age of the most competitive hockey players in the USA ranges from 16 to about 22. When a player graduates from college, they either stop playing, go to play club hockey, or are fortunate enough to try to make the National Team. The age of the competitive American hockey players remains stagnant, but the age of the umpires keeps rising. With aging, the ability of the umpire to keep up with one of the fastest played sports in the world goes down.


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