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Field Hockey: The Great Debate: Local vs. International Talent

By Justin Loring, Former Sports Editor

Recruiting in any sport presents its own set of challenges. With NCAA regulations, dead periods and showcases all over the country, it can be a lot to handle. When it comes to field hockey, it’s a far cry from the usual recruiting expectations.

“We don’t really have it broken up by specific areas, we recruit nationally and locally,” assistant coach Ross Gorham said. “We have had a good handful of kids from New Hampshire that have been successful.”

Gorham said recruiting is not broken up like football or basketball, where it’s regions of the country. Instead, the coaches narrow in on about four to seven players they want to come to the university and take it from there. Once they have that list, each visit becomes a chance for them to try and seal the deal.

“We’re pretty tight-knit when it comes to our recruiting process, all three [coaches] are pretty involved in making decisions and getting a small group of players who’re interested in early,” Gorham said. “Our incoming ’15 class has been set for a while and we’re really getting to know those athletes through that process.”

Gorham said they want players that are athletic and play fast in order to match what the team’s playing style is.

While UNH had just one international player on its squad last season, many teams —like Albany or Fairfield — make it a point to center its recruiting process on elite, international talent. One of the advantages of that is the cultural difference between countries. While athletes in America tend to play multiple sports, international athletes will be immersed in the sport from a young age and can be involved year-round.

“They’re playing on a better surface from the time they start playing and they’re playing more than our younger [players],” head coach Robin Balducci said. “Their hockey internationally is set up like our golf courses or fitness clubs, the whole family goes.

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