The process of choosing future Olympic athletes can differ depending on the sport, but oftentimes it starts by programs, such as the Futures Program for Field Hockey which specialize in identifying players who show a potential for field hockey futures and may be able to compete at Olympic levels.
The Futures Program for Field Hockey has chapters in different regions of the country. The process for choosing players to participate in this program is the same throughout each one.
The age group categories for the Futures Program for Field Hockey are Under 19, Under 16, and Under 14. A player’s age as of December 31 of the current year determines which age group he will play in.
The Futures Program for Field Hockey is also divided up into two levels. Level 1 is made up of those players who are considered the regional best; Level 2 is the developmental level. Assignment into each level is based on the player’s present skill level as well as the potential for improvement and development, as set forth in the National Selection Criteria guidelines.
There is a third level—Futures Elite. These are players chosen from regions all over the United States who were identified from the National Futures Championship. They are allowed to undergo additional training. It is from this level that a top tier of players are chosen, known as the Olympic Development Select.
Three different competition venues are held within the Futures Program for Field Hockey. These are the Regional Futures Tournament, of which there are eleven separate ones, giving each player who registered in the Futures program an opportunity to compete with others.
The players in the National Futures Championship are chosen from those who participated in the Regionals Futures Tournament. This six-day event features teams from each age group.
From the National Futures Championship, players are chosen to participate in the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) Junior Olympic Games. Only players in the Under 16 age category, however, can play in these games.
There are other competitions and events from which Futures Program for Field Hockey participants have the chance to advance in the program itself. All of these serve to help identify and select those who may one day go on to represent our Country in the Olympic Games.