The History of Field Hockey

Vintage of of Field Hockey players with equipment

The origins of field hockey can be traced to ancient Egypt, Persia, and Greece; but the game as we know it, was developed in the British Isles in the late 19th century. In 1901, field hockey was brought to the United States by an English woman, Constance M.K. Applebee. She spread the game to Vassar, Wellesley, Holyoke, Radcliffe, and Bryn Mawr Colleges. Her influence helped field hockey grow in schools, colleges, and clubs. In 1920, the first US Touring Team set sail for England. In 1922, the United States Field Hockey Association was formed as the national governing body for the sport.

Since field hockey was introduced into this country by a woman, the sport has been played mostly by female athletes in the US. However in other countries field hockey is widely played by both men and women. In 1930, the Field Hockey Association of America was formed as the governing body for the men’s game. In 1993, the men’s and women’s associations merged into the USFHA, which is the official field hockey organization recognized by the Olympic Committee. The USFHA women qualified for the 1980 Olympic games, but the boycott prevented them from participating. In 1984, they earned a bronze medal in the Los Angeles games and have since competed in the 1988 (Seoul, Korea), 1996 (Atlanta), and 2008 (Beijing) Olympic games.