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A JVF Story: They Dared to be Great

Updated: Aug 6, 2023

Over the course of 2023, the James Vick Foundation maintained a steady stream of journal entries profiling the rise, and triumph, of the James Vick Field Hockey program.

During that same time period, JVF Films visited the program multiple times.

We are so proud to present A JVF Story: They Dared to be Great.

This JVF Story is presented in two parts. Part 1: The Story, and Part 2: The Film

Part 1: The Story

January 15th, 2023

"This is insane"

As the parking lot at CFC Arena starts to fill up, JVF Field Hockey director Christian is sitting in his car a bit nervous.

With so many new players, and such a high standard set by the players the previous year, the third-year chief is excited.

He is also curious about the journey ahead.

In three years, the JVF Field Hockey program had provided free field hockey hundreds of girls.

The organization had staged leagues, tournaments, clinics, club programming, and yet, there was so much more the program hoped to accomplish.

Players from all over Connecticut start streaming into the facility, they are wearing standard issue gear from their respective schools.

They giggle, they chase each other, the field hockey cohort immediately creates optimism, and hope.

There is a sense that something special is going to happen this year.

Mystic, Wallingford, Simsbury, Hamden, Windsor, Shelton, the athletes came from everywhere.

The winter program is always fun because it's open source, anyone that wants to play can play, which results in a diverse group of athletes, and a wide range of skill levels.

Some have never even played before; this would be their first experience in the sport.

In strolls program leadership, one after another.

Taya smiling ear to ear, Ava calm and collected as usual.

Payton had arrived with her sister before anyone as she always does and was focused on helping the staff onboard the athletes.

The captains, heirs to the program, they are the perfect leaders at the right time.

Coach Kya makes her entrance.

Fresh off an SCC championship, and Coach of the Year honors, the leader of JVF Field Hockey brims with confidence, and anticipation.

The Cheshire native is among the best field hockey coaches in the country and has established herself as a prominent leader of young women.

She is greeted warmly by the girls, and joins Christian as he checks the athletes in.

Arriving after Kya was Coach Meg, the associate head coach. Meg jokes with Christian, and Kya as the girls start to arrive.

Hailing from North Branford, the second-year coach is vital to the program, and a great complement to Coach Kya.

She is a field hockey savant, a teacher, a resource, the girls love her.

Joining the JVF Musketeers is Coach Kylie.

The Madison product had just finished up a decorated college career at Assumption University, and through a chance meeting, had found the JVF.

She would serve as the goalie coach, stewarding the position she played in school.

Coach Kylie's easy-going demeanor is a natural fit for the vastly different personalities on staff, she is greeted by everyone as she walked in.

The staff is perfect, accomplished, ambitious, and not set in their ways.

They are also deeply respected by the players, no yelling here, no tension, just useful feedback, and plenty of love.

Among the JVF Field Hockey program's strengths, are its coaches, philosophers of a craft that requires faith, fortitude, and focus.

Teaching from textbooks that are invisible, inspiring the girls with a jolly yet focused approach.

Lily greets Christian as she arrives.

Lily is among the athletes most in tune with the organization's objectives, an extremely principled participant. The Hamden native is curious about the schedule, and Christian's plans in general.

Jillian is here, hungry, determined, excited beyond belief! Entering her second year, she is committed to taking the next step as an athlete.

Ginny walks in to smiles and greetings, everyone is super happy to see the elite goalie return to the program.

The parents of the club stop in, say hi, offer support, it's a beautiful scene as this field hockey family reunites amid frigid conditions outside.

As the group starts to grow, disbelief sets in.

This is the most girls to participate in a JVF program in 3 years, a definitive statement that the JVF Field Hockey program is no longer a novelty, but a wide-ranging option in its formative stages.

"There is so many of them" one of the returning players exclaims, "This is insane" another one chimes in.

Going in the staff knew the program had grown but seeing it was quite an experience.

The program takes the field, like an army, gliding across the CFC surface, and settling in for an introduction.

Ava, Taya, Payton, and the coaches, introduced themselves to the girls, there was plenty of laughter, smiling faces, buzzing with anticipation.

Christian gave an additional speech and so began the field hockey adventure everyone had been waiting for.

Nobody present had any clue just how crazy the 2023 season would become.

The session was intended to split the group into teams, and stage the JVF's annual winter league.

The workout went off without incident, and by the end of the day, 8 teams had been selected to participate in the highly anticipated league program.

January 22nd, 2023

"Oh, we are going to be good."

Two weeks in it is apparent to the staff, and even the players themselves, that a championship level team is forming in Hamden.

After losing some of the best field hockey players in Connecticut, the program has welcomed a golden generation of JVF athletes.

A perfect combination of experience, athleticism, and loyalty to the non-profit's mission of free sports.

Wowing spectators, is Team Blue, whipping up and down the turf with a level of speed the organization has been waiting years to see.

After years of hard work, recruiting, and dedication, the cohort appears ready for the highest levels of the sport, a clear accession from the previous season, and an exciting prospect for the parents that are in attendance.

There are new faces.

Rylie, a long, strong, tough midfielder from Simsbury.

Kayla, a silky-smooth midfielder from Wallingford.

Caroline, a brilliant defender from Cheshire.

Isabelle, an instinctive utility player from Mystic.

Lyla, a freshman with sky high potential, a cornerstone type of athlete.

Alicia, a tough as nails attacker from North Haven.

Bianca, an ultra-talented goalie, a natural leader of young women.

The new class of players were all capable, but most importantly, good kids, which excited everyone involved.

For a program with very little tradition, there was a growing buzz within the winter league that this could be the organization's greatest team ever, in any sport. An unprecedented level of talent and positivity.

Adding to the excitement, was the league itself. The kids were happy, competitive, the parents were supportive, what a celebration of the game.

February 12th, 2023

"Tourney day never fails to be amazing."

The Winter League usually concludes with a championship tournament, and for some reason the tournament is always exciting, always dramatic.

This edition was no different.

After five weeks of competition, learning, and fun, the eight teams participated in a single elimination tournament to determine a champion.

It was awards day, it was tourney day, and it was Maggie's birthday.

2023 would bring great days to the program, this was one of them.

All the girls played well, attendance was good, a living pamphlet to JVF programming.

Parents filled up the CFC arena for the split field competition, it was a jovial atmosphere.

Team Pink, who had been trending throughout the Winter League, won the championship game in absolute battle with Team Blue.

It was one of the best games of the year.

The game went down to a penalty shootout, and it came down to one play.

Taya, and Bianca.

Future teammates, two starters, faced off for the league title.

Emotion and energy filled the CFC as Bianca made the save and was rushed by her teammates.

Taya, ever the sportswoman, respectfully headed back to her teammates.

Bianca's screaming in delight as her friends swarmed her was one of the greatest celebrations in the history of the program.

It was an incredible scene.

"It never fails! Tourney day is always amazing!" Christian told Aliza.

Team Pink and Team Blue featured most of the JVF Dragons, and some of the JVF Panthers, it was clear this group was ready for a different level of competition.

It had been a tense game; it was impossible not to notice the level of play.

Kayla won the league MVP.

She went from a player on the verge to a player that has arrived. Field Hockey is a show and tell medium, Kayla had delivered.

Her interview and photo op with her teammates following the game was exhilarating and hilarious at the same time.

Team Pink's energy is infectious, what an effort by a great group of players.

It had been an impressive league overall.

There was so much talent, so much depth, the JVF Winter League had gone beyond expectations.

"We need to do something different" Christian told himself.

As a developer of teams, he knew this mix of players, this group, required a different level of commitment from the organization.

The JVF Field Hockey program needed to change, not next year, right now.

March 4th, 2023

"This is going to be like the World Cup"

As the Winter League came to close, and the staff started team selections, Christian was in the midst of a process that would change the program forever.

For the last month the director has been engaged with Yale University in the interest of moving the program to Johnson Field.

Aside from migrating the program to Astro turf, the potential move paved the way for something much grander.

For the last two years, with the help of CFC Arena and Christine, the JVF Field Hockey program had cultivated itself in Hamden.

With commitment and persistence, the program had reached an intersection of luck, and opportunity in 2023.

Christian, a lifelong soccer fan, envisioned an unprecedented series of competitions involving the top field hockey clubs in the Northeast. The idea had taken root during the high school season the previous fall when he was out recruiting.

Christian was enamored with the sociology of the high school home games, and believed introducing the concept into the club game, would fit alongside the community related objectives of the organization.

It would also offer club athletes an authentic high school simulation.

A move to Yale to stage a home series was a daunting, and exciting quantum leap for the program.

"That is so cool" a player texted Coach Kya.

"This is going to be like the World Cup, our World Cup" Christian told one of the organizers.

The JVF set about planning the most ambitious program since the Covid inspired Dream League of 2020.

March 24th

"Is this really happening?"

As the spring arrived in Connecticut, it was clear to the organizers that the JVF Yale Series was shaping up to be the most consequential event in the history of the organization.

The schedule was filling up, field hockey season was in full gear, and the scope of this unexpected opportunity came into focus.

The JVF was mad house, families fundraising, Christian working with the visiting teams to establish the schedule, the coaching staff meanwhile was putting together a strategy on the field.

The program was on fire a week prior to the first practice.

In individual meetings the players expressed infinite joy to be a part of the program, they were undaunted and fearless.

Everyone was ready for battle.

Christian marveled at the transformation, he had seen enough Field Hockey to know the program was set to make a statement.

Hosting playdays, and visiting tournaments was one thing.

Staging full home games at an Ivy League school was quite another, it was a massive stage, and the girls seemed ready for the challenge.

Christian also was in awe of the players that preceded this program.

The accomplishments of the JVF Field Hockey athletes of the previous year, and the year before that, came into focus.

In particular, he thought about Hayly, the young lady that started the program to give girls a chance.

The North Haven based co-founder, who was now attending college at Providence, had successfully created a program never seen before in Connecticut, or anywhere else.

"Is this really happening?" a player exclaimed to Christian through email.

Among his favorite meetings leading up to the season, was his meeting with Gracie, and Mia. Two young upstarts that were about to embark on the field adventure of a lifetime.

Two young believers, not all concerned with age gaps, or potential obstacles.

This would be their first club level engagement, and Christian felt so lucky to be the conduit for their debut.

The excitement, and the smile on their faces told Christian that something special was going to happen this spring.

April 23rd 2023

"That felt like a championship!"

The season went from exciting to surreal during the home opener against the highly regarded HTC Field Hockey club.

After the initial shock of moving to Johnson Field, then actually practicing in the facility, gameday had finally arrived in New Haven.

Several weeks prior the JVF and HTC had discussed the possibility, and after some logistical planning, had agreed to play a double header at Yale.

The event that would serve as the opening salvo for the first annual JVF Yale series.

As he arrived, Christian saw the HTC program warming up on the field, an overcast day had given way to some sun, and electricity in the stadium was building hours before the opening whistle.

"The last time I felt like this, was QU" the former college basketball player thought to himself as he exited the car.

As usual, Payton and family were first on the scene, an occurrence that never failed to make Christian smile.

Johnson Field was Camelot that day.

HTC leader Coach Debra greeted Christian as he entered the field, it was a pleasant meeting. Christian was impressed with Coach Debra, a field hockey titan that had teams on both coasts.

"You have Pat Summit type of energy" Christian told the celebrated chief.

Earlier in his life, Christian had met the dearly departed Pat Summit while he was touring with the Harlem Globetrotters, he visited her office while the show was in Knoxville Tennessee.

Coach Debra reminded Christian of Coach Pat.

A lifer, a champion, a developer of young women.

The stands started to fill up, and there were many familiar faces as the two programs had many ties through athletes, and families.

The JVF Field Hockey players meanwhile were over the moon.

Lizzy and Kayla, walked onto the pitch with a competitive glow on their faces, taking in this unexpected but exciting season.

Ava was delighted, the Southington native had worked for over a year to get to that day and looked ready for battle.

Brooke and Bree greeted Christian, informing him they had supplies for the concession stand.

Christian was happy for the twins, they had been loyal to the program for years, and this was their day to shine.

Aryana bounded into team warmups.

Engaged in her third year with the JVF, she had worked for years to play in this game, with this team, at this important juncture in program history.

Ava, Ella, and Caroline arrived smiling, ready to go.

Julia arrived, pumped up, super ready.

Mia and Gracie surveyed the scene.

It dawned on them, and everyone, this is for real.

This is a level of field hockey that nobody was anticipating, but it's here.

Up in the stands was a field hockey summit with many of the parents knowing each other.

While everyone was in attendance to cheer for their respective teams, there was nothing but love between the two organizations.

Christian greeted Jennifer, a former JVF parent who had played a massive role in creating this new field hockey option in Connecticut.

The JVF Field Hockey parents had gone all out, creating an awesome concession stand for the event, the support they were providing made the scenes even more magnificent.

Nora, Christine, and Allison had done wonders as parent organizers, working with Christian and the parents to really provide the teams with a boost.

Christian joked with Kimberly, and Renee, two long time parents, and the mothers to Aryana and Payton.

From day 1, they had supported this program, long before it was ever ready for such a stage,

The games began, it was magical scene for a club only 3 years old.

The Panthers were first, taking the field, and opening the season.

It was an exciting game right away, two teams that had never seen each other before playing in this big game at Yale on a Sunday.

Ella, Ava, Marissa, Mia, Julia the entire team played with so much heart.

Emma, who had joined the team days earlier, was really impressive.

As the first game started to unfold, the energy in the stadium was readily apparent.

This was no scrimmage; this was primetime field hockey against one of the most respected programs in America.

After a hard-fought battle, the younger HTC team scored a crisp goal in the second half, cheers erupted in the stands, and on the HTC sideline where the older team was warming up.

It had been a great game, the Panthers played beyond expectation, a great first step forward for the program. Coach Kylie had done a marvelous job leading a young team to a good result.

As the Panther game came to a close, rain started coming down in a furious fashion, sending parents scrambling for the parking lot.

Just as Christian started to worry the game would be delayed, the rain stopped, and the sun returned to Johnson Field.

MANY of the Dragons had played for HTC, they were aware of the challenge they presented, and what it meant to the program to compete against them. These Dragons were eager to write some history of their own and establish a new tradition of excellence.

Paul, a long time JVF referee, blew his whistle, and the most anticipated field hockey game in the history of the program kicked off.

Two evenly matched teams, a fabulous collection of coaches on both sidelines.

It was tense, dramatic, compelling, after three years of work, here the JVF Dragons were competing on this stage with an awesome opponent.

As the game started to get into the latter stages, the sun got lower in the sky, and the scene took on a true big game feel.

The JVF was awarded a corner with roughly 8 minutes left in the game.

Maggie, the team's best passer, delivered a perfect ball to Ava, who one timed it to Taya.

Taya, like the superstar she is, reverse chips it into the back of the net, setting the JVF sidelines, and her teammates on fire.

The senior captain was sky high with emotion, letting off a cry that would have made Wonder Woman proud as the ball hit the back of the cage.

Dedicated parents Kim, Christine, and Olga shout cheers of encouragement from their sideline perch.

Scenes all over the stadium, Parents clapping and cheering, the JVF girls running into the distance stunned by their success.

"I am never going to forget this" Christian tells himself.

The JVF Dragons would go on to win the game 1-0 against a great HTC ball club, feelings of happiness and confidence descended upon the cohort like never before.

What a great job by the coaches, in the biggest game thus far, they were tremendous.

"That felt like a championship!" Taya told Ava after the game.

Coach Kylie, who grew up in the HTC system, took in the scenes, feeling a sense of pride in helping lead this new program to victory.

Thalia was overcome with emotion, her excitement made Christian beam with pride.

Kya did the Kya dance, Meg embraced her student athletes, Nora smiled, everyone was so happy.

As Christian went to his car, he spotted the star of the game, Taya, calling her mother as she was pulling out of the parking lot.

The look of sheer joy on her face warmed Christian's heart.

Taya's passion was inspiring to her teammates and the staff, a cornerstone player of the program, showing as much emotion as any athlete in the organization.

She was committed to Western New England, 1st team All-SCC, and she cared. The JVF, and this game meant something to her.

"It's going to be a heck of season" Christian thought to himself as he turned onto Central Ave.

June 4th, 2023

"This feels like the champions league."

What a season it has been!

The Dragons and the Panthers had successfully navigated the season on and off the field.

In May the cohort traveled to Hartford for a tournament, and they hosted the dynamic Rye Field Hockey Academy. They organized a car wash in April, raised funds during the Great Give, individually raised funds for the program, the parents support has been off the charts.

Christian feels so lucky to be working with such loyal and dedicated families.

Everything the JVF had been through for the last three years seemingly led to tonight.

A prime-time date with the AGH Field Hockey club under the lights of Yale.

AGH was universally recognized as one of the best teams in the country, finishing second in the country the previous year at the NCC's.

They then replicated that feat a few weeks after the summit meeting with the JVF at Yale.

A supremely trained, skilled, and disciplined ball club, the ultimate test for team in the midst of a quest for respect. The amount of college commits, the individual talent, created an awesome challenge for the JVF.

As the teams arrived, it was clear that the biggest game of the year had arrived, yet the athlete's exuded confidence, even comic relief.

Taya was bounding around the sideline with her running mate Thalia, so full of life, and not at all concerned with the challenge ahead, none of the girls were.

The AGH players meanwhile were fantastic, kind, welcoming, and supportive of the foundation, it was an extremely positive atmosphere ahead of fiery competition.

It was a cold night, the pre-summer climate had given way to March like temperatures, getting all the way down to 45 degrees by game time.

The stadium started to fill up, fans were buzzing, it was as if the Yankees or the Cowboys had come to town.

Christian thought of high-level soccer games he had seen at night, specifically in Europe where he played professional basketball.

The grandeur of serious competition between two proud sides, and their fans against the backdrop of the night.

Ava, Taya, and Payton stride to midfield for a pre-game chat with Paul, and the opponent.

In terms of JVF history, it was an iconic scene.

"This feels like the champions league." Christian thought to himself.


The national stage had come to the JVF, and the girls did not back down, or give an inch.

The ball club competed their tails off and earned the respect of the field hockey community at large.

For a program on a quest for respect, the night could not have gone better, both teams created a championship level atmosphere in June.

The game itself was legendary, fast paced, high level, the pinnacle of the sport, and every single athlete did the organization proud.

There were heroes everywhere, on both sides.

Ava got the team off to a dream start with an unexpected early goal, electrifying the home crowd.

Ava was a cornerstone JVF Athlete, a captain, and a champion.

The 1st team All-State baller had earned this moment.

Headed to Springfield College as a field hockey commit in the fall, the goal felt like the perfect capstone to a decorated high school career.

Kayla played the game of her life, looking much more like a division one field hockey player than any player the program had seen in three years.

Competing with a speed and confidence that blew everyone away.

The junior from Wallingford imposed her will on the ball game, clearly galvanized by the stage, and the opponent.

Stella, who had made her return to the team in May, was brilliant, her unique talent flowed throughout the contest.

Lizzy was relentless, Rylie was a jet engine, Scarlet was off the charts, Payton and Ary were unbelievable.

Caroline was steady, Taya kept the ball club together.

Annie, Bianca and Ginny held it down in the cage.

In five years of JVF competition, Christian had never seen a competitive spectacle like this game.

This was simulation, high school, college, you name it.

Respectful, fierce, competition.

What a game!

Following the engagement, Christian covered the team from Greenwich while Kya and the coaching staff met with the Dragons.

More than most interviews with guests of the foundation, Christian enjoyed this one.

The AGH athletes were down for the cause, they believed, and understood, the larger objectives of the ball game.

There was rampant emotion after the contest.

The competitive fire the JVF players displayed in the aftermath was super encouraging to observers, this team was coming of age right before everyone's eyes.

Christian was in awe of the JVF players, how much they cared, what it meant to them, the statement they had just made as a program.

June 10th, 2023

"I love that!"

As Christian pulled into Johnson Field for alumni weekend, he could not help but think of all the athletes that made the weekend possible.

Everything they had given, put up with, the faith they had in the program, it all led to this unprecedented celebration of JVF Sports.

Alumni weekend was stacked!

Falcons Field Hockey on Saturday, Competitive Edge on Sunday.

Vendors, benefactors, friends old and new.

Falcon Field Hockey from central New Jersey was in town, and parents with the ball club warmly greeted Christian as he entered the grounds.

After months of commitment, the Saturday afternoon tilt with the Falcons felt like a true celebration of the organization.

Two programs that were so similar in tone, and application.

It turned out to be a beautiful day.

Hotdogs, burgers, friends, competition, and Field Hockey.

In an exciting development, Jillian's incredible mother had arranged for the students of Middlesex Transition Academy to make brown bag lunches for both programs.

It was a kind gesture that positively impacted the participants.

Ella was a huge fan of their efforts; it turns out the Panther captain was involved in special needs programs already.

She smiled a smile bigger than Neptune when she realized who had made these bags for the teams.

"The Falcons remind me of us" one of the coaches observed.

It truly felt like two sister programs coming together, and that energy played out on the field.

Both games showcased the spirit of the sport.

Joining the program in recent days, Giada and Sophie have brought speed and ferocity to the Panthers.

The Hamden/Amity duo are thoroughbreds, a glimpse into the future of the program, and a welcome addition to a team on the verge.

The Panthers had grown as a ball club, the leadership of Ella and Marissa had been steady, positive, and unrelenting.

Christian was so proud of all of them.

The Falcons team was good too! What a fun of collection of athletes, classy beyond belief.

The stars of the second game, and the weekend, were the emerging Lizzy, and the burgeoning Jillian.

With the program building towards the future, the sight of two younger players making such an impact was exciting.

Lizzy was a work horse, pressuring the defense, and stuffing the stat sheet with 1 goal, two assists, and plenty of big plays.

Jillian's progress meanwhile came into focus on Saturday June 10th, 2023.

The Orange native scored the game winning goal, on an assist from Lizzy. It was a defining moment for an athlete finding herself in the sport. Jillian had improved so quickly it was hard to believe at times.

"Those two are going to be huge for us next year" Christian thought to himself.

After the game, Christian sat in the parking lot talking to Jen and Jen, the coaches of Falcons Field Hockey.

He was so thankful that they had made the trip, supported the program, and brought such class to the Yale series.

It had been a GREAT weekend for the sport.

June 18th, 2023

"We thought this team was great, they are better than we thought."

Christian drove north up the Garden State Parkway towards Upper Saddle River, New Jersey.

He was stunned by what he had just witnessed over the last 48 hours.

The previous day, the girls had traveled to the Jersey shore for the Surf and Sands college showcase. After months of commitment, a highly competitive schedule, this would be the payoff pitch.

The girls would be exposed to a wide range of college coaches, and southern teams.

The day before the tournament, the team arrived in West Long Branch.

It was a vacation like atmosphere ahead of the tournament, exactly what the girls deserved after such hard work, and sacrifice.

Golf, meeting up with old friends, the families engaged in a wide range of activities during the team's day off.

Flip flops, sun, relaxation.

Christian met some of the players along with Kya, and Meg on the boardwalk for mini golf, and food.

Kya and Meg drove scooters to the boardwalk, basking in the glow of the JVF's annual trip to the beach.

After two years of leading the program, this tournament was a chance for the two close friends to have fun and enjoy themselves.

They had both earned it.

The weekend took on added significance as it would be the last time Coach Kya would lead the JVF into a major competition.

The JVF Field Hockey Head Coach had informed Christian weeks earlier that she would be moving to Liverpool England to pursue a higher education and expand her horizons.

He was very happy for her.

More on that later.

Christian spent time talking to some of the parents on the boardwalk, it made him happy to see all of them happy.

He appreciated the feedback they provided in private conversations.

"We have the best parents ever."

It was a festive atmosphere at the beach.

Top notch weather, Ashbury Park was humming.

The B-52s were staging a concert across the street, the girls were grabbing food, smiling, having fun.

The energy was vibrant.

"We are going to rock that tournament tomorrow" Christian thought to himself.

Later that night, Coach Kya and Coach Meg met with the players at the hotel in advance of the massive event the next day.

The next day, the girls grabbed breakfast, got themselves together, and departed for the Capelli Sports Complex in Tinton Falls New Jersey.

The task was a tall order, 4 games in less than 3 hours during a steamy June morning.

Talented teams up and down the schedule, college coaches in attendance.

It was also Father's Day, which added a nice touch to the event.

The players that paved the way for this team crossed Christian's mind as he entered the parking lot.

The athletes and the coaches were extremely calm the entire morning, confidence was a thing.

After a grueling 6-month schedule, they were prepared.

The day could not have gone better.

The Panthers played at an extremely high level, the entire team, every single athlete played their best game at the right time.

The team finished in second place, a milestone achievement for the club.

On the other side of the complex, Christian was charting the Dragons progress, he was overjoyed with the reports of the Panthers success.

Coach Meg did an incredible job coaching the Panthers, and supporting Kya, it was an awesome example of leading, and multi-tasking.

The Dragons meanwhile capped off the season in emphatic fashion.

The team played confident, sure of themselves; they behaved like the best team in the tournament, and stated their case for everyone to hear, and see.

They limited their reactions after goals or big plays, they supported each other, no pouting, and they shut other teams down, sporting the best defense in the tournament.

All the experience, the winter league, Yale, the previous year, it all came to the forefront.

This was the defining moment for a program on a quest for respect.

Christian noticed the amount of college coaches following the team growing throughout the day.

The Dragons were hungry, deep, and well coached at the Surf and Sands Showcase.

They finished atop their division, delivering a first-place finish to a program trying to find itself in this game.

They are the first JVF team to win a championship.

Here they are, a 501c(3) nonprofit, competing against clubs with more resources, more field time, more everything.

They also were missing a good number of teammates.

And they won.

In winning the event, they proved that field hockey can be competitive and accessible,

It's a remarkable achievement, game changing.

As is always the case with this laid-back group, they didn't make too much of it, they had set a standard of excellence all year long, they EXPECTED to win.

Christian was so proud of the coaches, athletes, and parents.

What a moment for the program, for both teams.


"What a season"

After the season, the JVF participated in a summer tournament, and everyone broke for vacation.

But the program was buzzing.

In wake of the Surf and Sands event, and the Yale Series, recruiting inquires at the JVF reached levels never seen before, in any sport.

College coaches from all over the east coast were contacting JVF athletes.

It seemed the quest for respect had concluded in epic fashion.

The players weren't the only individuals receiving interest from the next level in wake of the season.

Coach Kylie texted Christian and informed him that she had been hired as the new assistant coach at American International College in Springfield Massachusetts.

As amazing as it is to see players head to college to play field hockey, it was just as gratifying to see one of the coaches ascend to the college level.

Coach Kylie had earned it, she had worked hard, committed herself, and given everything to the program, to the girls.

Christian was beyond proud of a coach that had endured so much on her way to the job.

"She is going to be a college head coach at a very young age" Christian told his mother.

Christian thought of Coach Kya.

Kya had transformed the program, and the director, she had unified girls from all over Connecticut under one banner, one mission, and helped usher in a new avenue for Field Hockey in the state of Connecticut.

She took the concept of free field hockey, and created an application that could one day achieve national prominence.

Kya had brought in Coach Meg, who turned out to be a massive asset to the girls, and the program.

Now she was leaving the program, and there was a great deal of sadness about it.

She had informed the players shortly after they won the Surf and Sands.

Everyone would miss her that's for sure,

Coach Kya shares her perspective.

Kya: "The last few years have been whirlwind to say the least. Upon my return from the Philippines, I took on roles that allowed me to contribute to communicates and causes much bigger than myself.

I worked as a legislative aide for the Connecticut General Assembly, communicating with constituents and state agencies all across CT, working alongside state legislators, organized outreach programs and events.

I was appointed as the head coach at Cheshire High School, where the team appeared in two Southern Connecticut Conference (SCC) championship games, obtained a SCC championship title, graduated All SCC players, All State Players, and collegiate athletes.

I also had the opportunity to take on the position as head coach for the James Vick Foundation.

Throughout my last few years as an aide and coach, working as the head coach for the James Vick Foundation has contributed significantly to my growth not only as a coach but as a human being.

From the beginning I was greeted with open arms from both the parents and athletes. I was respected for the role I was taking on at a young age from the organization. Valued for my unique coaching philosophy.