Los Angeles’s Social and Competitive Annual Field Hockey Tournament
This Memorial Day weekend, field hockey athletes and teams from around the world gathered at Moorpark, just outside Los Angeles and about a 25 minute drive through the mountains dropping onto Malibu beach. It was the annual Cal Cup field hockey tournament.
As you can imagine, athletes jumped at every opportunity and afternoons off to dash to the beach or explore the city.
The Cal Cup is an incredible mix of competitive play (having a $7500 USD check written out to the winning teams of the super league) and absolute social fun. The mix depends on each teams goals. The Mexican National Team used this tournament as a training camp while some teams used it as a party holiday weekend but would turn it on once the game whistle blew.
Moorpark has one water-based astroturf where all the teams playing in the elite super leagues play. The matches were 11-a-side and 25 minute halves. Next to the pitch is a beer tent where post-match many of the teams gather for a social brew.
Vendor tents line the North side of the pitch and are packed with juniors who compete on the grass fields nearby.
The Cal Cup’s Super Elite League
Both the Womens and Mens championship games of the super elite league were exciting and highly competitive. Let’s take a closer look at the finals and the teams competing.
The Kings defeated the Adidas HFS Team to win the Men’s Super League after a nail bitter 2-1.
The Kings is based out of the LA area but they bolstered their team with international talent this past weekend, bringing over international players like Tom Carson (Great Britain International playing in Belgium), Michael Gee (English club player in Hong Kong), and Malik Ishtiaq (Ex-Pakistan international playing and coaching in Hong Kong).
Tom Carson said,
“It was such a welcoming team- basically one big family really. You could tell from the fans cheering alone how passionate they all are about hockey. They took us foreigners in and showed us an amazing time. I can’t thank them enough for the invite.”
The HBS Adidas Team is put together for this tournament and has players like Lewis Prosser (Welsh International playing in England), Ben Boon (England International), and Richard Hildreth (Canadian International).
“Unfortunately our team didn’t pull out the gold, but watch out for next year! We had a great group of guys, competed hard and had a lot of fun. It was great fun to meet so many people out here to from all over the world.”
The Womens Final had fans on the edge of their seats until the buzzer. It was a face off between Team HFS and Team Osaka. HFS was awarded a corner against Team Osaka and Lauren Crandall cranked the straight shot. Fortunately, Team Osaka had the help of the post as an extra defender, rickashaying the ball out of bounds.
The JP’s/HFS team is based out of LA and is annually a Cal Cup Powerhouse, recruiting and being made up of almost all ex-Team USA internationals. Some of these US internationals have just recently retired, whereas others use the Cal Cup as their one chance a year to dust off their stick and get back on the pitch with their old teammates.
Lauren Crandall said,
“It’s an absolute blast to take the field again with, especially so many old teammates. We may not move like we use to but it’s such fun to all be together. We even had a suprise celebration of our retirement again which was special and good fun.”
Team Osaka had similar Olympic presence in their squad, yet adding a bit of foreign zing. Team Osaka was a wild mix of athletes from Australia, South Africa, Belgium, the Netherlands, Canada and the USA. The group had never played with each other before but each had played with a few teammates while playing in overseas club at one point of their career. It was a new team playing with new sticks supplied by Osaka and was quite impressive how they all came together. Most of the team had just finished their club season within the last month and 4 athletes were fresh from Europeans Championships. The majority of their skills were definitely finely tuned which was evident on the pitch.
Georgie Parker, ex-Australian international said,
This team was very special and it was incredible how we came together. We can’t wait for next year – we’re already are counting down the days until Cal Cup 2019.
Hear what some of the 2018 Athletes have to say about the Cal Cup
The awards ceremonies happened after the conclusion of the mens finals. The teams raised up the trophies, celebrated and socialized some more. Check out the video below to hear about the 2018 Cal Cup from some of the stars.
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Lastly, a huge thanks to the athletes for taking the time to talk to us about the Cal Cup. We’re extremely grateful for all the athletes and coaches like you who’ve gotten behind our mission here at Uru Sports and have shared insight on sports around the world.
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