The ‘Choices’ Aussies Make to Play the Game They Love
Finding the balance.
Australians competing in the Field Hockey World Cup get creative when balancing life and hockey commitments. They’re full-time athletes funded by Hockey Australia, but they’re not paid on par with footballers and definitely not enough to retire off of.
The nation’s top players relocate from across the country to play in Perth. Many of the players on the Australian National Team play overseas for most of the year. They come back for training camps or meet the team overseas for tour. Eventually, they all come back to play in the Australian Hockey League for their respective states. As you can imagine, with all this travel and multiple day training sessions, it’s tricky to hold a traditional job.
Tom Craig, of the Australian National Team talked to Uru Sports about how Australians balance
their busy hockey lives.
“Given our centralised program and isolation from the rest of the world, we all live and play in Perth, with a few exceptions. Considering we are quite a young team, the majority of us are studying.”
The opportunity to be an entrepreneur.
Many athletes are able to start their own companies while playing abroad. With their international network, they are able to bolster their income, plan for the future, and create their dream job. Below are examples of just a few companies developed by former players. You might just recognize a few…
- Get Flapped – Tristan Clemons https://www.getflapped.com
- While most are hockey related, Tristan Clemons created this brand and used his platform in sport and along with other influencers to spread the brand. If you see many of the Kookaburras on the pitch, you’ll notice many of their faces are zinced. Playing in the ever sunny Australia, protection from the sun is a must. Tristan solved this problem by channeling his quirky style into Flappy Hats, making sun protection fun and functional.
- JDH – Jamie Dwyer https://jamiedwyerhockey.com
- Perhaps one of the most recognizable names in Australian field hockey, Jamie Dwyer took his knowledge of the game to develop innovative sticks that cater to a hockey player’s needs. He saw the need for athlete involvement in the corporate dominated industry, and the hockey world benefited immensely.
- Edge – David Guest https://www.edgehockey.com.au
- David Guest is an incredible hockey nerd, truly loves people and is a businessman at heart. He sets his stick brand apart by sticking to his message that hockey is for everyone. And that any level can use any stick, as long as it is the right match for what skills you possess and what skills you want to acquire. With a people-first mentality, his brand establishes a commitment to hockey players across all generations.
- Chris Ciriello Hockey Shop – Chris Ciriello https://chrisciriellohockey.com.au
- Inspired by his international travels, Chris Ciriello took a position coaching for the Indian National Team to spread his knowledge and passion for the team. In the 2018 World Cup, the Indian National Team is making a massive statement on the quality of their play. Additionally, he developed a hockey store that produces elite quality sticks, bags, accessories, and apparel.
A new chapter in life.
We asked Tom Craig about the sacrifices he made to play on the National Team:
“We call them choices. Moving across the country to Perth [was] probably the toughest part for me… Uprooting almost straight out of school means missing out on some important times in the lives of people you care about. I guess this happens to all of us at some stage of life.”
Stepping into the unknown.
The unknown is regarded as humanity’s greatest fear. Perhaps the most formidable question is the transition from adolescence to adulthood. It is a struggle that resonates around the world. What does the next stage of life hold? Am I ready? Craig articulates the struggle he incurred, and the gateway hockey provided for him to grow as a person.
“To be so abruptly removed from every community you care about can really unbalance you in your late teens. Be this as it may, travelling the world with your brothers is a handy upside.”
Conquering the fear.
Taking a chance is scary. Becoming self sufficient is an looming task that can feel too ‘adult’ for a person leaving home. But hockey abroad allows for a smooth transition, with resources provided by the team in the form of networking. Monetary compensation may not be available at every club, but the support of experienced players, coaches, and the club opens doors that you may never have imagined.
“If it weren’t for funding from the Australian government, we couldn’t do what we do. There is a draft system for AIS players in the Perth Competition and as such we don’t get paid to play, which is how it has always been. Money is always a contentious issue in amateur sport, but we get by and do it because we love it.
[Many of us] take coaching gigs to pay the bills. As you could imagine, with us traveling so often we don’t present ourselves as the most appealing employees; however [many] of the older guys have all but full-time jobs courtesy of very understanding employers”
Join Uru. We can make it happen for you.
Tom has touched on something here that we at Uru believe makes the global hockey community so strong – Hockey is a sport that everyone plays because we love it and the opportunities to travel through the sport is unreal.
How can you make it work while playing abroad? Thats where we come in! We will support you in finding a club, connect you with teammates on the team you will play for, and help you establish a community in your new home.
We can help you turn the page, and then you get to write the next chapter of your life. One that will overshadow the fear you once had. We have the resources to make you feel secure in your decision to play. The future doesn’t have to be scary, let us help make the next step in your personal journey a life changing one!