Why Coaches Look Beyond Local Talent

A message to Uru Sports about international field hockey recruiting from Ricky Lee

Having players from foreign nations helps to increase the value of a club or university team, just ask Ulster Elks Hockey club former coach Ricky Lee.  In 2016, his team won the European Club Championship Challenge in Prague!


Hockey has always been a big part of my life.  I coached at the Ulster hockey club for 15 seasons. I also worked as a sports development officer at the University of Ulster for 3 or 4 years.


We started scholarships at Ulster University in 2009. Since then we’ve recruited two or three imported foreign players per year.  We have had athletes from India, France, Germany, New Zealand, Canada, America and South Africa representing the Ulster Elks.


Once we started the scholarships, it elevated the level of the team and the entire club.  The homegrown girls were developing at a far quicker level than they would’ve done without the new foreign additions to the team.  At the end of the day you rely on sixteen players yet when you bring in someone who is used to playing international hockey they bring a wealth of new experience, this variation helps take the entire team to the next level.


Of course it wasn’t just the players who developed as a result of the international scholarships. As these players came from various different countries they were used to playing a variety of systems and styles that differed from what we did in Ireland.  As a coach I found this to be a useful wealth of information that ultimately led to my own development too. In addition to the benefit of our players and myself, as the coach, the scholar imports got involved in coaching with the youth of the club, directly imparting their experience and knowledge to the next generation.”


-Ricky Lee


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Lastly, a huge thanks to Vehrle-Smith 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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