WATERTOWN — On her path to the Connecticut Field Hockey Hall of fame as an official, former Watertown High School All-State multi-sport star Danielle ‘Dani’ Brown, currently an assistant coach at Fairfield University, spent many seasons as a collegiate official as well as garnering time as a referee in the international game. 

As a field hockey official, Brown achieved the highest rating in the state of Connecticut; her career had her officiating games involving Team USA, with her travels taking her all over the world, most notably to Brazil.

The recognitions for her achievements on the field, on the sidelines as a high school and now collegiate coach continued to add up through the years, leading to Brown’s inductoin into the Hall of Fame for officiating in 2018.

She had to begin somewhere on hewr path, however, and with a current shortage of qualified officials at each level of the game, the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) recently introduced field hockey to the online NFHS Learning Center with its “Officiating Field Hockey” course.

Played on a field that is 60 yards wide by 100 yards long, and featuring only two umpires, field hockey is accompanied by unique rules that offer many challenges to a two-person crew. 

The online “Officiating Field Hockey” course, which serves as a companion to the NFHS Field Hockey Rules Book and other supporting materials, provides a detailed look at the sport with video assistance.

“The ‘Officiating Field Hockey’ course has been developed for all officials – from first-year umpires to those with more than a decade of experience,” said Julie Cochran, NFHS director of sports and liaison to the NFHS Field Hockey Rules Committee. “The course was designed to help umpires understated the rules, their application, and to help create confidence in themselves and those who rely on them to officiate the sport.”

By taking the “Officiating Field Hockey” course, individuals have the opportunity to learn more about the rules, umpire necessities such as equipment and uniforms, as well as how to properly administer cards. Additionally, this course provides a detailed look at calling primary, secondary and administrative signals, and also explores positioning strategies that umpires will encounter during various situations throughout a field hockey match.

“A huge thank you to the NFHS for partnering with USA Field Hockey to develop this online beginner umpiring course. ‘Officiating Field Hockey’ is a great start for those considering umpiring field hockey. Umpiring this sport is fun, and we welcome everyone to come learn, even if you have no previous field hockey experience,” said Steve Horgan, USA Field Hockey director of umpiring. “I fully endorse this course and recommend that anyone interested in umpiring field hockey take this and join us on the field to help student-athletes develop and advance their skills and love of the sport.”

The NFHS Learning Center is offering other educational opportunities for field hockey with its two sport-specific coaching courses. “Coaching Field Hockey” and “Coaching Field Hockey: Goalkeeping” are available through the online platform.

“Field hockey is the third-most popular sport in the world and an Olympic sport for men and women,” Horgan said. “As high school field hockey continues to grow throughout the country, more umpires are needed to sustain and support this growth and provide opportunities for student-athletes to develop and grow as well.”

To learn more about USA Field Hockey and its many tools and resources for umpires, coaches, player and parents, visit usafieldhockey.com/ADM.

For more information and to access the “Officiating Field Hockey” course from the Learning Center, please visit: nfhslearn.com/courses/officiating-field-hockey. To view the Learning Center’s entire course catalog, please visit: https://nfhslearn.com/courses.

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