FREDERICA — All of those field hockey players who descended on the new Delaware Turf Sports Complex in Frederica weren’t the only visitors in town this weekend.
There were plenty of college coaches walking around the complex taking notes on their clipboards.
More than 70 colleges were in attendance at the Shooting Star Easter Tournament, the inaugural field hockey showcase event at DE Turf which took place Friday and Saturday.
For athletes who want to play at the next level, these types of events are vital to getting noticed during the recruiting process. It’s also appealing to college coaches, who can just go to one place and see hundreds of prospects as opposed to choosing which high school game to attend during the season.
“You can get recognized and it gives you exposure,” said Kristen Fuhr, a junior at Smyrna High and a player on Delaware Shore Field Hockey’s U-19 club team.
“It’s great for college coaches to come see us in our home state to show our talent.”
Teams from all over the country participated in the two-day showcase. Not only did it give the teams a chance to perform in front of college scouts, but it also helped clubs prepare for upcoming national championship tournaments over the summer.
Katie Gerzabek, an assistant coach at Temple University, attended the showcase for both reasons. She was scouting for Temple but also coaching Mayhem Field Hockey, a club based in the suburbs of Philadelphia.
Gerzabek was coaching the U-16 Mayhem team before observing some of the U-19 games for some potential recruits.
“It’s really important these types of events are put on for exposure for a high level of field hockey,” she said. “If they want to play at the next level, whether it is Division I, II or III, this is where a lot of coaches come out to watch.”
She said she was impressed with the design of the facility, which has everything coaches look for when they attend showcases.
“I think the facility is amazing,” Gerzabek said. “The layout of all the fields is spectacular for me as a club coach and a college coach who is here recruiting. The way all the fields are laid out and all of the restrooms and concession stands for the spectators is just really great.”
Tournament action took up all 12 of DE Turf’s fields at the same time. There were also hospitality stations and a tent run by College Connection where athletes could mingle with some college coaches.
College Connection was who was hosting the tournament showcase after renting out the complex. The organization focuses on assisting student-athletes during the recruiting process.
Another thing which attracted some of the teams to Frederica was an opportunity to show how they can play on turf. Most colleges in the country play on turf fields but there are a lot of high schools and club teams who play on grass surfaces during the season.
“A lot of the kids play on grass most of the time,” Gerzabek said. “This gives them a chance to play on turf.”
Reach staff writer Tim Mastro at email@example.com