Over the weekend, the United States women’s field hockey team dropped two games to Team GB and to Germany. Though both were one-goal defeats, they also were, sadly, defeats.

There will be two games left in this year’s FIH Pro League set of competition for the Americans, whereupon most of the rest of the world’s best women’s teams will compete for the rest of the month of June to fill out the entirety of the Pro League schedule.

The regrettable thing is that the States are going to finish at the bottom of the Pro League table. The U.S. has not won a game in this cycle, managing a draw and losing the remainder of their matches.

The U.S. can only finish with seven points in the competition, and will not be able to catch any of the teams ranked above them in the table, unless Team GB has the most unlikely collapse and lose all 10 games they have left.

It’s pretty much a foregone conclusion that the United States women will be in the relegation zone for the FIH Pro League for the second straight cycle. As you may remember, the U.S. was supposed to have been relegated to the FIH Nations Cup after finishing ninth and last in the previous cycle. But New Zealand’s men’s and women’s teams decided to withdraw from the Pro League, giving the States an unlikely lifeline.

It’s amazing, to me, that the United States, after playing so well to get to the Paris Olympics earlier this year, now face what is usually an ignominious process. Relegation, usually, is a disaster for a professional team in many sports, such as soccer, ice hockey, and even speedway motorcycle racing.

Relegation means playing in a lower league, which can mean a financial loss through television money; the difference between playing at an elite league and the second division can be a $100 million difference. Often, star players leave relegated clubs to remain playing at the higher level. Too, relegation impacts the local economy. Lower ticket sales may occur because of the lesser competition, and with that lower food and drink sales at local taverns and lower merchandise sales.

I have a feeling that, after this league season ends, that there’s not going to be another reprieve.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here