Source: Koen Suyk

England and GB Hockey appoint new coaches

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England and Great Britain Hockey have announced the appointment of Russell Garcia and David Ralph as Assistant Head Coaches for our men’s and women’s teams respectively.

In addition, they are welcoming four new athletes to their central training programme, with James Gall (University of Nottingham), Peter Scott (Team Bath Buccaneers) and Jack Turner (Durham University) joining their men’s squad, and Amy Tennant (Bowdon Hightown) added to the women’s programme.

Rio gold medal winners Alex Danson (Clifton Robinsons) and Nicola White (Holcombe) are now back in training with the women’s squad on a full time basis, while Ashley Jackson (East Grinstead) is not joining our men’s programme at this time.

Russell Garcia profile

Russell Garcia. (Photo Koen Suyk)

Garcia becomes men’s Assistant Head Coach and arrives with a fantastic CV both as a player and coach. He won Gold in Seoul in 1988, becoming one of the nation’s youngest ever Olympic champions at the age of just 18. He was later nominated for the FIH World Player of the Year award, and held the record number of caps for England and Great Britain, playing more than 300 times at international level and taking part in three Olympics. His coaching career is equally impressive; he was Scotland’s national coach for two years, later becoming Holland’s assistant coach. He was men’s head coach at Bloemendaal for four years, one of Holland’s biggest and most successful clubs, and he has also worked in Spain and most recently Germany with An Der Alster. With the men’s team building for important tournaments ahead, he joins at a key time for Bobby Crutchley’s men.

Garcia said, “I’m honoured to have been appointed, and hugely excited to be joining Bobby’s coaching staff. I can’t wait to start working alongside him, my fellow staff and the group of players. With major tournaments ahead these are very exciting and important times for our men’s team and I look forward to helping in every way I can.”

David Ralph profile

David Ralph (Photo: England Hockey)

Ralph brings a wealth of experience to the role of Assistant Head Coach with the women’s team, having held the same position with the men since 2013. Winning more than 100 caps for Scotland, David is hugely experienced in international hockey, being part of the men’s coaching team at both Olympic & Commonwealth Games, as well as the World Cup and Champions Trophy. He was also England U21 men’s assistant coach and is now a key part of Danny Kerry’s coaching team. With gold medals at the European & Olympic games, and a home World Cup in London in 2018, he joins at arguably the most exciting time in women’s hockey history in this country.

Ralph said, “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed working with Bobby, the men’s team & staff, and now I’m hugely excited about joining the women’s programme. With major events this summer and the World Cup in London next year there are great opportunities ahead.”

Performance Director’s comments

Recently-appointed Performance Director Ed Barney said, “I am delighted to welcome both Russell and David to their new roles. Their CVs speak for themselves, and both will offer a fresh perspective to the men’s and women’s teams respectively.

“Russell is one of the best men’s players this country has ever seen, and on top of that he brings a new perspective to our coaching offering, underneath Bobby Crutchley.

“David has been a key part of the men’s coaching setup for a number of years, and we have first hand knowledge of the excellence he will now bring to our women’s team.

“We have taken a holistic approach to our coaching setup across both teams, and we believe that we now have in place a staff to give us fresh impetus in this new Olympic cycle.”

Athlete update

Having impressed on the England team’s recent tour of South Africa, James Gall has been added to the central programme as a full time athlete. Peter Scott and Jack Turner, who also made their debuts on that tour, are joining as part-time athletes.

Goalkeeper Amy Tennant has been added to the women’s squad on a part-time basis, having successfully lined up for England earlier this year.

Ed Barney commented, “We were very pleased with how the men’s team performed in South Africa, and on the back of that we are delighted to add three players to the central programme. We deliberately left space for new players to prove themselves and earn the right to become central athletes, and James, Peter and Jack have done just that.

“Amy played an important role for the women’s team out in South Africa, and will offer very important strength in depth to our goalkeeping department.”

Ashley Jackson recently took part in an assessment programme at Bisham Abbey, but will not be rejoining the central squad for this summer’s international programme.

Having taken extended breaks following gold medal success in Rio, both Alex Danson and Nicola White are now back in training with the women’s team.

Upcoming fixtures

The women’s team have just returned from a short training stay in Belgium, and later this month the men’s team travel to Malaysia for the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, when they will play as Great Britain.

On home soil, the women’s team face Holland in London on 11th June in a sold-out international, while the men’s team battle for World Cup qualification in the Hockey World League Semi-Finals between 15th and 25th June, also at the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre and featuring the likes of Holland, Argentina, India, Pakistan and Scotland.

Report courtesy of England and GB Hockey