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Field Hockey Rising in Naperville

In the fall of 2015, a field hockey clinic at the Park District introduced players in grades 5-8 to one of the world’s oldest and most popular sports. Those from the east or west coast of the United States most likely learned the sport in school. However, prior to 2012, field hockey was completely absent from Naperville schools or athletic clubs. Similar to soccer, field hockey is played on a grassy field (or synthetic turf) with a curved stick and a small, hard ball. Introduced to the United States in 1901 as a women’s sport, field hockey is played by both men and women throughout the world and is an Olympic sport.  (View a demonstration of men’s and women’s field hockey.)

Naperville Park District Youth Hockey Clinic at Brush Hill Park, 2016

Field hockey participation is growing, both at the middle school and high school level.  The Park District’s fall clinic for middle school girls grew from about 7 players in 2015 to 22 girls in 2017, enough to field a team, hold scrimmages and even lend players to smaller teams in the league. The first high school field hockey team in Naperville, founded in 2013 by parent and volunteer coach, Monica Lodge, grew from about a dozen players to 30 players in 2017.

The 2017 Youth Hockey Team impressed the crowd at Nike Sports Complex.

NNHS Field Hockey Team Captain’s Banner: (L to R) Sydney Lobdell, Kathleen Curran, Abigail Lodge

A milestone for the NNHS girls field hockey team was the day when their captain’s banner was placed on the wall in the athlete’s hallway at school.

Listen to the story of how field hockey began in Naperville on ParkTalk podcast, now available at, and on iTunes and Google Play Music.

Monica and Sophia Lodge were guests on the podcast.

Current Opportunities to Learn and Play Field Hockey

A partnership with RISE Field Hockey allows the Naperville Park District to offer a spring field hockey clinic for ages 8-17 at Nike Sports Complex, with a clinic for 8-10-year-olds and one for 11-17-year-olds. Register online at

One of the RISE Field Hockey clinics at Naperville Yard, 2018

RISE Field Hockey also offers travel teams for those who want to pursue field hockey further. As of spring 2018, the only high school team in Naperville is the Naperville North High School Field Hockey Team. The sport has been designated an emerging sport by the IHSA and may be on its way to becoming a sanctioned sport, thanks to the growing interest throughout the state of Illinois.

Benefits of Field Hockey
In Monica’s words, field hockey has some unique benefits that make it fun to play:

“It's a high skill sport, requiring a high level of athleticism.  The athletes must be strong, fast, and intelligent.  The sticks are unique, in that the height limit is restricted to the hip height.  The toe of the stick is flat on one side, round on the other. You can only use the flat side; therefore, the skill required to move the ball is very unique.  The use of one’s foot to move the ball is strictly prohibited. 

The game is played like many other field sports, with forward line, midfield line, defensive line and goalies. This sport provides athletes of nearly every shape and size a position they can be successful in.

It’s also a great complement sport for kids who play other sports, such as lacrosse, in the spring. Field hockey challenges both the mind and muscles; it helps develop well-rounded athletes.”

Learn More
Interested in learning more about field hockey and future opportunities to play in Naperville?  Contact Monica Lodge at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

NCTV interviewed Monica and several field hockey players at Nike Sports Complex during spring clinics on Sports Sunday.

Watch the video here.

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On Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2011 Naperville Park District officials heard the good news for which they have been waiting for many months: the District has achieved national accreditation through the National Recreation and Parks Association (NRPA).

The decision was announced at the NRPA national conference in Atlanta following a formal hearing before the Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies (CAPRA).

Naperville is only the second park district in Illinois to earn this distinction and the 104th nationally accredited agency in the nation; there are more than 10,000 recreation agencies in the United States. The Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies accredits a handful of park agencies each year that have completed a multi-step process involving a self-review by the agency, a site visit, and an evaluation and formal report by the Commission.

“We are extremely proud to bring this honor to Naperville,” said Park District Executive Director Ray McGury. “It’s an affirmation of our high standards and also an encouragement to continue bringing high quality recreation and parks experiences to our community.”

The Park District’s accreditation process began approximately one year ago and included an extensive self-evaluation by staff and a 5-day visit from CAPRA reviewers this past July. Maintaining the accreditation requires annual reports and 5- and 10-year reviews.

Park District staff members noted that the CAPRA process has helped them see the big picture, focus on long term goals and plans, review plans more regularly, organize documents so that they are accessible and useable, and collaborate more effectively with other departments and outside organizations.

Our Mission
We provide recreation and park experiences that promote healthy lives, healthy minds and a healthy community.
Our Vision
To be a national leader in parks and recreation providing and promoting high quality experiences and facilities at a great value to our community.
Core Values
Health and Wellness, Environmental Education, Stewardship and Sustainability, Community Enrichment, Public Safety, Accessibility, Personal Growth and Enrichment.
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