The Futures Cup is coming!

Futures Cup 2016

Next week, almost 450 of the nation’s brightest and best young players descend on Oaklands College, St Albans to battle for glory in the 2016 Futures Cup.

The event which is one of the most prestigious junior events in the calendar takes place from 26-29 October and as well as the silverware and glory up for grabs, for some it represents their chance to show the national team selectors what they’re made of.

This year, for the first time, the competition has two new teams with Scotland and Wales sending the Caledonian Cougars and the Celtic Jaguars to compete against England’s finest. It is a move welcomed by David Sweetman, Scotland’s CEO:

“We are delighted that teams from Scotland will compete in the Futures Cup and appreciate the work that has gone in to make this a reality for the first time. The opportunity for players and coaches to challenge themselves in high level competition in a tournament setting is significant. To experience playing against the best players across the Home Nations should raise levels of performance, and hopefully inspire the athletes to compete for Great Britain. I hope everybody involved enjoys the experience. Go Cougars!”

The idea behind the Futures Cup is to simulate the atmosphere and layout of an international tournament, ensuring that those athletes taking part compete in a world class event, preparing them for life as an international athlete in the not-too distant future. Like their Scottish counterparts, Wales are relishing their first crack the competition and the quality of hockey they are to be exposed to:

“I would like to take the opportunity to thank England Hockey for the invitation to participate in the Futures Cup. We are really pleased to be participating in the competition for the next 3 years as we continue to work closer with both England Hockey and Scottish Hockey.” said Dan Clements, Hockey Wales’ Head of Performance. “The competition is a fantastic opportunity for our athletes to access high level competition on a local level, whilst also allowing us to work closer as home nations with regards to player development in the construction of a fantastic experience for talented athletes”

The addition of the extra teams gives the tournament an added spice and may contribute to breaking the dominance enjoyed last year by Saxon Tigers and Mercia Lynx. Between the two squads they scooped all four titles with Lynx taking the U16 Boys and U18 Girls honours and Tigers scooping the U16 Girls and U18 Boys crowns.

Ed Barney, the Performance Director for England Hockey also hailed the importance of the competition which could uncover the next Alex Danson, Barry Middleton, Chris Grassick or Sarah Thomas:

“The Futures Cup presents a fantastic opportunity for some of the highest potential young players to develop and perform in a best versus best pressurised competition environment. Every year it is exciting to see an increasing depth and breadth of talent coming forward. As we strive to consistently win medals at the highest levels like World Cup and Olympics it is really important that we maximise all opportunities for young and talented players across Great Britain.”

So, with all the squads ready to go and all the preparations well and truly done, it’s almost time for the best of the up and coming British talent to go head to head. Let battle commence!

Details of the Futures Cup, including all the players competing can be found on our dedicated pages.