Aspen field hockey takes step by hosting Front Range club, hopes to see growth
More than 20 girls took part in programming this summer and fall
For years, Silvana Cura has led the charge in wanting to establish field hockey as a go-to activity in the Roaring Fork Valley, especially for young girls. This has led to various teams, plenty of practices and some intrasquad scrimmages, but competing against teams from outside the valley’s bubble has not been that easy to make happen.
However, earlier this month, the Colorado Bears, a club from Boulder, made the journey west to give the Aspen girls their first experience with live competition. Aspen returned the favor by going to Boulder on Sunday to play the Bears, with a few Denver teams joining in, as well.
“They were super happy to come and grateful for all that was going on,” Cura said of the Boulder club trip here Oct. 10. “A lot of the team members are new, so for them it was amazing how quickly the girls got involved.”
It was a big step for the club, and Cura hopes to see it continue to grow. While field hockey has existed locally in some capacity for years, mostly through the Aspen Recreation Center, it wasn’t until fall 2020 that an official Aspen Field Hockey Club was established. The pandemic made it somewhat difficult to gain momentum, but they managed to recruit a group of more than 20 girls — most between 8 and 13 years of age — for summer and fall programming this year.
Along with Cura, who does most of the behind-the-scenes work, the Aspen club is co-coached by Lauren Nitti, who played the sport back east, where it has a much stronger foothold in the United States. Cura is from Argentina and began playing field hockey from a young age.
“That is a very popular sport for women in Argentina. I started playing at school probably since third grade or fourth grade,” Cura said. “Back there it’s different from here, so I’m learning everything here.”
This fall has been exciting for the young Aspen club and gives Cura hope it can continue to blossom going forward. The Roaring Fork Valley is already home to many native Argentinians like Cura, making her believe there are plenty of locals who already have roots in the sport and may be looking for an avenue to continue playing or coaching.
One of the greatest difficulties facing the club is finding the field space to practice and play games. The valley has limited athletic fields and more sports than one can count, and field hockey remains toward the bottom of the pecking order for now.
“Currently, other sports have priority, which becomes a challenge when trying to secure a spot to practice and to develop the sport,” Cura said. “I would love to see it grow as lacrosse did and have the towns nearby get involved as well so there can be more competition, hopefully every week, so we are not having to go all the way to Boulder or them coming all the way here.”
Despite the obstacles — including a limited number of coaches to help out — this year’s crop of girls has Cura excited about the possibilities. Her own kids play field hockey, and there is a desire to one day expand beyond the current age group and gender when there are more resources available to the club.
“There are so many people out there that have no idea what is going on and would probably like it or already played. So it’s about spreading the word so it grows here but also in the towns nearby so that we have more competition,” Cura said. “It’s a really nice group of girls, even with the difference in ages. … They get along really well. Some kids don’t feel that athletic, but they still feel comfortable with the group and show up every practice.”
To contact the club, Cura said to email her directly at email@example.com or find them on Facebook under “Field Hockey in Aspen.”
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