GB’s Craig Parnham named as USA women’s hockey coach

[img_assist|nid=6958|title=CALIFORNIA DREAMING|desc=GB assistant coach Craig Parnham – seen here consoling Helen Richardson after the sides’ semi-final loss to Argentina at London 2012 – is moving to US to head the women’s national hockey team – Photo: hockeyimages.co.uk|link=node|align=right|width=220|height=245]COLORADO SPRINGS, January 10 – USA Field Hockey has announced Craig Parnham – GB/England assistant coach for the past five years as their women’s head coach.

Parnham will relocate to Chula Vista, California with his wife, Emma, in early February.

“This is a wonderful opportunity and a new challenge for me,” said Parnham. “I think Team USA has a great deal of potential and I look at this as an opportunity for me to come in and make a big impact. I am excited to get out on the pitch and start working with the players on the team.”

“We were fortunate to attract such strong candidates in our global search for a Women’s National Team coach and are very pleased to announce Craig Parnham has accepted our offer to become head coach and lead the women’s program through to Rio 2016,” said Steve Locke, Executive Director, USA Field Hockey.

“Craig is a brilliant choice and our search committee did a marvellous job.” 

As assistant coach, Parnham has been instrumental in the successes of Great Britain and England Hockey over the last several years. With his direction and leadership, England has had a remarkable run of podium finishes, including World Cup bronze in 2010, European bronze medals in 2009 and 2011 and bronze medals at the Champions Trophy and Commonwealth Games in 2010.

The team rose in international world rankings from No. 11 in 2007 to No. 4 in 2012, culminating in a silver medal at the Champions Trophy in February 2012 and a bronze medal at the 2012 Olympic Games. 

In addition to being the Assistant Coach for the senior women, Parnham also served as the Head Coach of Great Britain’s Under-21 Junior Women’s Squad. Parnham led the junior team to a gold medal at the Australia Youth Olympic Festival in 2009 and a fourth place finish at the Junior World Cup in Boston, Massachusetts, the highest finish for England’s U21 Team to date. 

“I am very excited for Craig to begin working with our program and building on the foundation of the last eight years,” said Keli Smith Puzo, two-time Olympian on the U.S. Women’s Field Hockey Team.

“Craig has a very impressive resume and his leadership with the Great Britain team as they climbed the world rankings, is a very admirable ingredient. With determined athletes awaiting his arrival, I am anxious to watch the team and cheer for them from afar.” 

Parnham represented England and Great Britain 115 times and competed in the 2000 and 2004 Olympic Games as well as the 2002 World Cup. Throughout his playing career, Parnham completed his coaching qualifications and coached at Bromsgrove School as First Team Coach and then became Director of Hockey.

Upon his retirement following the 2004 Olympic Games, Parnham embarked on a career with the Scottish Hockey Union as High Performance Coach before taking on an Assistant Coaching role with England Hockey. 

“Parnham has an impeccable resume and has achieved great success over the years with Great Britain and England Hockey,” said Locke.

“Our goal through to Rio 2016 is to develop across all areas of performance and to improve upon our finish at the 2012 Olympics  and we strongly feel Parnham is the right candidate to help us achieve those goals.

”In 2009, Craig was selected to join the inaugural UK Sport Elite Coach Apprentice Programme from which he graduated in 2011. He has also completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Elite Coaching from the University of Central Lancashire.

The US Women’s National Team will return to the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, California the end of January to begin training for World League Round 2 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, March 4-10. The goal of the tournament is to advance on to World League Round 3, which will put Team USA in a position to qualify for the 2014 World Cup. USA Field Hockey will be announcing an interim coach to work with the U.S. Women’s National Team during the transitional period of Parnham relocating to the United States.