Keith Smith steps down as head coach of Scotland Aspiring Girls

After seven years in the role Keith Smith has stepped down as the head coach of Scotland Aspiring Girls. Team manager, Susan McDowell, has also stepped down along with Bill Robson and Harriet Bascombe.

Scottish Hockey would like to thank Keith, Susan, Bill and Harriet for their fantastic service to the Scottish Hockey pathway over the years.

Keith came into post as head coach in 2016 and made instant impact on the squad. Tremendous success came in 2018 when Scotland U18 Girls’ won EuroHockey Championship II and gained promotion to the top tier of European international hockey.

The team will play in the top tier of European international hockey at EuroHockey U18 Championships in Krefeld, Germany, in July.

Keith Smith said, “I’ve loved working with all the different players in the various age group squads over the last ten years; it’s something I care about passionately, and it’s been a really rewarding experience to take on those roles in the pathway and see those players develop.

“I’ve been fortunate to have had a great management team in Susan, Bill, Harriet and Hana. I’m extremely grateful to them for all the time, effort and care they have put in to the programme over the years, and for their support and friendship along the way. Thanks also to Neil Menzies for the opportunity to work with the U21s alongside that – he’s always taken an interest in helping me to develop as a coach, and I’m very thankful for that.

“The potential within in the current squad is terrific, and I know they are capable of achieving their ambitions – it’s been a genuine privilege to work with them, to get to know them all as individuals, and to watch them grow as players and people; we’ll definitely be cheering them on both at the U18 Euros in summer and beyond.”

Susan McDowall was in post as team manager from 2013, and has been a key part of the Scotland U18 and Aspiring Girls’ setup over the last decade. Susan was team manager for the Euros success in 2018 and for Scotland’s home tournament when the U18 EuroHockey Championship II came to Glasgow in 2016.

Susan said, “I took on the U18 Girls manager’s role in 2013. My playing career had ended due to a knee injury so this has been a fantastic journey keeping me involved in my love of hockey. Over the last ten years I have been fortunate to work with talented and enthusiastic young players, many of whom have gone onto the senior Scottish women’s team, GB EDP, and GB women’s team. I have been to five Europeans and many other tournaments, including School Games and Futures Cup, in the UK, NI, Ireland and Europe.

“I have many great memories over the last ten years but being part of the squad that in the 2018 Europeans gained promotion to Division A and also won the tournament is definitely a highlight. I would recommend the manager’s position to anyone who loves hockey and a challenge! I would like to thank my family for their unwavering support.

“I would also like to thank Lloyd Sammeroff for being my go-to person for just about everything. Thanks must also go to all the parents I have met over the last ten years as their support on and off the pitch is second to none. Finally, it has been a privilege to be part of a fantastic, dedicated management team with Keith Smith, Bill Robson, Harriet Bascombe and Hana Nasser.”


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