Great Britain’s men’s head coach Danny Kerry says his team were smiling when on the end of light-hearted stick from young Spanish fans in their very first FIH Pro League game!
The new global competition has started in earnest, with fans from all over the world backing their nations on home soil.
Kerry’s team earned a brilliant 6-5 comeback win in their first game in Spain, and he revealed with a smile, “In Spain we had a really young audience with lots of schoolchildren and it was really loud. I think it was quite a different experience for the lads to what they’ve had before, but it did create a really good atmosphere.”
“Some of the local children were quite hostile, which was also quite interesting! Especially when the lads were doing their recovery with rolling substitutions, it was quite a moment of mirth as young Spanish kids were having a go at our adult players!
“But I was really delighted with how the boys reacted to that in seeing it for the funny thing it was!”
Reflecting on the support so far in our FIHPL away games, Danny said, “In the next game in New Zealand, Christchurch is a wonderful city, the things that have happened there were only a few hundred metres from where we were staying which was quite unbelievable to think.
“Christchurch was wonderful, they had a really nice homely feel to their venue where they have four sides to the ground then put out deck chairs and a stand, so there was a really nice feel to it.
“Australia was more of your classic stadium. It had that classic feel of Britain versus Australia and the old rivalry that goes with it. So far, it’s been different in each environment, but it’s been good.”
May 4 sees the men’s team play Spain in their first home match in London, and Danny said, “I don’t want to be disrespectful of the other nations, but I have high expectations of what we’ll put on, and the number of spectators.
“I’m really looking forward to the athletes enjoying that feeling of support and the scale of the league.”
Danny is not with the team for their trip to Argentina, and he reflected, “When I was being interviewed for this role, I didn’t bring it up, the panel brought up about the amount of time and energy that I invest in athletes, staff, especially after getting the team ready for a home World Cup, coming out the back of a Commonwealth Games, then straight into a second World Cup.
“There was always a discussion about me getting a window of opportunity to take a breath and this window meant I’d only miss one game and get a good nine or ten day break, which is very rare, but allows me to spend a bit of time with my young family because of the Easter Holidays.
“Strategically, we work a lot with the athlete group about appropriate rest and recovery and I think it would be rather hypocritical if I, the Head Coach of the programme, turned up to an important phase in the summer and Autumn burnt out and alienated from my family, so this is a really good time for me.
“Just to be really clear, it’s not linked to my health, it’s just linked to my wellbeing and ability to have a bit of space and time.”
Britain host Spain in their first home match on Saturday 4 May at 12pm.