Bennett "ready for the next chapter."

Bennett Keegan and Booth celebrate

This week one of England Hockey’s most well known and well loved team managers stood down from her duties. Melissa Bennett, who was most recently the Women’s U21 Team Manager has taken the decision to move away from her management role in order to spend more time with her family.

A popular member of the “team behind the team” at U21 level, Melissa started out as a Futures Cup manager nine years ago when the tournament was still in its infancy. She could not have known then that the path she would take would lead her all the way up to becoming a vital cog in the machine for the U21s.

Craig Keegan, the Head Coach of the Women’s U21s who has worked with Melissa said:

"Mel significantly contributed to implementing the Single System and managed that process through its first few years. As an England team manager, I have worked with Mel for the past 4 years at U21 level. She is someone that players and staff valued greatly. Mel managed the U21 team that qualified for the 2013 Junior World Cup, where the team finished 4th. She will be greatly missed."

Bennett centre with the rest of the U21 coaching staff

With the U21s on their way out to Chile right now to compete in the Junior World Cup it will perhaps seem strange to many not to see the familiar face of Bennett out there with the squad, but despite the obvious fear of missing out for the first time in years, she is now ready to move onto the next chapter. She told England Hockey:

“When I got involved with team managing I didn't really know what to expect. My first role at Futures Cup turned out to be the start of a nine year journey, ending in managing the U21 England and GB women's teams.”

“For me the role was about being a part of a team where my task was to support players and staff to perform at their best. I have worked with very talented players over the years and most importantly watched them all develop from junior players into senior internationals or those starting their careers as professionals. It has been fun, challenging and rewarding and I would like to say thank you to everyone I have worked with. And of course i want to say good luck to the women and men at the Junior World Cups over the next few weeks.”

All at England and Great Britain Hockey would like to wish Melissa well and thank her for her superb efforts over the years.