Brendan Creed

England and Great Britain Hockey Player Brendan Creed shares his journey to become a senior international player.


My whole family played hockey. I picked up a stick quite young and started playing at Bowdon. By 16, I was playing in the men’s 1st XI. As a kid, I was heavily bullied at school and hockey became my safe place. I was quite good at most sports – I had Man United trials; I played basketball; rugby; tennis and badminton. My international hockey career started with playing for Wales when I was 14 in the Under 16, but I moved to play for England U16 when I was 15 and played two seasons. My U18 season was very frustrating as I was plagued with injury. I had spinal fractures from over-training. I developed glandular fever at the same time and had a really low point. I could continue to play sport but had to take a long break from hockey – about 18 months.

I started university in 2011 where I moved from playing midfield/forward to defender. Vicky Joel was head coach at Sheffield Hallam and she really taught me how to be part of a team. Her player management skills were fantastic. She helped form a close-knit group of guys who over-achieved because of the ‘team’. At the same time, I was called back into the England U21 squad. Jon Bleby was bemused at me becoming a defender as my defending skills were not the best – he has high expectations of our 1v1 defending and that really helped me increase my expertise in this area.

After university, I made the decision to move to play in Germany at Harvestehuder. That was one of my favourite seasons. It was tough as I was travelling back once a month to train with the Seniors, but I learnt so much from the different style of hockey.

When I returned to the UK I moved to Surbiton and was awarded a fulltime contract with the England Senior team. I have been at Surbiton five seasons now and feel fully integrated into the club. I coach the men’s second team and love linking the youngsters that have grown through the club into the men’s game and seeing them grow and develop.

In the summer of 2018, Danny Kerry became coach of the men’s team. It was a long period of adjusting for me. He was honest with his feedback, which was tough to hear, but I had a lot of respect for his honesty and I was named as travelling reserve for Danny’s first tournament as Head Coach.

In 2019, playing in the Euro Hockey League for Surbiton, I ruptured my ACL. My focus became getting back fit enough for the Olympic 2020 selection. When we heard the Games had been delayed, I knew having longer to recover would help. I needed a break at this point and took a month to refocus brain and body. I knew coming back I would be stronger than I had ever been and I have great confidence in my body again.

Alongside my hockey career, I am currently studying an Open University degree in Psychology. Katie Warriner and Tim Pit, the sports psychs for the men’s Senior team, have really allowed me to express myself. They are a big reason why I chose to continue my study in this field.