Shane McLeod has been the most successful field hockey coach
internationally in recent years. With Belgium’s men, the New Zealander won the 2018 World Cup title and the 2021 Olympic Games in Tokyo, among other titles. After his retirement, he still acted as assistant coach to his successor Michel van den Heuvel for the last two years. Now the 54-year-old, who has twice been named FIH Coach of the Year (2017/2018), has announced that he will leave Belgium after eight years and will first continue his career as a consultant with the Hamburg Polo Club until the
end of the field league season.
Shane McLeod: “I am excited to join the Hamburg Polo Club. It gives me the opportunity to work with some excellent players as well as learning a different playing style. My hope is that I can bring some new ideas to assist the performance of the team.
The club has been very welcoming and I look forward to working with Matthias Witthaus and the rest of the team.”
At the German Vice Champion, the joy about the support from the successful coach is huge. happy to welcome Shane as a new member of the Polo family. He will inspire the team, the club and all hockey fans,” says HPC board member Frank Schmidt. McLeod will mainly be active in the area of game analysis and training design. “For the team, it’s a completely different approach for a change,” says Matthias Witthaus, who has steered the fortunes of the Polo men almost single-handedly for eight years and has risen with the team from the Oberliga to the First League in that time. “There have already been a couple of meetings with Shane via Zoom. That has already shown thatwe will definitely benefit from the cooperation. I personally will also be able to take a few things with me there.”
The former New Zealand national team player (1996 to 1998) already knows parts of the team well. Of the five “Black Sticks” playing for the Hamburg Polo Club this season, only Hugo Inglis was part of Shane McLeod’s squad at the London Olympics in 2012, who led New Zealand’s men into the top ten at both the Beijing 2008 and London Olympics, but
Blair Tarrant, Kane Russell, Aidan Sarikaya and Nic Woods were also part of the New Zealand Hockey Federation’s talent pool back then.
Also, for the participation in the final tournament of the Euro Hockey League over Easter in Amsterdam, the role of Shane McLeod is very valuable for the HPC, because he knows European club hockey well, as he had won two national titles as coach of the Waterloo Ducks (BEL) and participated with them in the EHL, before he took over full-time in Belgium in 2015 as the men’s national coach.