By Cary Shuman
Ronan Stevenson-Swadling of Jamaica Plain showed the national field hockey community that he truly is among the elite youth players in the country.
Stevenson-Swadling, a seventh-grader at Boston Latin Academy, traveled in February to Richmond, Virginia, where he again amazed crowds at the National Indoor Field Hockey Tournament with his skills and talent. The 12-year-old field hockey phenom, who stands 5 feet, 2 inches, scored four goals and had four assists to help his team win the gold medal in the Under-18 indoor event. He was the youngest player on the medal-winning contingent.
The triumph was another major step forward in the sport for Ronan, who aspires to play in the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles with the USA men’s field hockey team.
How did Ronan get so good so fast to the point where he’s ranked No. 1 nationally in his age category?
“He’s just a natural athlete – he played soccer, ice hockey, everything seemed to be the perfect mix,” said Ronan’s father, Mark Swadling, who played ice hockey in the United Kingdom and the United States.
Field hockey career
began 3 years ago
Ronan began playing field hockey just under three years ago when he found his mother’s old stick (His mother, Lauren, was an outstanding ice hockey player at Saugus High and played collegiate ice hockey at BU) and started knocking a tennis ball around.
Ronan trains with USA Field Hockey’s East Coast High Performance Program and plays locally with the Minuteman Field Hockey Club at MIT. He was selected to the USA Junior Men’s National U-16 team in January.
Ronan other athletic endeavors include playing JV ice hockey for the Latin Academy Dragons, club ice hockey for Walpole Express, and club soccer for Newton-based Valeo FC.
His field hockey prowess was noteworthy from his first entry at the age of nine.
“Pretty much straightaway, people said he was pretty good,” related Mr. Swadling.
Aspiring to be a
Field hockey is played globally and is especially popular in India, Pakistan, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and Argentina. More than 60,000 girls play field hockey and there are women’s major college field hockey programs.
“The U.S.A. is unusual in that it’s not a men’s sport here, like it is in the rest of the world,” said Mr. Swadling.
Men’s and women’s field hockey are Olympic sports. Ronan’s goal is to compete for the U.S.A. men’s field hockey team in the 2028 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.
Being an elite player, Ronan stays sharp by playing for clubs, participating in high-level clinics, and training and touring with the U.S. national team.
A forward with extraordinary stick-handling skills, Ronan said he enjoys his field hockey career while proudly wearing the red, white, and-blue uniform of his country.
Do Ronan’s classmates at Latin Academy know that they have one of the best under-16 field hockey players in the U.S. in their midst?
If they don’t know now, they soon will, as Ronan Stevenson-Swadling, the pride of JP, continues to make waves and generate headlines excelling in national and international field hockey tournaments.
Next up for Ronan is a trip to Chile in South America where he will be playing five international games. This will be his first trip abroad with the U.S. National Team.