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Club Statement - Rebrand

By B Peters, 03/02/24, 9:15PM EST


Dear Venom Family,


This year is special to me in more ways than you may know, in addition to umpiring the 2023 Pan American Games, 2023 Junior World Cup & Season 5 FIH Pro League Argentina this Winter Season. This is also the end of a period of time where I owed the previous owner for Venom. 


In 2017 Rutger Wiese (the previous owner) was appointed to be the Head Coach of the USA Men's National Team. As an employee of USAFH he could no longer own a member club. I was the first Assistant Coach in the spring of 2011. I had stuck with the club through thick and thin. From 6am practices in Winchester Thurston Gym and taping goals to the walls to shoot at, to running both U14 on one side and U16/19 on the other side by myself to manage spring coaching when the other assistant was sick. While working with him in Pittsburgh I learnt how to run the club and how to become a better coach until he moved away in 2015 to become the Assistant Coach of Harvard. He made me Head Coach and we worked our way from 6 members in 2011 all the way to a healthy 45 in 2017 when he handed over complete control with a contract to pay him in arrears in any time frame I could make it work. The dream scenario for an aspiring Umpire/Coach in his late 20's.


I took the plunge and quit my bartending job to concentrate on running Venom as well as my Umpiring Career. From my experience with Rutger and previous coaches I realized I wouldn't be able to do it alone and quickly made the correct decision to hire a No. 2. By bringing in a local NCAA Head Coach Kyla Spallone I knew that I would have someone I could trust to help us grow the level of youth Field Hockey in Western PA. We started with a Coach first philosophy by making all our coaches go through the USAFH Coaching courses and helping our own sustainability by hiring previous club members Emily Humiston & Kirtsen Rambo to join the coaching ranks. Over the years from humble beginnings we are now a National powerhouse with a membership of over 200+ athletes over Winter & Spring with 10 Coaches on staff with Youth Director Sanda Zugell. 


Since 2017 we have changed the philosophy of Venom from a small club mindset and limited skill availability, to an eclectic range of Field Hockey athletes across the club and pushing for an Elite program rolling out next Winter. We have earned 6 National Indoor Championships as well as numerous Spooky Nook Regular Season Tournament Wins Indoor and Outdoor. With another year of qualifying at least 1 team at each USA National Indoor Tournament U14, U16 & U19 we have cemented ourselves with National recognition.


Pittsburgh is unique in many ways. It’s the only city in the world with all of the professional sports franchises colors to be the same as the colors of the city. In keeping with the tone of Pittsburgh, the City of Champions, we feel that this is the perfect time to align ourselves with the other great sports franchises that live in this City. To separate ourselves from the competition in the region. To strive for the excellence that Western Pennsylvania expects.

We know that a change like this can be frustrating for new and old members who have may just invested in our Navy & White uniforms and apparel. Our new supplier has assured us that our new uniforms will be cheaper than the last and we will be selling them at a discount for at least the first two years to help the financial burden this may cause. We will be soft rolling out the change with Pinney's & Uniforms available to purchase. We will either go all Pinneys or a mix of uniforms to be worn for Spring, it doesn’t break any rules to mix at tournaments except at National Events. To help with the change we encourage all currently owned Black & Gold Pittsburgh sports team apparel for support and practices. There is more exciting news to come. I cannot wait to see where we can go in the new era of Pittsburgh Venom FHC.


Benjamin Peters

Club Administrator