Massachusetts Boys Excelling In High School Girls’ Field Hockey This Season

Printed from:

Somerset-Berkeley High girls’ field hockey freshman Ryan Crook had a sharp performance in his team’s 7-1 win over Durfee (Fall River) last week.

Crook, a boy who also plays baseball, shined for the girls’ team, netting two goals while dishing out two assists.

Crook scored those two goals against Durfee’s starting goalie, senior Nick Caron, another boy.

In any other state, that would be unheard of. However, Massachusetts is the only state where boys not only can play high school field hockey with the girls but do every year and make major impacts on their respective teams.

Crook has been an asset to his team’s offense this season; he also had two assists in the team’s 10-1 victory over Fairhaven last week. As of the start of this week, Somerset-Berkley was 3-0 on the season and had outscored its opponents 20-3. 

Crook’s family is no stranger to field hockey, either. His mother, Jen Crook, is the head coach at Somerset-Berkley, and both his older brother and sister excelled for the team in high school.

His sister Cami, who graduated from high school in 2021, plays women’s college field hockey at Providence College, an NCAA Division 1 school. Meanwhile, his older brother Lucas, who graduated from high school in 2020, is the leading scorer in Somerset-Berkley school history (142 goals and 122 assists). The older Crooks helped Somerset-Berkley win back-to-back Division 1 state championships in 2018 and 2019; Lucas scored the game-winning goal in overtime in his team’s 2-1 state championship win over Nashoba in 2018. Additionally, he was named South Coast Conference most valuable player as a senior — and he was named to The Boston Globe All-Scholastic team.

So while Ryan Crook excelled against Durfee’s goalie in Somerset-Berkley’s September 12 win, Nick Caron has also put together strong performances for Durfee this season.

Durfee was 3-1 on the season as of the start of this week, and Caron was fresh off a 12-0 shutout win against Brockton High School on September 15. He also had three saves in a 2-1 win over Dighton-Rehoboth last week.

Caron is not the only boy on the Durfee team, either. He is teammates with junior defenseman Anthony Sweatt, who plays on both varsity and junior varsity this season; Sweatt scored a goal in a junior varsity game against Apponoquet on September 8.

Additionally, Caron is not the only male goalie in Massachusetts field hockey this year. Freshman Willins Julien is starting in net for Everett High School this season. While Everett is in rebuilding mode (0-2 as of the start of this week), head coach Sabrina Wright has been impressed by her goalie.

“Our freshman goalie and last week’s honorary captain Willins Julien saw about 34 shots on net and 24 penalty corners,” Wright told The Everett Advocate following the team’s 5-0 season opening loss to Waltham on September 6. “As a freshman goalie, he really left it all out on the field, and only allowed five goals, while facing 34 shots altogether, plus 24 corners. That was an extremely impressive performance in my book. I’m excited to see him grow.”

In addition, one of Marblehead High’s senior captains, defenseman James Marcey, is also a boy; he also competes for the boys’ track and field team at school. Marblehead’s field hockey team was 1-3 this season as of Tuesday morning.

The state allows these boys to play due to the 1979 Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court case Attorney General v. Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association. In it, the court ruled that the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association’s policy of the time that stated “No boy may play on a girls’ team” was unlawful because in the court’s view it violated the Equal Rights Amendment of the Massachusetts Constitution.

The Equal Rights Amendment of the Massachusetts Constitution states:


All people are born free and equal and have certain natural, essential and unalienable rights; among which may be reckoned the right of enjoying and defending their lives and liberties; that of acquiring, possessing and protecting property; in fine, that of seeking and obtaining their safety and happiness. Equality under the law shall not be denied or abridged because of sex, race, color, creed or national origin.


The Equal Rights Amendment was relatively new at the time. It passed at the ballot in the November 1976 general election with 60.4 percent supporting and 39.6 percent opposing, according to the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s office. Every single county voted in favor of the proposed amendment.

Boys playing on girls’ teams are more common in girls’ volleyball than in soccer — but far more prominent in field hockey. During the 2019-2020 school year, 15 boys played high school volleyball for girls’ teams in the MIAA while 41 boys played on girls’ field hockey teams, according to the MIAA — the most recent data available. Those figures include freshman, JV, and varsity teams combined.

Additionally, there have been other instances of boys playing on girls’ teams, as NewBostonPost has also reported. This category includes a boy on the Carver High girls’ soccer team in the fall of 2021 since Carver had no boys program, plus a boy who identifies as transgender competing on the Brookline High girls’ cross country and track teams; the runner who identifies as transgender, Chloe Barnes, helped Brookline win an MIAA Division 1 state championship in the winter 2022-2023 season, coming in fourth place in the 55-meter hurdles at the state meet.  


New to NewBostonPost? Conservative media is hard to find in Massachusetts. But you’ve found it. Now dip your toe in the water for two bucks — $2 for two months. And join the real revolution.