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Former North Carolina and South African National Team standout Dani Forword joined Marybeth Freeman’s staff at Columbia in June of 2013 and will enter her second year as assistant coach.

"Dani's rich hockey history, stemming from her South African National Team roots and championship experience at North Carolina, will be terrific references for our student-athletes,” stated Freeman. “Dani is a critical hockey thinker and her past successes in leading her team's attack will be pivotal for our front-field play. As an accomplished forward, her attention to technical skills development along with her eagerness to teach makes her an awesome balance to this staff."

Forword works primarily with the Lions’ forwards and her influence proved to be valuable in her first season with the program. Several players established new career scoring highs in 2013 and Katie Ruesterholz impressed set a new program record for goals scored by a first year with 10.

Forword was a key member of the Tar Heels’ National Championship teams in 2007 and 2009, earning NCAA All-Tournament Team honors in both of UNC’s title runs. She scored a pair of goals in the championship game in 2009, including the game-winner with 11.7 seconds remaining.

Forword ranks ninth all-time at North Carolina with 54 career goals and led the team in scores in 2008 and 2009. She was named a second team All-American and garnered an All-ACC Team selection after posting a team-best 17 goals as a senior. Additionally, Forword was a three-time All-South Region selection by the NFHCA.

During and after her collegiate career, Forword played five years (2007-2011) on the South African National Team where she competed at the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

Her coaching experience includes a stint as an assistant coach for the South African U16 and U18 provincial teams in 2010-11 and has been involved with camps at UNC, Maryland, Johns Hopkins and Freeman’s Goal Line Camp.

"I am so excited to join the Columbia field hockey family,” Forword said. “I am eager to learn under Marybeth and Caroline and to impart my knowledge and passion for this game onto the team." 

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