New Jersey club field hockey coach issued ‘temporary suspension’ by USA Field Hockey, SafeSport

A New Jersey club coach accused of exchanging inappropriate text messages with an underaged athlete has been listed on the U.S. Center for SafeSport Centralized Disciplinary Database.


Brett Clay, 39, of Flemington, New Jersey, was arrested last week. He was charged with a second-degree felony of Endangering the Welfare of a Minor.


USA Field Hockey reported him to SafeSport on Monday. He has been placed on “temporary suspension” for reasons of “allegations of misconduct.”  


SafeSport was “designed to keep the public informed when individuals connected with the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Movements are either subject to certain temporary restrictions pending investigation by the Center or are subject to certain sanctions after an investigation found them in violation of the SafeSport Code.”


When allegations of misconduct arise, “everyone responds differently to their experiences,” the site notes.


“The presence of individual signs or symptoms does not necessarily mean someone has been abused, and some who have been abused may not show any of these signs. It can be helpful to look for patterns or unexplained changes in health, behaviors, and attitude instead of focusing on specific signs.”


The following are examples of signs and symptoms of abuse:



  • Changes in appearance
  • Chronic pain or illness
  • Stress-related symptoms (ulcers, repeated stomachaches, headaches, etc.)
  • Unexplained or uncommon injuries
  • Dehydration
  • Pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections (especially for children under age 14)
  • Difficulty walking or sitting



  • Loss of enthusiasm for sport or competition
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Withdrawal
  • Decreased self-esteem
  • Suicidal thoughts or attempts
  • New or different fears/phobias
  • PTSD-related symptoms
  • Sudden mood changes or emotional outbursts
  • Self-harm



  • Skips or makes excuses to not attend school or practice
  • Performance declines in school or sport
  • Isolates self from others or avoids contact with a specific person
  • Complains about treatment by coach or teammates or refuses to talk about them
  • Nightmares or bedwetting
  • Sexual knowledge or behavior that is not age-appropriate
  • Frequent unexplained absences from school or practice
  • Talks about not having enough food to eat at home
  • Is consistently dirty or has severe unaddressed body odor
  • States that no one is at home to provide care
  • Excessive substance use


According to the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office, Clay had been accused, investigated, and arrested after an athlete he coached reported his alleged actions. The prosecutor’s office said Clay had been found to be “exchanging sexually explicit text messages with a 17-year-old female player.”


The athlete was interviewed by the Child Advocacy Center by detectives from the Special Victim’s Unit. The athlete said text messages began in late December or early January. They “became sexual in nature.”


Clay was a coach at Centercourt. He is currently not listed as an active coach on the club’s website. 


Anyone with information relating to this investigation is asked to contact the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Special Victim’s Unit at (908) 231-7100 or the Bridgewater Township Police Department at (908) 722-4111 or via the STOPit app. The STOPit app allows citizens to provide anonymous reports including videos and photos.


STOPit can be downloaded to your smart phone for free at the Google Play Store or Apple App Store, access code: SOMERSETNJ.


Information can also be provided through the Somerset County Crime Stoppers’ Tip Line at 1-888-577-TIPS (8477). All anonymous STOPit reports, and Crime Stopper tips will be kept confidential.

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