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I recently had the opportunity to speak with US Lacrosse’s Rob Scherr about the trend toward younger recruiting in college lacrosse. He was a heavily recruited keeper out of Baltimore’s McDonogh School before heading off to Johns Hopkins. “I’m not speaking for U.S Lacrosse when I say this, but it’s my personal opinion that it’s crazy how recruited kids are getting younger and younger. These guys should be focusing on school, and getting better, not deciding where they will go to college by their sophomore year in high school.”

I asked him what he thought was responsible for this sudden shift in the recruiting process? He said, “As the game is growing, and we see more players like Will Yeatman coming out of the west coast, college coaches think they have to jump on these kids before someone else does.  It’s just competition.  I remember getting my first letter and it’s a very exciting time.  But when you’re that young you don’t really know how to make a big decision like that.”

The US Lacrosse U-15 National Championship is set to begin July 6, 2009. It will be held in Bel Air, Md. at Cedar Lane Sports Park. The tournament will have boys and girls youth programs from across the nation, competing and representing their respective teams and regions. The girls will kick-off the event July 6, crowing their champion July 8, while the boys start July 8, finishing their National Championship July 10. This 5-day event is special for several reasons. It’s never been done before. And with the more recent trend in recruiting with college coaches striving to commit players at a younger age, it’s refreshing that this tournament has nothing to do with recruiting and everything to do with having fun, building strong competition, and honoring the game. US Lacrosse’s public relations manager Colleen Sperry Aungst explained the origins of the event to me, “Based on the success and positive participant and spectator experience of the US Lacrosse National Youth Festivals since 1998, there was a big desire to roll out a national championship event like this for the lacrosse community. It is our responsibility to take a leadership role in launching the inaugural event to establish a benchmark standard of quality and experience for everyone involved – players, coaches, parents and spectators. ”

In order for a team to register for the tournament they must be a member of US Lacrosse, which means that some states will have an advantage when representing their regions, like Maryland, New York, and New Jersey, simply due to the fact that they have more US Lacrosse members in those regions. The list of teams competing can be found on the US lacrosse site (http://www.uslacrosse.org/news/2009/u15ncteams.phtml).

The West coast amongst other areas has been developing strong youth programs within the past few years, but can they compete with the East coast? Former Johns Hopkins standout goalie Rob Scherr definitely believes so, “I know all those teams will do well. If you’re a great athlete it doesn’t matter where you’re from.” Colleen agreed, “The breadth and scope of lacrosse talent is far reaching these days. There are incredibly competitive teams coming to the National Championship from all over the country.”

Perhaps some new rivalries as intense as the ones Maryland and New York natives are used to will begin at this tournament. One thing is for sure. Come July there will be two new U-15 lacrosse champions, but where will they be from? Tune in to E-Lacrosse to find out.

This past month our good friends at US Lacrosse included a present for their members inside the monthly newsletter.  Personally, I wasn’t expecting anything since I already receive the highly coveted ‘Lacrosse Magazine’ just for being a member.  But inside, there was as a link to “Download the USL Widget”.

02192009_uslaxinfocenter

Being a curious techie type of person, I had to check it out.  So I followed the instructions and downloaded the app and installed it.  I gotta say without sucking up, that this is a neat application and I think it will be something that I will use during the Spring and Summer.  

Here are some of the strong points. 

  • It takes almost no time at all to download.
  • Quick to run, just create a link on your desktop.
  • The Info Center provides you with all the updated scores, news and USL Headlines from all divisions and the pros.  Great for Sunday and Monday mornings!
  • And last but not least, it includes a lacrosse video game!

Finally!!  The lacrosse game that we have been waiting for is here and is free from US Lacrosse.  Well not quite, but it’s a start.  Kill some time at work or at half time while watching your favorite game on CBS or ESPNU.  I was introduced to the game at the US Lacrosse National Convention a few weeks ago in Baltimore and liked it from the start.  It’s a simple yet fun game of wall ball but you’ll be addicted in no time….LASER! 

If you don’t have it, download it here:  http://www.uslacrosse.org/info/US_Lacrosse.exe.zip

02192009_uslax_wallball

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