Daily Archives: November 5, 2008

Washington Lacrosse: Issaquah Youth Lacrosse Has Grown To Dominate State in 5 Years


issaquah

“Initially, it’s the unique factor,” Wiley said of the interest in lacrosse. “It’s different. It sounds superficial, but what seizes the kids is that they see the helmet and shoulder pads and they think, ‘Cool. I want an excuse to try that on.’

“At our first clinic, we expected 20 kids. We had 97 turn out,” Balkman said. “Our original thought was that we’d just put together a team. But we only needed 12 for a team, so we had to put together four teams.”

http://www.issaquahpress.com/2008/11/04/regional-lacrosse-becomes-state-powerhouse/

First participation, then a presence, then a championship. It hasn’t taken Issaquah Youth Lacrosse long to make its impact.

Since its creation in 2003, the league has blossomed well beyond anything founders Scott Wiley and Matt Balkman envisioned. Thanks to their efforts, the communities of Issaquah, Sammamish and Snoqualmie have become leaders of the Northwest lacrosse scene. Success culminated earlier this year, when an Issaquah team comprised mostly of IYL products captured the state championship, while Skyline advanced to the state semifinals.

“It was pretty exciting for us to see that occur,” Balkman said. “It’s really exciting for our community to see something like this take off and have so much success so quickly.”

It all began when Balkman’s son expressed an interest in playing lacrosse. Unable to find a place in Issaquah for him to go, Balkman teamed up with Wiley — a former standout player and head coach at Brigham Young University — to get a youth team together. After advertising the idea a little, they were shocked at the response.

“At our first clinic, we expected 20 kids. We had 97 turn out,” Balkman said. “Our original thought was that we’d just put together a team. But we only needed 12 for a team, so we had to put together four teams.”

The league has continued to grow. There are an estimated 600 children, from the second grade to the eighth grade, participating in IYL. They come to Issaquah from as far as the Snoqualmie Valley. And the league has established itself as an invaluable feeder to the high-school club programs in the area.

IYL’s regular season is in the spring, starting in mid-February and finishing in May. There are spots for both boys and girls teams and three different age divisions — grades two through four, grades five and six, and grades seven and eight.

When Wiley and Balkman first started, their original purpose was simply to introduce the area to lacrosse. That still remains priority No. 1, but has become something the league doesn’t have to work too hard at.

“Initially, it’s the unique factor,” Wiley said of the interest in lacrosse. “It’s different. It sounds superficial, but what seizes the kids is that they see the helmet and shoulder pads and they think, ‘Cool. I want an excuse to try that on.’

“Kids feel welcome and it’s nonthreatening,” he said. “It’s a participatory sport, so they know that they will be given a chance, no matter what their skill level.”

The league also encourages youths involved in other sports to give lacrosse a try. Both Wiley and Balkman are firm believers that a little time in lacrosse will make an athlete better in football, soccer, basketball or whatever else he or she chooses to do.

“Football players do well in lacrosse, particularly skills players,” Balkman said. “It’s a running game, and speed and agility will always win out over size and strength.

“Of those that do really well, basketball players do the best,” he said. “They understand the concept. They understand passing lanes, zone offenses and zone defenses. They know how to get open.”

When athletes give the IYL a try, they seem to stay. Balkman said the retention rate rests around an astounding 98 percent.

“So many kids and families are involved in lacrosse all over the region. And they’re participating in something that, six years ago, didn’t even exist, wasn’t even on people’s radar,” he said. “I think that someday it will be a sanctioned sport in high schools. It’s happening all over the country and Washington state will at some point get the pressure to do that.”

IYL will begin open registration for the spring season at the end of this week. An introductory clinic for both new and returning players has been scheduled for Nov. 22 at the Skyline community fields.

The league is open to both boys and girls in grades two through eight who attend schools within the Issaquah School District, Snoqualmie School District or Eastside Catholic.

Reach reporter Ryan Piersol at 392-6434, ext. 246, or rpiersol@isspress.com.

2nd Annual Southern California Lacrosse Day In Newbury Park Nov. 16


lacrosse-day“…Professional lacrosse players will be on hand to conduct mini-lacrosse clinics. Lacrosse games will be held by the STARZ lacrosse program. Shooting contests will be conducted and prizes awarded to participants. Coach Jeff lacrosseday21Holden, the Mens Lacrosse coach from the University of Arizona will speak to all interested college bound lacrosse players and prepare them for the next level.”

http://www.venturacountystar.com/news/2008/nov/03/lacrosse-day-at-peppertree-park/ 

What can someone expect from the 2nd Annual Southern California Lacrosse Day on Sunday, November 16 at Peppertree Park in Newbury Park? In addition to previewing the 2009 season, each lacrosse rep team rep from youth and high school boys and girls programs throughout the Conejo Valley will be on hand to answer questions about lacrosse and its phenomenal growth in our community.

Throughout the day from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. boys and girls from Grades 3-12, experienced players or newcomers to lacrosse will be able to register to play for the upcoming season. Teams fill up very quickly, so early registration at this event is critical.

Professional lacrosse players will be on hand to conduct mini-lacrosse clinics. Lacrosse games will be held by the STARZ lacrosse program. Shooting contests will be conducted and prizes awarded to participants. Coach Jeff Holden, the Mens Lacrosse coach from the University of Arizona will speak to all interested college bound lacrosse players and prepare them for the next level. Lacrosse t-shirts will be available for sale and food vendors will be on hand.

Over 500 athletes played lacrosse last year with many playing for the first time, so dont mss out on your chance to play this great game. With lacrosse practices for each team beginning soon, attendance at SCLA Day is a great chance to jump start the 2009 season. For further information please contact Ron Cammorata, Executive Director of SCLA at rcammorata@sbcglobal.net and look for signage in the community announcing the event.