By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 12/17/09
A tentative plan to field six girls’ and five boys’ Public League lacrosse teams at the high school JV level for the 2010 season was discussed Wednesday at an organizational meeting at the Philadelphia School District administrative center.
Last year the first boys’ team from the Public League, FitzSimons, played JV lacrosse. Several weeks ago it was announced that Mastery Charter-Shoemaker campus had hired L.E.A.P.S. volunteer coach Arthur J. Johnson III as its boys’ coach. It is expected that Delaware Valley Charter, Audenried and Northeast also will have teams this spring and that a sixth team could be added.
For the girls, Girls’ High, Mastery Charter-Shoemaker, Master-Charter-Pickett, Delaware Valley Charter, Northeast and George Washington are planning to field teams.
On Wednesday it was tentatively planned that two boys’ games would be played every Tuesday and on alternating Saturdays during the spring season. Two girls’ games will be played on Thursdays and also on alternating Saturdays, according to the schedule. The games would be played at one of the city SuperSites, all of which feature turf fields.
More information on the teams and schedules will be released in the coming months.
Officials at the meeting cited the growth of lacrosse from several avenues in the city. First, the district’s Middle Grades program has sparked much interest in the city and many of the players that have participated in the program are expected to play at the high school level. Also, several schools have been running after-school programs to introduce lacrosse to elementary and middle school players.
The Philadelphia Lacrosse Association (PLA) and the L.E.A.P.S. program also have made major contributions to the growth of lacrosse in the city. The PLA, an administrative arm of US Lacrosse that serves the Eastern part of the state, has given significant funds and helped by providing equipment and donations to city teams. L.E.A.P.S., a grassroots non-profit program founded by Philly pro players Eric Gregg and John Christmas, has been running clinics and helping with lacrosse curriculum in city schools.
One city official at the meeting was former Temple coach and Tina Sloan Green, the co-founder and President of the Black Women in Sport Foundation. Sloan Green has been organizing lacrosse programs in the city schools for nearly 30 years, offering after-school programs, training for coaches and teachers while pushing other non-traditional sports.
It was determined Wednesday that after-school programs will continue and that additional training for coaches will be explored. A plan for fitness training for student-athletes in lacrosse and other sports also was proposed.
Sloan Green said she was thrilled that many years of work from many officials, volunteers, teachers and community leaders have resulted in high school lacrosse in the city for both boys and girls.
“I’m just excited; I’m from Philadelphia and we’ve had this effort going on for 30 years,” said Sloan Green, who is in the US Lacrosse Hall of Fame and coached Temple University to national championships in 1984 and 1988. “Now, we are at the point where this is going to happen.
“I think this is going to be a model program for other sports. I’m excited because it’s not just about the sport of lacrosse. It’s about opportunities for girls and boys and chances for careers in sports as well as leadership opportunities. These are all entities that are outcomes of sport participation.”
Sloan Green, who played field hockey in her days as a student at Girls’ High and later starred in lacrosse under the legendary Vonnie Gros at West Chester, said high school players are now demanding to have the opportunity to play lacrosse.
“The girls who played in middle school are saying to the (high school) principals, ‘We want lacrosse,’ ” she said. “That’s what you need.”