Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 2/23/10
From Press Release and Staff Reports
Former Philadelphia Wings great Kevin Finneran has been appointed as director for the new IMG Lacrosse Academy in Bradenton, Fla.
The IMG Lacrosse Academy will open with a Spring Break camp (March 28-April 3) and continue with weekly, multi-week and summer-long camps during various dates in the rest of the year. IMG Academies plans to establish the nation’s first full-time lacrosse residency program for the 2010-2011 school year.
“With lacrosse’s explosive growth as a youth sport, we felt that it deserves the same concentrated focus on athletic development that our other academy sports receive,” said Sam Zussman, managing director of IMG Academies and senior vice president of IMG Worldwide. “By combining our proven on- and off-field training methodology and world-class facilities with Kevin’s experience, athletes will leave as better, faster, stronger and more confident lacrosse players.”
According to multiple studies, lacrosse represents the fastest-growing youth sport over the last 10 years, increasing by more than 500 percent to nearly 250,000 participants since 1999. The IMG Lacrosse Academy will incorporate individual drills into training (shooting, passing, stick protection and goaltending, for example), but also teach facets of the game that will help translate to team success, like match strategy, correct positioning, effective communication, and offensive and defensive formations.
Finneran played for the Wings from 1993-2002 and won four National Lacrosse League championships. He scored 192 goals while dishing 293 assists. Finneran also played briefly with the Philadelphia Barrage of Major League Lacrosse in 2005.
IMG Lacrosse Academy athletes will also have access to the same eight IMG Performance Institute disciplines – physical conditioning, mental conditioning, communication, nutrition, vision training, college advantage, life skills and athletic regeneration – utilized by some of the world’s top athletes and teams to provide an all-encompassing training program. The Academy will add a girls’ lacrosse director by April.
“IMG Academies embodies athletic improvement and personal development,” said Finneran. “With the popularity of lacrosse now expanding from coast to coast, the launching of a lacrosse program backed by IMG Academies’ years of athletic training experience will only help propel the game to new heights by offering players a dedicated venue for their progression.”
The IMG Lacrosse Academy launching follows a deal between IMG Academies and the National High School Coaches Association that will bring official high school national championships to the Academy starting in summer 2010, including 10-on-10 lacrosse from Aug. 19-21.
“All of MLL is excited for the opening of the IMG Lacrosse Academy, as it will help foster the growth of the game due to IMG Academies’ reputation as a first-class operation,” said David Gross, MLL commissioner. “The Academy could not have made a better choice than hiring Kevin Finneran to direct the program. Besides being a world-class player and champion at every level, Kevin is a true ambassador of the sport who commands the respect of the entire lacrosse community.”
Added George Daniel, National Lacrosse League commissioner: “The fact that IMG Academies is offering lacrosse along with ‘traditional’ sports shows how much lacrosse has grown. We are excited about the possibilities that the IMG Lacrosse Academy will provide for player development and the sport’s expansion.”