This is part of a continuing series counting down the top Philly lacrosse stories of 2009
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 1/20/10
The seeds were planted in 2009. What’s in store for city lacrosse in 2010? Only time will tell, but optimism continues to grow.
Many major steps were taken last year to create new youth programs, provide training for Public School teachers and coaches and establish a framework for legitimate high school programs in the city for the first time ever.
The first Public League high school program was launched at FitzSimons High, which played a JV schedule. At the end of the year, a meeting was held by city lacrosse coaches and officials where it was tentatively planned to have 11 or even 12 teams play boys’ and girls’ lacrosse in 2010.
The year was big for the development of the L.E.A.P.S. program, created by Philly pro players John Christmas (Penn assistant coach and Philadelphia Wings player) and Eric Gregg (St. Joseph’s Prep coach). L.E.A.P.S. (Leadership Education Attitude Perseverance & Success) is a non-profit organization dedicated to building lacrosse in the inner-city and in non-traditional lacrosse areas of the Delaware Valley. Throughout the year, Christmas and Gregg organized clinics and training programs and built a system of volunteers.
One of those volunteers, Arthur J. Johnson III (“Coach AJ”), was hired in the fall as coach of Master Charter-Shoemaker campus, one of at least six Public League boys’ teams that are expected to play in the spring.
L.E.A.P.S. was not the only organization that made significant contributions to the city lax scene. The Philadelphia Lacrosse Association (PLA) has been working hard for more than a decade to bring lacrosse to the city through programs and large donations or funds and equipment. Through its New Start Program the PLA has raise tens of thousands of dollars for city lacrosse programs and equipment. That assistance helped a successful Middle Grades Lacrosse Program get started in recent years.
Actually, the longest contributor to lacrosse in the city has been legendary Philly sports leader Tina Sloan Green, The former Temple coach and US Lacrosse Hall of Famer, Sloan Green is the President and co-founder of the Black Women in Sport Foundation and has been running lacrosse programs in the city for nearly 30 years. Now, all areas of leadership are working together to build the sport.
The goal is for lacrosse to be taught regularly in physical education classes, and for city youths to have programs available throughout the city and in urban areas such as Chester where lacrosse may otherwise rarely be seen.
What will happen in 2010? Only time will tell, but dreams certainly can become reality.