By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 5/20/13
With 162 scholastic boys’ lacrosse players competing for spots in a new state showcase, Pennsylvania East tryouts commenced Sunday at The Hill School fields for the Brine National Lacrosse Classic.
The Brine NLC, in its sixth year, has emerged as a major boys’ and girls’ national event for recruiting as well as instruction.
Here in Pennsylvania, the hopefuls were vying to be chosen to compete in the inaugural Pride of Pennsylvania Showcase June 9 at The Hill School. The Showcase will feature approximately 75 elite lacrosse players throughout the state competing for the spots on the PA team that will compete in the Brine NLC July 1-3 at the Maryland Soccerplex in Boyds, Md.
More than 700 elite boys’ and girls’ scholastic players from regions throughout the country compete in the Brine NLC. Hundreds more also attend the Brine National All-Star Lacrosse Academy, which offers tournament-style competitions as well as instruction for middle school boys and girls.
Brine National Lacrosse Classic executive director Joel Franklin has expanded the program this year to include the Pride boys’ games in Pennsylvania, Florida, Maryland, Ohio and New England. The Florida Pride Games (June 1-2) will be showcased by Bright House Sports Network.
The PA Pride games will feature teams chosen from Sunday’s tryouts and last month’s Western tryouts. Franklin said her expects there to be three groups of 25 players chosen. The head coaches are Doug Bailey (Elizabethtown assistant and former Hempfield coach) and Hill School assistant and 380 Lacrosse director Kacy Small. Those two will be co-coaches for the PA team at the Brine NLC.
“The event has grown so much in the six years since we started,” Franklin said. “Not just the numbers, but the level of talent we see here. Pennsylvania is an elite area for lacrosse and we see a rise in the competitiveness and quality.
“From here, we’ll take the top players and marry them with the players from the West.”
Franklin noted that the evaluation process is transparent because players are known only by their numbers. Twenty college and high school coaches from the state evaluated them through drills, skill sessions and game situations.
Franklin noted that all tryout fees go to pay for the coaches, uniforms, awards and to running the events.
“All the money for the tryouts goes back to the community and the kids,” Franklin said. “We are trying to do this right for everyone.
We try to fairly evaluate the players,” he added. “We tell the kids that this tryout is a benchmark and an opportunity to test their skills against players from around the state and see how their skills compare to others.”
Franklin said Pride Games were created to provide more chances for players to be seen by college coaches and for regions to receive more exposure.
“If the kids stand out and advance, that’s great,” he said. “If not, they can try next year. Some may be late bloomers.”
One of the players that tried out Sunday, Upper Merion rising senior attackman Joe Mintzer, said he liked the exposure of competing against players throughout the state.
A few of my teammates played on the (Philly) team (before) and it seemed like a good experience,” he said. “Plus, I thought it was a good way to get exposure from top coaches around the area and play against guys from around the country. I want to play top competition.”
Mintzer said the major goal Sunday was to get selected for the Pride of Pennsylvania. (Rosters will be released first on TopLaxRecruits.com)
“The competition has been tough; there is definitely skill at every position,” he said. “Since Philly has some of the best (talent) in the country, if you make the Pride of Pennsylvania, that alone would be a huge honor. I am looking forward to playing against that competition if I make it.”
For more information on the Brine National Lacrosse Classic, click here.