By Gordon Glantz
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 11/23/14
At La Salle University, Kaitlin Colbridge was the model student-athlete.
In addition to making the dean’s list and the Academic Honor Roll for the Atlantic 10 Conference, she was a four-year starter for the Explorers, tying for the mark of most games played in the program.
While finding a place in the work world is not an easy task for most recent college graduates, she landed an entry level position and Independence Blue Cross.
But there was an empty feeling for the former team captain who had twice been voted by her teammates as the unsung hero.
Not was lacrosse still in her blood, but the year-round commitment to the game had prevented her from studying abroad.
That’s when she recalled that a friend and teammate from North Penn High, Abbie Hartman, had beeen coaching high school girls in an organization called the English Lacrosse Association.
A month into her stateside job, Colbridge began the application process. A month later, she was in England on a six-month contract as the coach of the University of Nottingham’s second, third, and developmental women’s lacrosse teams.
“Coaching is not something that I have always aspired to do,” said Colbridge, who is also in charge of the program’s conditioning, fitness and training. “That being said I really enjoy coaching and I find it extremely rewarding.”
It sure beats the alternative.
“I was not happy with the position that I took (at Independence Blue Cross),” she said. “I felt that I should have been working at a more challenging job after working hard and graduating from school. After working at my job for only a month I knew that it was not something that I would want to do.”
Having never missed a game in her career, Colbridge certainly met the criteria of playing in 50 percent of her games in college. Although she was a bit late in the application process, Nottingham still needed a coach in August and Colbridge was hired before Labor Day.
“It was one of the toughest decisions that I have ever had to make,” said Colbridge. “I have never been able to study abroad because of lacrosse. I would have missed too many practices and games, coach never allowed it.
“This is kind of my way to study abroad and to be able to see different cultures and countries. I’m extremely happy that it is only six months because I miss my family and home very much.”
Colbridge said the girls she coaches are normally at the level of high school JV or freshmen teams. She admits it is a challenge, but one with rewards.
“I really enjoy coaching these teams,” she said. “They have differences in their skill sets, so it’s nice to help them develop their play. I am in charge of coaching these three sessions and going to their games with them as well. Their practices and games run from Sunday to Thursday so it’s nice to get Friday and Saturday off.
“Some of the programs are very competitive here, though, I find that it is not a very popular sport, so the skill set is set back a little compared to the states.
“Also, their collegiate programs are so different. The schools do not have the money to give scholarships like they do in the states to the athletes. Because of this, I find that the dedication is not up to the same level as it is at home. The girls are all really nice and willing to learn, but I don’t think that it is as much of a priority as it is at home.”
Speaking of home, Colbridge – one of four siblings, and the middle of three tight-knit sisters – admits that she felt a little bit alone when she first arrived.
Even though she is keeping the umbrella and rain gear handy, the feeling soon passed.
“I am really enjoying my time in the UK,” she said. “The first few weeks were extremely hard. I have lived in the Philadelphia area all of my life so to be that far from my family was really hard.
“I am finally adjusted to the lifestyle so I am very happy about that! The weather is a little warmer than home in terms of the winter months but it rains so much more here I am not used to that at all.”
Once her contract expires, it’s back to the workforce – with experience that has not price tag.
“I am only contracted here until the end of March,” Colbridge said. “I plan to travel in April and come home sometime during that month. I have yet to decide what I will be doing exactly when I come home but, in the next coming months, I will be job hunting.”