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Philly players compete in inaugural Sankofa Lacrosse Alliance scrimmages

Saturday, 26th October 2013

Categories Boy's/Men's, College, International, Posted 10/26/13
From Press Release & Staff Report

Several Philly players competed Friday in the inaugural Sankofa Lacrosse Alliance scrimmages at Brown University with Team England in Providence, R.I.

From left, Coach Eric Gregg, Henry Blynn, Johnny Christmas, Corbin Booker, and Will Gural pose after the scrimmages Friday at Brown

From left, Coach Eric Gregg, Henry Blynn, Johnny Christmas, Corbin Booker, and Will Gural pose after the scrimmages Friday at Brown

The Sankofa Lacrosse Alliance is a new organization of elite Black players created to promote academic, professional and social achievement for the next generation of lacrosse players.

Sankofa – featuring attackman John Christmas (Lower Merion, LXM pro) and goalie Eric Gregg (Episcopal Academy, St. Joseph’s Prep coach) – split its games by defeating Team England and falling to host Brown.

Brown – which also lost to Team England – featured junior midfielder Corbin Booker (Chestnut Hill Academy) and sophomore face-off specialist Will Gural (Haverford School). Sophomore attackman Henry Blynn (Haverford School) did not play as he is recovering from knee surgery.

The Sankofa Alliance wore uniforms donated by Christmas’ Encore brand.

More than 200 former and present-day African-American players and lacrosse enthusiasts of all ages – both men and women – have pledged support of the Alliance, a group that seeks to unite the African-American lacrosse community in order to grow the sport, and expand its reach by utilizing the collective resources of the lacrosse network.

“We have all been in the situation where we were the only black player on a team,” noted Alliance organizer Kyle Harrison. “It’s about celebrating how far the sport has come, and to show young Black players that there are other players that look just like them playing this sport at a very high level.”

“We’ve each been approached about the idea of starting an all-Black team numerous times,” added co-organizer and former Brown lacrosse standout Chazz Woodson ’05. “We decided that we were in a position to really bring it together the right way and with something bigger in mind.”

Instead of focusing solely on competing, their plan is to equally emphasize what the players on that team can do to encourage academic, social, and professional achievement among young people.

Harrison and Woodson, formerly teammates on the Los Angeles and the LXM Pro Tour, will be joined by some of the brightest stars of lacrosse. Jovan Miller, John Christmas, Sam Bradman, and a host of former All-Americans, National Champions, and professionals will don Ambassador uniforms – donated by John Christmas’ Encore Brand – for the games against Brown and England.

The scrimmages were held on Meister-Kavan field on the Brown campus.

“This project has been in the works for at least 3 years now,” notes Harrison. “We have had a number of different ideas and visions for where we want this to go, so I’m proud to see it finally come together.”

The Sankofa concept is derived from King Adinkera of the Akan people of West Africa. Literally translated it means “it is not taboo to go back and fetch what you forgot.”

As Woodson explains it, networking, outreach, and exposure are the three major objectives of the SLA. “Since the beginning, the consistent focus has been to connect the African American lacrosse community geographically and generationally, and to utilize the collective experiences and resources of that network to promote academic, professional, and social achievement among all populations.”

For further information regarding the development of the Sankofa Lacrosse Alliance, and the Ambassadors team, please follow them on Facebook and Twitter @SankofaLax.

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