Lacrosse Scotland Men’s Performance Pathways & Leagues Update

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As the new Men’s Sport Director I would like to take this opportunity to update you on recent Board decisions and proposed changes to the Lacrosse Scotland pathways and leagues which we hope will make the sport more inclusive and enjoyable for our membership.

Apologies for the length of this news item but there is a considerable amount of important information which we need to pass on. Please feel free to contact me if you have any queries or concerns regarding its content.

2020 Men’s U’19 World Lacrosse Championship Decision

Lacrosse Scotland’s Board of Directors have undertaken a review of the application to send a national squad to represent Scotland at the 2020 Men’s U’19 World Lacrosse Championship in Limerick, Ireland.

After careful consideration of all the facts the Men’s Sport Director and supporting Directors have taken the decision to refrain from submitting an application to attend the event. The reasoning for this decision is outlined below.

World Lacrosse (formerly FIL) Player Criteria:

  • Scotland qualified for the World Lacrosse overage dispensation for the 2020 Men’s U’19 World Lacrosse Championship. This allowed the national squad to consider players up to the age of 21, providing they were not born before 31st August 1998.
  • World Lacrosse criteria outlines that a squad cannot consist of more than 50% of overage players.
  • Players currently not residing within the nation being represented are not eligible for the overage dispensation, as such all ‘imported players’ are required to be 19 years of age (not born before 31st August 2000) or younger at the start of the Championship.

After reviewing membership lists, national team training rosters and eligibility requests it is clear that Scotland doesn’t have the player pool to adequately send a representative team to the 2020 Men’s U’19 World Lacrosse Championship.

At the time of writing the coaching staff had a pool of 18 eligible players to select a national squad from, 5 of which registered their position as goalie. Furthermore, these players had not been questioned as to their ability to self-fund their attendance at the Championship or been able to provide proof of eligibility.

Given the limited player pool, player restrictions and uncertainty over additional players it was recommended that the programme instead shifts its focus to the 2022 Men’s U’20 European Lacrosse Championship.

Performance Pathways

The Men’s Sport Director, Development Director, Field and Indoor (Box) management teams have been working closely together to devise new strategies for the men’s performance pathways. Our strategies are the result of member consultation which has cemented our focus to produce elite teams fielded by majority domestic based players who will be role models to help attract new players into lacrosse and grow and sustain the next generation of the sport. As a result we will be implementing changes to the structure of the leagues and national teams for the upcoming season.

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National Indoor (Box) Lacrosse

Firstly, we would like to welcome the integration of the National Indoor (Box) lacrosse programme into Lacrosse Scotland’s strategic plan. Indoor (Box) lacrosse has been a fringe aspect of lacrosse in Scotland since 2013 with no real development pathway, that will change this year with the implementation of a Lacrosse Scotland supported league and development weekends.

The domestic indoor (box) season will run from October to April with single day sessions taking place throughout the season at Manhattan Works in Dundee. These sessions will get underway with our inaugural ‘Best of Both’ weekend on the 12th-13th October where new players will be invited to a indoor (box) lacrosse development day on the Saturday (12th) and a field development day on the Sunday (13th), getting an introduction to all that Lacrosse Scotland has to offer.

These days will consist of development sessions with training opportunities delivered by qualified indoor (box) lacrosse coaches. The latter half of these sessions will be when the indoor (box) league games will take place. Players who register for these sessions will be drafted into the teams to ensure even and competitive matches.

After considering the output from the investigation carried out by the Working Group, the Lacrosse Scotland Board confirmed to World Lacrosse that Scotland would be participating in the 2019 World Indoor Lacrosse Championship in Langley, Canada. Scotland will now send its first UK based team strongly featuring lacrosse players from our domestic indoor programme, to a World Championship this summer. We would like to wish the team the very best of luck.

The next step for the team will be trials to select a national squad to attend the European Box Lacrosse Invitational hosted in Prague, Czech Republic each April. This will be part of the squads preparations for the European Indoor Championship in 2021.

If you would like to become involved with the national indoor (box) lacrosse programme please get in touch.

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Field Lacrosse

This year the field programme continues its preparations for the 2020 European Lacrosse Championships being held in Krakow, Poland next July. This will be an important event for Scotland as a good performance is required to secure qualification for the next World Championship.

In order to achieve our objective of attracting new players into lacrosse and developing them into national team athletes we will be improving our development sessions and implementing a new development pathway. The new proposed pathway will function as follows:

Youth Academy –> Development Squads –>  Elite Squads

Our new Development Director Mike Barclay is hard at work establishing junior clubs which we are optimistic will lead to the creation of a junior league and eventually a youth training academy.

Given the recent success of the Scottish Student Lacrosse squad and national training squads it is clear that there is an abundance of talent within the Scottish leagues that with further coaching and development could reach their full potential and break into the elite (championship) squads. For this reason we will be amalgamating the Scottish Student Lacrosse squad and U’19 programme to create a new fully fledged Scotland Development team and programme to provide players with training and development opportunities that will act as a stepping stone to the elite squads. The first competitive event planned for this newly created Development programme will be the 2020 Nick Kehoe International.

The elite squad will continue to be overseen by Head Coach Brian Silcott. As part of their preparations for the the 2020 European Lacrosse Championships the elite squad will compete in the Berlin Open, Home Internationals and Nick Kehoe International.

In an effort to make the development days more accessible for all there will now be greater focus on the requirements of developing players as well as those of intermediate/elite players. The plan is to host most of the sessions in Edinburgh as we work towards creating a National Performance Centre for Lacrosse. However, in response to membership feedback we will also trial hosting a number of development sessions in Dundee in a bid to establish more men’s lacrosse in the region and make the sessions more accessible for northern players. 

If you would like to become involved with the national field lacrosse programme please get in touch.

 

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Men’s Field Leagues

After consulting the feedback from AGM forums and discussions with clubs it has become apparent to league organisers that the previous field league structure did not meet the needs of our members. We have therefore taken the decision to try a new approach, one that we hope will better serve our current and future players.

The new structure being proposed is a move away from the traditional single competition home/away structured league in favour of 3 shortened tournament style leagues giving players the opportunity to play as much or as little lacrosse as they would like. Below is a brief outline of how these leagues will function.

Club League & League Cup

This year the club league will see the number of competing teams increased from 4 to 8 with Aberdeen University and Edinburgh University set to rejoin and Borders City LC and Stirling City Stags LC joining for their inaugural seasons.

The new league and league cup will consist of 7 single day tournaments taking place between October to March. The league will follow a touring format similar to that of the new professional Premier Lacrosse League, with each weekend featuring all teams being hosted in 1 or 2 venues. All league dates have been carefully planned to avoid key university dates, preventing potential match call offs. The following dates have been proposed as the fixtures for the 2019/20 season:

  • Weekend #1  –  5thOctober  –  Stirling
  • Weekend #2  –  2ndNovember  –  Edinburgh
  • Weekend #3  –  9thNovember  –  Aberdeen (Division A) + Dumfries (Division B)
  • Weekend #4  –  1stFebruary  –  Aberdeen (Division B) + Carlisle (Division A)
  • Weekend #5  –  22ndFebruary  –  Glasgow
  • Weekend #6  –  29thFebruary  – Dundee
  • Weekend #7  –  7thMarch  –  Edinburgh

Rather than teams playing 1 single 60 minute game teams which results in no game being played if 1 team calls off, teams will instead compete in 1 of 2 divisions. Each division will feature 4 teams who will play in a round robin tournament over the course of 2 and a half hours. Each team will therefore play 3x 20 minute games against 3 different teams, ensuring they still receive their expected 60 minutes of game-time. Within the division when teams are not playing they will be asked to provide referees and statisticians ensuring the professionalism of the league. Below is an example of how the structure could look:

Image of possible match schedule

Points will be accumulative over the 6 league weekend tournaments with the overall winner being eligible to represent Scotland at the Ken Galluccio Cup (Lacrosse Champions League).

In addition to the league there will be a standalone single day League Cup tournament. League standings will be used to seed teams for the League Cup but all teams will play knockout and placement matches and be eligible to win the cup.

Individual league

We will be launching a new league to offer players the opportunity to play more competitive games outwith their club and gain valuable experience playing against and alongside new players.

Players will register for the league as individuals and be selected to newly created teams through an official league draft.

The league will run over 4 single day touring tournaments between September and March. The following dates have been proposed as the fixtures for the 2019/20 season:

  • Weekend #1  –  8thSeptember  –  Glasgow
  • Weekend #2  –   1stDecember  –  Edinburgh
  • Weekend #3  –   26thJanuary  –  Dundee
  • Weekend #4  –   29thMarch  –  Stirling

 

Regional Challenge Series

We are introducing a Regional Challenge Series where players from each area join to compete as one team (i.e. Glasgow Uni, Strathclyde, Glasgow City merging to play as West of Scotland while Aberdeen University and RGU merge to play as North of Scotland etc. The league will see each region (North, South, East, West) compete against each other to be crowned best region of Scotland. We are hoping this addresses the problem of teams struggling to field full teams during university examinations and summer months.

This league will run from April to June and play the new Olympic rules which will help prepare players for the new annual 6’s competition in Edinburgh. The following dates have been proposed as the fixtures for the 2019/20 season:

  • Weekend #1  –  26thApril  –  Stirling
  • Weekend #2  –  10thMay  –  Glasgow
  • Weekend #3  –  14thJune  –  Stirling
  • Weekend #4  –  21st June  –  Dundee

I am aware that some of the changes proposed are a stark contrast to what has been done previously but we are hoping that players buy into the process and give us the opportunity to try improve the sport and create long lasting benefits for our members.

Jamie Fleming

Men’s Director | Lacrosse Scotland