May 1, 2019 — Today, the Jamaica Lacrosse Association announces its first team to attend the U19 Women’s World Championship in Peterborough, Canada August 1-10, 2019. “This milestone is critical for the sport of Lacrosse and its growth in Jamaica,” said Calbert Hutchinson, President of the Jamaica Lacrosse Association. “From the beginning, we’ve had a vision of putting a stick in every young person’s hands that wanted to learn to play. Now, we are bursting with pride at the opportunity to send this team to the world stage.”
Jamaica is a member of The Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL). The FIL was established in August 2008 in a merger of both the men’s and women’s international lacrosse associations and is the international governing body for men’s and women’s lacrosse. In 2018, the first Men’s Senior National Team took the world stage and competed and placed 13th in the World Championships in Israel. After years of training, the Women’s U19 team, has been selected and will be in rigorous training leading up to Worlds in August 2019. Unlike the Men’s Senior National Team; the majority of the Women’s U19 Team is composed of all but 2, Jamaican born residents.
With the excitement of the World Championship comes the harsh reality of the resources needed for this team to compete. For many of the women on the U19 training team, travel for practices and training is long and cumbersome. Few have proper equipment, suitable shoes or protective gear such as goggles and mouth guards. Further, with the sport still relatively new on the island, there are few coaches with the skill set to bring the women’s team to the world stage. The volunteer coaching staff resides in the United States and have stepped in to provide training for high school coaches and are committed to travel to Jamaica several times leading up to Worlds. “Resources to support the coaching staff and training and travel needs of the women’s team are necessary to ensure we showcase the very best team in August,” said Dwight Clarke, Vice President of the Jamaica Lacrosse Association. “We are hopeful that our community will come together to raise funds and resources to help their dream come true.” The team has set up a Go Fund Me site to raise funds for the girls and engaging with local high school and college teams to raise funds.
The U19 team will be coached by dedicated volunteers including Head Coach Alix Baldini, Assistant Head Coach, Karli Brentlinger and Assistant Coach Peter Kenny. Baldini is a passionate lacrosse coach who has been volunteering in Jamaica and teaching high school boys and girls the love of the game for over five years. When not on the fields in Jamaica, Baldini has remained active throughout the lacrosse community back home. She played three out of four years on the Owls club lacrosse team, and served as a volunteer for the MLL Team during their inaugural years at Florida Atlantic. Currently, she serves as a youth coach for the West Tampa Wolves in Odessa, and Head Coach for the Lady Gators at Land O’ Lakes high school heading into her third season with both teams.
Assistant Head Coach, Karli Brentlinger recently joined the U19 coaching staff. Brentlinger is currently the Head Women’s Lacrosse Coach at NCAA Division I Howard University. Brentlinger has built an impressive resume—starting from her days playing club lacrosse for CCLax, South River High School, then at NCAA Division I, Longwood University where she led the Lancers to back-to-back National Lacrosse Conference (NLC) titles in 2009 and 2010 as a sophomore and junior. Brentlinger earned National Lacrosse Conference (NLC) MVP Midfield honors those seasons and was named a two-time NLC Player of the Week, NLC Player of the Year & All-Conference First Team as a junior in 2010.
Kenny is a volunteer coach and avid lacrosse player himself, having recently played for 2 different Men’s leagues. For the last four years he has been the Co-Head Coach for MC Elite Midnight 22’s, an all-girls travel team based in Maryland. Over that span, the team has compiled an impressive record of over 100 wins against some of the top elite teams in the area and nationally.
In recent years, Jamaican athletes and the nation as a whole have benefited from the growing realization that the country is blessed with incredible athletic potential. The government has been placing an ever-increasing focus on sport of lacrosse as a form of national, human and economic development. The Jamaica Lacrosse Association believes that lacrosse is a sport that captures the spirit of the Jamaican people. With the recent announcement of the provisional recognition from the Olympic Association and the strategic formation of the Pan-American Lacrosse Association (PALA), the second largest lacrosse body within the Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL), Jamaica is positioned to become a front runner within the Caribbean and the region in the sport.
About Jamaica Lacrosse Association
The Jamaica Lacrosse Association has a vision – to put a stick in every young person’s hand that wants to learn the game and to ensure that young people have access to the very best coaching and training possible. Since 2014, the organization has benefited from a consistent group of passionate volunteers working diligently to educate and inspire young people and adults alike about the joys of the game. We are a community nonprofit, all volunteer organization whose mission is to use the sport as a platform to engage the youth through strategic lacrosse partnerships, facilitate all national teams and provide much needed resources to educate, outfit and offer opportunity to players, coaches and officials. To support us, please visit www.jamaicalacrosse.net or follow our training on Instagram @jamaicau19womenslacrosse
The Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL) is the international governing body for men’s and women’s lacrosse. The FIL currently has 62-member nations and holds five World Championships: Men’s Lacrosse World Championship; Under-19 Men’s Lacrosse World Championship; Men’s World Indoor Lacrosse Championship; Women’s Lacrosse World Championship; and Under-19 Women’s Lacrosse World Championship. Each event is held on a quadrennial basis. The FIL is responsible for the governance and integrity of all forms of lacrosse and provides responsive and effective leadership to support the sports’ development throughout the world.