Jamaica Lacrosse Association announces its first team to attend the U19 Women’s World Championship

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

About FIL

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.

FIL Board of Directors Grants Full Membership Status To National Federations From Peru and Jamaica

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. — The Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL) awarded Full Membership Status to two member-national federations during the organization’s Board of Directors Meeting, January 12-14 in Philadelphia.

The FIL Board of Directors unanimously agreed to recognize the Peru Lacrosse Association and Jamaica Lacrosse Association as Full Members of the international federation.  The national federations were first accepted into FIL in 2012 (Peru) and 2013 (Jamaica), and now meet the requirements for Full Membership.

As stewards of a sport that is enjoying explosive growth in participation and popularity around the globe, FIL now has 62 member-national federations worldwide.

The decision to award Full Membership Status highlighted a busy three days of activity for the FIL Board of Directors, which met in Philadelphia alongside the highly successful LaxCon Convention and Fan Fest, organized by US Lacrosse.

The FIL Board of Directors is led by Sue Redfern of England.  Other highlights from the FIL Board Meeting include:

The Board welcomed the participation and contributions from Sachiyo Yamada of Japan, a member of the newly-established FIL Athletes Commission and the first athlete representative to participate in a FIL Board Meeting.

The Board met with leaders from Iroquois Nationals Lacrosse and agreed to establish working groups from both organizations to identify areas of mutual interest and cooperation in support of the continued growth of lacrosse.  The Board reaffirmed its gratitude to Iroquois Nationals Lacrosse and the Haudenosaunee for their historic and lasting contributions to the game.  The Iroquois Nationals delegation was led by Oren R. Lyons, Honorary Chairman and Co-Founder of Iroquois Nationals Lacrosse.

The Board received an update on preparations for the 2019 FIL Women’s Lacrosse U19 World Championship in Peterborough, Canada and 2019 FIL Indoor Lacrosse World Championship in Langley, Canada from the organizers of those events.  The Board also discussed ongoing preparations related to the inclusion of lacrosse in the 2021 World Games in Birmingham, Alabama.

The Board received a detailed report on the successful effort to secure Provisional Recognition from the International Olympic Committee, which was awarded to FIL in November 2018, and ongoing efforts to continue raising the profile of lacrosse globally amongst international sport leaders.

The Board received status reports and recommendations in areas that include sport development, governance and anti-doping.
FIL Chief Executive Officer Jim Scherrreported to the Board on operating results and accomplishments for 2018 and strategic priorities for 2019.  The Board also reviewed and approved the operating budget and schedule of meetings for the international federation in 2019.  The 2019 FIL General Assembly will be held Aug. 11-13 in Peterborough, Canada.

Take notice – Jamaica seal 13th place at Lacrosse World Championships

Jamaica’s Lacrosse coach Dale Walker, believes their outstanding performance at the ongoing Lacrosse World Championships immediately established them as a new ‘world power’ in the sport.

Walker said the stage has been set for Jamaican Lacrosse to have a major impact at the next World Championships to be held in Canada in 2022.

The Jamaica Lacrosse team finished in 13th place in their first time competing at the Lacrosse World Championship, currently on in Israel, and Walker said the Lacrosse world can only sit up and take notice.

“This is our first time (at the championship) and we are able to reach 13th (place) out of 44 countries. This has set the tone for what will happen at the next world games and it has established Jamaica as a power in the Lacrosse world immediately,” he told The Gleaner.

‘Special feeling’

“This is a testament to what the Jamaica Lacrosse Association has done. This is really special for us. We are proud of our men, we are proud of our organization and proud that we were able to represent Jamaica in this way in our very first tournament,” he added.

Jamaica lost the opening game of the championship, to host Israel, but since then, has beaten all and sundry to finish in their highest possible position. In the 13th-16th playoffs, Jamaica first defeated Switzerland 12-6, then moved on to beat Finland 8-7, before stopping Wales in the decisive match yesterday.

“Wales was a very difficult and challenging match to earn 13th place at the Lacrosse championships. It was a really close game early on as our defense and offense struggled and Wales went up two nothing. But Jamaica was able to battle back and as the game progressed, we got into our groove and got things stabilized,” he explained.

“In the second-half, we took control of the game, did not allow them to have possession time and took the game away from them. They battled back to 10-7 but we held on for the win,” he said.

Walker was also extremely pleased to have ended the tournament with the second best win record, to the United States, who has a 100 percent win record.

“In terms of wins, we were second only to the USA who had a 100 percent win record and that is a great accomplishment for a first time team,” he added.

Errol Wilson Heads Team Jamaica’s Staff for 2018 FIL World Championships

Talented coach sees his life come full circle through the game of lacrosse

Kingston, Jamaica – Team Jamaica took another step towards competing in their first ever Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL) World Championship earlier today when Calbert Hutchinson, President of the Jamaica Lacrosse Association (JLA) named Errol Wilson (St. Mary’s, JA / Lehigh University) the head coach of the men’s national team for the 2018 FIL World Championships, set to take place next July in Netanya, Israel. Hutchinson also announced Wilson’s supporting staff which includes Associate Head Coach, Dale Walker (Spanishtown, JA / Wolmers School) and assistant coach, Kevin Martin (Nantucket, MA / Sweetlax).

“Coach Wilson’s success as a player and a coach at the NCAA Division 1 level speaks for itself,” said Hutchinson, “But what we were most impressed with is his desire to be a good father, and to serve as a strong role model to the young men of Jamaica.”

Being named head coach of the first even Jamaica men’s lacrosse national team is a special “full circle” moment for Wilson. His family story is one of humble beginnings with his mother’s Jamaican background rooted in the rural simplicity of St. Mary’s Parish. Wilson’s mother migrated in 1983, settling in Freeport, NY, where he grew up and learned to love the game of lacrosse. He went on to shine football, track, and lacrosse at Freeport HS . He went on to play goalie for Lars Tiffany at Stony Brook University. Shortly after graduation, Wilson started his coaching career at Brown University, where he helped lead the Bears to a 2008 Ivy League Championship. Wilson then spent a year at Rutgers before joining Kevin Cassese’s coaching staff at Lehigh, where he has served for the past six seasons, the past three as Associate Head Coach.

Coach Wilson is excited and honored to be named the first head coach in the history of Jamaica Lacrosse, but the word that probably best describes how he is feeling is, grateful. The talented young coach has a long list of people he would like to thank.

 “I would like to thank all my coaches along the way in every sport I ever played. I’ve been fortunate to be around some incredible coaches, teachers, support staff and administrators. I’m extremely grateful to all the head coaches I have worked for; Lars Tiffany, Jim Stagnitta and now Kevin Cassese; All of these men have been instrumental in my career and life,” said Wilson.  

His comments appropriately echo the spirit and sentiment of Jamaican cultural icon and reggae legend, Bob Marley, who quoted Marcus Garvey in the hit song, No Woman, No Cry, “In this great future, you can’t forget your past. Wilson continued;

“I also want to thank Calbert Hutchinson, Dwight Clarke and Jamaica Lacrosse Association for entrusting me with the great honor and opportunity to lead Team Jamaica.”

Coach Wilson becomes passionately emotional when he talks about his family, and particularly his mother and the sacrifices she made for his family;

‘My Mother is my daily inspiration; She was brave and determined when she migrated to the USA in 1983, her sacrifice, commitment and dedication to myself, my sister Tyisha and our entire family has been a blessing for us all. My mother’s, competitive and ambitious nature reflect our Jamaican roots; she has instilled that in me. Lastly, I would like to thank my wife, Pat and our 2 boys Roman (5) and Solomon (1). I could not make this commitment without their love and support.  I’m honored to represent my family and my roots and my heritage as the head coach of Team Jamaica.”

Putting Coach Wilson’s supporting cast together was something that Hutchinson had to put a lot of thought into, as he wanted to ensure a balance of local leadership, world class coaching and candidates with Jamaican roots, which is what led him to identify Dale Walker as the associate head coach.   

“Coach Walker has played an integral role in the growth of our boys and girls high school lacrosse league, here in Kingston,” said Hutchinson. “He is going to be tasked with our ongoing efforts to groom and develop the top local talent here in Kingston on a year-round basis. Dale will be an invaluable part of Coach Wilson’s staff.”

Walker serves as the head coach of the boys and girls programs at Wolmers Schools in downtown Kingston. He was also the beneficiary of an FIL Leadership grant that enabled him to attend the 2017 US Lacrosse Convention. In the coming weeks, Walker is helping the JLA run their first ever Level 1 Coaches & Officials Certification to help build capacity for the ever-growing Jamaica High School Lacrosse League.

Kevin Martin, founded Sweetlax, one of the nation’s top high school programs with elite teams based in Florida and New York. Martin has established himself as one of the top high school club coaches in the country, and will play an integral role as a member of the Team Jamaica staff.  Coach Martin has already played a major role in growing the men’s player pool and soliciting corporate sponsorship for Team Jamaica.

“Kevin is an outstanding coach and has developed a reputation as one of the best evaluators of talent in the lacrosse world. Beyond that, his work with youth lacrosse in Nantucket, MA, opened the doors of opportunity to many young Jamaican-American boys, and his relationship as a mentor and guardian to Hakeem Lecky (Kingston, JA / Nantucket, MA / Syracuse University), makes his role with Team Jamaica even more meaningful,” said Hutchinson.  

Details regarding the try-out process for Team Jamaica will be announced in the coming days.