Jane Powell, English Lacrosse National Talent Development Manager, looks ahead to a big summer of action, excited by the packed summer of international lacrosse that will see England teams travelling the globe.
The various performance programmes are already well into their summer schedules with a host of international action going on across the next few months.
As I am sure you are all aware, we are now less than a month out from the Senior Men’s World Championships in Netanya, Israel ahead of what is looking to be a tremendous spectacle for the sport of lacrosse with the 46-team event.
The high intensity preparations over the last few months from the Men’s squad, including an important acclimatisation tour to Israel and further internationals in Manchester and Barcelona have provided a strong platform for success in July.
The competition will be fierce in a stacked blue division, as well as from nations looking to enter the elite group, and it will be great to see our side once again mixing it with, and beating, the best in the world.
Their opening fixture will be a real baptism of fire against, hopefully, reigning champions, Canada, and I’m sure everyone is looking forward to getting behind our lads throughout the duration of the event.
The Senior Men will also have the support of their female counterparts out in Israel as the Senior Women have entered a team into the Women’s Festival tournament.
This represents the beginning of their build-up to the 2019 European Championships, also taking place in Israel, as the squad start their new cycle following on from last year’s memorable bronze medal at the World Cup.
In addition to the senior programmes, last week saw a landmark tour with our newly formed Under 23 programmes travelling out to Japan for a week of matches and International Friendship Games.
This new age group will prove to be a good stepping stone for all those players with aspirations of playing for the senior squads in the future as we look for ways to bridge the gap between age group and senior lacrosse.
Both Men’s and Women’s squads will have taken extremely valuable experiences from their time in Japan both on and off field, becoming more accustomed to being a part of elite performance squads and the standards required to play international sport, as well as the learnings from visiting a nation so rich in culture and hospitality.
Down through to the U19s, the competition continues with exciting times ahead for both Men’s and Women’s programmes.
The Women’s National Academy and U19 programme are now just over a year out from the 2019 U19 World Championships in Canada and aspirations are certainly high after the tremendous performance of 2015.
In July, a squad will head out to the USA for some highly competitive fixtures against some of the best junior teams in the US which will certainly provide the girls with a great test ahead of the Championships.
In addition to this, the inaugural U20 Women’s European Championships in Poland in August will provide a unique experience for the squad members to experience a competitive international competition for the first time, which again will only serve to aid the process ahead of 2019, for which we are all very excited.
Finally, our Men’s U19 cycle begins this summer with open trials being held in July to select the training squad ahead of the 2020 FIL U19 Men’s World Championships, which as for the U19 Women, will be preceded by the U20 Euros in 2019.
This comprehensive schedule of events and tournaments represents probably the most intense and exciting summer of action for the England Talent system ever experienced and one that demonstrates all of the tireless work being carried out by staff and volunteers to get the best out of our athletes.
Good luck to the whole programme this summer!