England National Team Director, Phil Collier is looking forward to seeing his squad rise to the challenge of facing the world champions as his team fly out to California on Saturday.
England Senior Women head to Los Angeles and San Francisco over the next week for their first international tour of 2019 ahead of the European Championships this summer.
“We are really excited about this opportunity to visit the US west coast and are ready to play some top quality lacrosse.”, commented Collier.
“At this stage of our development, the trip offers us a real opportunity to grow together, on and off the field. I want to see which players rise to the challenge, enjoy the competition and showcase their skills”.
Collier’s new 42-player strong training squad have had four training weekends since September as group preparations have built back up following the reduced training period after the 2017 World Cup.
“I’m very pleased with the progress we’ve made since the squad was selected last year and after a few sessions working on skills and learning our new tactics, this new group of players and staff has started to come together.
“The team spirit is good, and we have really healthy competition for places at every position”.
And along with new personnel and new tactics, with the changes ratified by FIL to the international game in 2017, the match against USA will only be England’s third official full international playing 10 a-side after it was used at last year’s Home Internationals.
However, Collier says the transition hasn’t been a problem for his side and they’re enjoying the new rules.
“The players all love the move to 10 a-side. The extra space makes for a more attacking game, and we may well see more goals scored..
“We also like the 3 v 3 contest at the draw, with players not being released from behind the lines until possession is secured – My experience of 10 a-side as a player and coach in men’s lacrosse has been very helpful”.
And while the trip is partly about creating partnerships off-field, the management have set out to push the players hard both physically and mentally with a demanding schedule.
“We’re calling it our ‘California Challenge’. Playing seven games in seven days is a tough enough physical challenge, but the biggest test of all will be our match against the USA, the World Champions, on their home ground”.
The team will play four matches against NCAA sides throughout the week as preparation before being a part of the Spring Premiere and taking on USA, as well as their U19 counterparts and a Japan Development squad.
With 23 players involved in the California tour, it has presented Collier with an opportunity to give some of his younger and less experienced squad members the chance to impress out in the US.
“I’m really looking forward to working with the young players. We have ten fresh new faces with us on a senior tour for the first time with many coming from the bronze medal winning 2015 U19 World Cup Team.
“Seeing how they handle the team environment, how they contribute within the group and how they perform on the field, competing against some of the best players in the world will be exciting for everyone involved”.
Look out for Collier’s preview of the USA match-up next week.
20 January – University of Southern California
22 January – UC Davis
24 January – University of California, Berkeley
25 January – Japan Development
25 January – Fresno State
26 January – USA
26 January – USA U19