DOVER/DELAWARE – High school age lacrosse talent from Six Nations, Akwesasne and Cattaraugus were included in the 2018 to 2019 edition of the 3d Lacrosse/Nike Lacrosse Fall Shootout, an annual club lacrosse tournament that draws about 90 teams on back-to-back days.
The Iroquois Golden Eagles team also includes American Indian teens from across the lacrosse world who may never have a chance to be scouted for College programs.
Golden Eagles competed in the 2018 to 2019 division at the tournament at the DE Turf Sports Complex just outside of Dover, Delaware.
In the U.S. northwest especially, field lacrosse is king and High School lacrosse programs. In this area, box lacrosse is the game. Although the games are distinctly different in many ways, the player skills are transferable and even box players are welcome to apply for the Iroquois team.
In fact, of the 23 players on the roster, a good number of them had never competed at a club field tournament of any sort. Some, like the Iroquois content from Canada, hail from reserve were box lacrosse players may have rarely stepped onto a lacrosse field.
3d and Nike teamed up to sponsor The Iroquois Golden Eagles team and the tournament with a line of professional quality lacrosse equipment, head to foot.
They are test marketing Nike’s new line and have outfitted Team Iroquois with the latest in lacrosse gear, including the new Thompson Brothers-inspired limited edition Nike Alpha Huarache 6 Elite Lax cleat and Nike uniforms emblazoned with the Golden Eagles logo designed by Nike athlete Lyle Thompson.
Players also used the new Nike Lakota 2 head, the new Nike Vapor Elite gloves and other apparel.
At this fall’s tournament, the team would loose its first outing but go on to win the next five games by a combined score of 39-18, taking on field teams from New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Alberta.
“We certainly competed to win, but the game results isn’t what this was ultimately about,” said Chris Doctor, one of the Iroquois Golden Eagles coaches and a Co-Director of 3d Lacrosse’s Tri-State region.
“This was a terrific opportunity for Native American kids to join together and compete in a club setting that, for the most part, is foreign to all but a handful of the kids on the team. We hope it’s the start of something special.”
The program began seven years ago and has been growing in stature and credibility since. This is a great showcase tournament for high school age players looking for a college of university invitation.
The tournament now attracts 150 or more colleges recruiters and coaches.
Doctor played college lacrosse at Rutgers University and spent 10 years as a Division I college coach before joining 3d Lacrosse team. He was a coach with the Iroquois Nationals men’s field squad in 2014, a coach with the under-19 Iroquois squad in 2016 and will be on the men’s staff again in 2018 when the team travels to Israel.
“Bringing these guys to a tournament like this, they’re exposed not only to the coaches but the landscape where a lot of the games most recruited players are seen,” Doctor told Inside Lacrosse. “And over time, this sort of exposure and blending of those two worlds will help get more Native American kids playing college lacrosse and put more kids on a better path in life. It will also strengthen the men’s Iroquois program by way of a ripple effect from the youth level to the Iroquois men’s teams.”
Matt Rowley, 3d Lacrosse’s National Club Director, adds, “The whole idea was to bring up-and-coming Native American players together and expose them to the club world as a group in way that they’d really enjoy but also benefit from as well. We wanted to not only celebrate Native American Heritage Month with our partners at Nike, but we also wanted to showcase a group of talented players – many of them unknown to college recruiters – in a system that we believe in.”
The earmark of the High school Shootout program is bringing young Indigenous talent and lacrosse recruiters together in a showcase format.
“One of the important reasons for doing this is the simple fact that so many of these kids will get through their high school years and not be seen by college coaches,” said Doctor, who hails from Central New York and is of Mohawk descent.
“These guys came to a big event and in many ways stole the show with their highlight-reel plays, but just as impressive was the tenacity and passion they played with every time they stepped on the field. They really showcased our game well at a high-profile event and put even more eyes on the teams there that weekend.”
Being selected to play in the tournament is also a first step towards building a stronger Team Iroquois FIL Men’s World Field Lacrosse Championships.
“Bringing these guys to a tournament like this, they’re exposed not only to the coaches but the landscape where a lot of the games most recruited players are seen. And over time, this sort of exposure and blending of those two worlds will help get more Native American kids playing college lacrosse and put more kids on a better path in life. It will also strengthen the men’s Iroquois program by way of a ripple effect from the youth level to the Iroquois men’s teams,” says Doctor.
Six Nations’ Jake Henhawk, is the team’s Head Coach an he says he’s received very positive feedback from Golden Eagles players and their families.
“We were able to bring in a great group of kids who we think will be mainstays in lacrosse for years and some might even compete at the world level some day,”
3d trains players using a hybrid of both field and box skills claiming 35,000 young athletes have trained through the program since it started in 2009.