For 15 year-old Jayden Bomberry, this summer was a dream come true. She was one of 50 teen girls and the only female indigenous athlete selected from across North America to attend Nike’s ‘The Ride’, an invitation only lacrosse camp for the top players in the US & Canada held at Nike World Headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon.
“I was so excited. I always said that I wanted to be sponsored someday by Nike and now I had this opportunity I felt like that was a big honor. And being the only native girl, I thought that was cool.” Jadyn said.
It is safe to say that Six Nations’ Jadyn Bomberry is on a mission to succeed and has already become one of the top female lacrosse players of her generation. Just 100 youth were selected for this training camp; 50 males and 50 females.
Another one of Six Nations’ lacrosse stars, Tehoka Nanticoke, was selected as one of only two indigenous male recruits to participate in the four-day long training session held in July.
All recruits were given thousands of dollars worth of limited edition Nike ‘The Ride’ lacrosse gear to suit them up, giving them a taste of what it would be like to be a professional Nike lacrosse athlete.
Players were teamed up throughout the camp with Nike lacrosse athletes Jeremy Thompson and Kitty Cullen to glean knowledge from those sponsored professionals.
Recruits were taken through SPARQ training: exercises to increase the Speed, Power, Agility, Reaction and Quickness necessary to excel in the game of lacrosse which has been dubbed by sports media as the ‘fastest game on two feet’. “I never did training like that before. So now I got all the equipment I need to train like that and I practice everyday” said Bomberry.
They were then put into teams to participate in championship games and given a small taste of what the standard is to get into a Division 1 University, where students are eligible for full lacrosse scholarships. This is the long-term goal for Bomberry who has already been contacted by recruiters from three Division 1 institutions.
“I want to go to Ohio, Duke or Penn State” said Jadyn. “They can’t officially say ‘come to my school’ yet but I have seen some schools.”
Jadyn plays for lacrosse teams on Haudenosaune territories in both USA and Canada, is pursuing other sports at school and now trains year round. “I run in the morning, go to school, come home, eat, workout and then my weekends are my free time,” said Jadyn.
Jadyn’s mother Christina Bomberry made the conscious choice as a parent to come alongside her daughter in this journey. She said, “I don’t care to really play lacrosse but I care enough for her to succeed to stay involved in what she does in all aspects, even if its physical, because then I stay healthy. Running is my background, that’s also what one of her strengths are so we work on that together. I’m not as fast as her and she proves that to me all the time,” they laughed together. “But the reality is that that is what helps keep me active.”
Christina said that her involvement in Jadyn’s journey in lacrosse was a conscious parenting choice “I knew she was getting older and her mind was changing and I said ‘I have to be involved because I am going to lose that connection with her as she changes from a kid to an adult.”
Christina, who has been a well-known champion fancy shawl dancer since childhood, didn’t forsee a life of lacrosse for her daughter. She said, “This whole thing is her lead. Lacrosse is not my thing. My sisters all played lacrosse but I danced. But Jadyn wanted to play lacrosse so we had to make a decision, ‘Do we want to go dance because [pow-wow] dancing is me, or do we do lacrosse?’ And she told me ‘I wanna do lacrosse.’ So we do. And I’m okay with it. Dancing will always be there and we can come back to it. But right now this is what we’re gonna do.”