By Chris Goldberg
TopLaxRecruits.com, Posted 7/11/13
BOYDS, Md. – In six years, the Brine National Lacrosse Classic has evolved into a major national event for boys’ and girls’ lacrosse players at both the high school and middle school levels.
This year’s event, held July 1-3 at the Maryland Soccerplex, drew an estimated 3,700 fans and over 100 college coaches. In total, 1,300 athletes, 96 coaches and 56 regional teams – including 20 high school boys’ and 12 high school girls’ squads – from all areas of the nation and Canada participated in the event.
The New Jersey North boys and Long Island girls won the high school championship. Grant Wasch, Brine’s Retail and Event Marketing Manager, said the event fulfills many more goals than just producing national championships.
“The event is well-organized and well-run and it’s unique in that kids from around the country can play together with others in their state and region and form relationships that they can take to college,” he said.
This year the Brine NLC expanded to include “Pride” All-Star Games for boys in Florida, Pennsylvania, Maryland, New England and Ohio. These events allowed more players to be seen by college coaches and provided another chance for coaches to evaluate players to compete in the Brine NLC.
“We want to continue to support the expansion of lacrosse using the Pride Games,” said Wasch. “As the Pride Games grow, more recruiters will focus on them.
“For the first year, they went absolutely awesome. In Florida, we partnered the Pride Games with a large youth tournament, so there was a ton on of interest and energy. They (the youth players) stayed to watch and it was a great experience.
“It’s important to bring all this together so kids can see showcase games in the different regions. That way if they can’t come to the Classic, they can experience lacrosse at that high level.”
Another unique aspect of the Brine NLC is the Middle School Academy.The All Star Lacrosse Academy is geared to better prepare players for high school lacrosse. A daily curriculum offered by NCAA lacrosse coaches provides players with one-on-one fundamental position technique training, and collegiate level coaching during competitive games.
“The Academy not only has top players, but top coaches,” said Wasch. “This allows younger kids to grow and learn the sport. They can make a difference for younger kids, helping them them grow as players in many ways.”
Boys’ Academy Director Ron Caputo, assistant Men’s Lacrosse Coach at Duke University and 2013 NCAA Division One Men’s Lacrosse Champion believes that “the game of lacrosse is overplayed and under taught. The Brine National All Star Lacrosse Academy provides players with fundamental elements needed to enhance their skills and awareness. From what I saw from the players at this year’s Academy, it’s safe to say that the game of lacrosse is in a good spot.”
NCAA lacrosse coaches from top colleges and university programs coached the Academy players during the event. Coaches came from Duke, Virginia, Yale, Penn, Maryland, Towson, Villanova, UMBC, Georgetown, High Point, Hofstra, Air Force, Bellarmine, USC, Colorado, Monmouth and the University of Florida.
“I think the kids are really skilled,” added Academy coach A.J. Brazile (Hofstra University Offensive Coordinator), who guided the Pennsylvania boys’ team. “They were really energetic and they wanted to learn. For me, coaching here at this age was a breath of fresh air. I liked getting back to the little guys.”
Wasch praised the leadership of Brine NLC Director Joel Franklin and said the event brings in all aspect of teaching and leadership.
Seminars presented by Dr. Greg Dale, Director of Sports Psychology at Duke University offer parents and players valuable insight to the importance of mental preparation for personal, academic and athletic achievement.
Where is the event headed? Wasch said there are plans to further expand next year through the Pride Games and the addition of more regoinal teams. He said the event has endless potential.
“I see it continuing to grow in popularity,” he said. “I think it will become a major recruiting event, It will take some time as different regions continue to grow and the Pride Games progress, but Brine is committed to it.”