By Chris Goldberg
TopLaxRecruits.com, Posted 1/10/13
As one of the few veteran players on Team Canada, midfielder Jake Stroscher appreciated the significance of competing in the Brogden Cup against the USA last weekend in Orlando, Fla.
“Not many players get the opportunity to represent their country in an international tourney,” said Stroscher. “You hear about this when you are younger; it’s very prestigious and has tons of history.”
Stroscher is a freshman midfielder at Conestoga College in Guelph, Ontario. He played high school lacrosse at SAPEC @W.A Porter in Toronto. At 18, he was about the oldest player on a Canadian team that featured many 16-year-olds.
The youthful Canadian squad showed its inexperience at times in falling in two games in the best-of-three Brogden Cup series. But after losing the opener, 23-5, Team Canada improved drastically in the second game, bowing 8-4, to Team USA (Rochester).
This North American competition was held in partnership with the Central Florida Sports Commission and presented by Gatorade through Level 2 Sports.
Rochester qualified to represent the United States by winning the Brine National Lacrosse Classic last summer in Maryland. The Canadian team, from Ontario, was comprised of top players from the Ontario Junior Men’s Field Lacrosse League.
Rochester has won the crown three of five years as the US representative and competed four of the five years the event has been held as a High School age championship. (See Sunday’s game story roundup.) Also see story on Rochester’s player reaction.
“I knew we were a very young team and when I saw the US team I knew we were in a bit of trouble,” he said. “As one of the captains and more experienced players, I wanted to help the squad play its best and help kids get seen.”
Canada clearly struggled in Friday’s opener. But in the second game Saturday, the Canadians led much of the opening half until the mighty Americans finally took control in the final quarter.
“Definitely, the second game was the highlight of the tourney,” said Stroscher. “We came together like a real team.
“We did exactly what coach (Joe) Hiltz told us to do and we executed; we possessed the ball, stayed away from penalty trouble and every time they gave us the ball we tried to capitalize.
“And we did capitalize on their mistakes. After the first game and that 23-5 loss, we had a players’ meeting. We went through all the bad points of the game and we knew we needed to change the way we played and work as a unit.”
Stroscher said the Canadians made sure they left with their heads held high.
“We didn’t want their players to think we just showed up to be on vacation and to go to Disney World,” he said. “We had the US coaches losing their cool in the second game.
“We wanted to play lacrosse and make sure we did not embarrass ourselves and give the Brogden Cup a bad name. Sure, we lost, but we felt we represented ourselves well as a young team.”
Broscher said his teammates spent a lot of time together in the tourney off the field.
“As a team, being form different places all over Ontario, the guys didn’t know each other well. Some were from Toronto, some from Peterborough, some from Orangeville, some from Oshawa. We did a lot of team bonding.
“When we weren’t on the field playing, we were hanging out at the pool or in the hotel rooms and we were always getting to know each other and figuring out how to play together. We wanted to get the job done.”
Stroscher said the Brogden Cup – which formerly matched US and Canadian post-collegiate teams – is indeed a well-known tourney in Canada.
“It’s considered a very historical and prestigious tournament in Canada,” he said. “It was a great opportunity to play. When coach Hiltz sent me an e-mail asking me if I would play I jumped right on it.
“For Canadians and Americans, it’s a great experience to represent your country and play ina tourney that so many have played before. ”