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| Jan 30, 2023

USA Lacrosse Hits the Pacific Northwest with Ignite the Future Portland

By Brian Logue

USA Lacrosse hits the Pacific Northwest for Ignite the Future Portland, a new initiative from the sport’s governing body that will bring a variety of events and resources to designated geographic areas. The Portland event, the pilot location for this new program, will be held at four locations around the city on the weekend of Feb. 24-26, 2023.

“We’re really excited to work with local organizations to help energize the growth of the sport in the Greater Portland area,” said Brian Silcott, Vice President of Sport Growth and Development for USA Lacrosse. “Portland is located a long way from the sport’s traditional hotbeds, but has a history of developing some outstanding players. We think this a great opportunity to work together to bring new players to the sport and provide current players, coaches and officials a rewarding and fun experience.” 

Ignite the Future Portland will feature player, coach and officials’ clinics, along with a Sixes Tournament for 12U, 14U and high school-aged boys’ and girls’ teams.

A total of seven player clinics will be held — ranging from beginner clinics for just $10 to youth skill development clinics to a VIP clinic with limited registration numbers to allow for personal interaction. The youth skill development and VIP clinics will be led by professional and U.S. national team player representatives. 

Current Premier Lacrosse League players Adam Ghitelman and Jules Heningburg will participate in the boys' clinics with the women's clinicians including Sam Swart. Ghitelman won a gold medal with the U.S. U19 program and won a silver last summer for the U.S. Sixes team at The World Games. Heningburg was a member of the training team for the U.S. men leading up to this summer's world championship in San Diego. Swart won a silver medal with the U.S. Sixes team at The World Games last summer and is also a member of the U.S. women's training team. The VIP clinics will be held on Feb. 24 and the beginner and skill development clinics take place on Feb. 26. Clinics will take place at Cleveland High School, Liberty High School, Oregon Episcopal School and Sherwood High School.

The coaching clinics for men’s and women’s game coaches will be led by veteran coaches Liz Robertshaw and Rick Sowell at Oregon Episcopal School on Feb. 24. Robertshaw is currently the executive director of the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Association and previously was an NCAA Division I coach for 20 years, including a 15-year tenure as the head coach at Boston University. She also won two gold medals as an assistant coach with the U.S. women’s national team. Sowell is the boys’ lacrosse director at the St. James in Springfield, Va. He previously spent more than 20 years as a collegiate coach, leading Dartmouth, Stony Brook and Navy to the NCAA tournament as head coach. He also won a gold medal with the U.S. men’s national team as an assistant coach at the 2010 world championship.

The officiating clinic instructs new and experienced officials on how to officiate the Sixes discipline which will be used for the weekend tournament. Registered officials will get pre-event online coursework as well as a live clinic at Oregon Episcopal School on Friday, Feb. 24. 

The Sixes tournament features the new discipline of the sport designed by World Lacrosse as a way to both help the sport grow globally and best position it for potential inclusion in the Olympics. Lacrosse is one of nine sports currently being considered for addition to the program at the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics. 

Sixes is a fast-paced version of the sport played on a smaller field (70 x 36 meters), with fewer players (6 v 6), a condensed game length (four 8-minute quarters) and a 30-second shot clock. The tournament in Portland will feature boys' and girls' 12U, 14U and High School divisions and will be played at Sherwood High School from Feb. 25-26.

The event is being sponsored by Nike Lacrosse, Maverik and Gatorade.

About USA Lacrosse

USA Lacrosse, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, is a Recognized Sports Organization of the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee. As the governing body of men’s and women’s lacrosse in the United States, USA Lacrosse leads the U.S. National Teams Program and establishes universal standards. With more than 400,000 members across the country, USA Lacrosse unites the community of players, coaches, officials, parents, and program leaders. Working together, we inspire participation, enrich the athlete experience, and support the growth of the sport.