Recognizing the advantages of learning the skills, techniques, strategies, and tactics of the indoor (box) game, almost 70 players on the Fire Lacrosse Club have enrolled in the Gulf Coast Indoor Lacrosse League organized and operated by the American Indoor Lacrosse Association (AILA).
According to Johnny Mouradian, the President of the AILA and the current Head Coach and General Manager of the Philadelphia Wings of the National Lacrosse League (NLL), "We're excited to see lacrosse players in Florida begin to recognize the huge advantages players gain by learning the box game. College coaches understand that the best lacrosse players in the world have honed their skills in the box game and many are now seeking U.S. players with indoor (box) training and knowledge. Although the U.S. pool is still relatively small compared to the base in Canada and among the Native American community, the Fire Lacrosse Club has started something special here in Florida that is destined to set the stage for the national attention, interest, and growth in the indoor version of our sport."
Mouradian, who was on-hand for the first league practice, spending time with the players introducing some of the fundamental precepts and systems of the indoor version of lacrosse, also ran the Four-day Academy held at All-Sports Zone in New Port Richey, FL. The Academy is one of the first indoor lacrosse camps offered in Florida. More are scheduled in the fall and winter 2011.
Bill Shatz, the Founder/President of the Fire Lacrosse Club, Head Coach of the U-19 field team, and one of the first coaches in the U.S. certified by the American Indoor Lacrosse Association noted that, "Fire players display an unmatched passion and dedication for learning the game of lacrosse, and have a burning desire to play at the college level. With the emergence of the indoor version of the game in the U.S. it's only natural that our players would be the first to take advantage of the opportunities to learn indoor lacrosse from one of the most renowned experts in the world."
Shatz went on to observe that, "As the Fire's reputation as a leading player development system continues to flourish nationally, the next generation Fire player will possess a dynamic and powerful skill set anchored by box lacrosse training. Fire players have already begun to gain attention at national recruiting tournaments by their skillfull application of box concepts in the field game through the AILA's In|Crosse system, and we fully anticipate that the recruitment of our players will continue to expand exponentially as their indoor knowledge and capabilities grow."
The Head Coach of the Fire's U-17 team, Gulf Coast League organizer, and three-time All-American from Ithaca College, Craig Lepiane stated that, "Lacrosse clubs in our area and throughout Florida do not possess the skill, knowledge, or capability to teach the indoor game, thereby limiting the growth potential of their players. We're confident that our indoor lacrosse knowledge, capabilities, and relationships will further differentiate the Fire program and its players from all others. Of course, we strongly encourage and invite players from other clubs to join us and jump into these indoor lacrosse learning venues. We're proud of the fact that the Fire organization has taken its player support one giant leap further by building league participation directly into its annual membership fee, making the process smooth and efficient."
The current summer league is expected to finish in mid-September and the winter league is already in the planning stages. All interested players are encourged to follow the developements of the AILA's leagues and academies by going to www.ailacrosse.net for further information.