Corey McLaughlin | @Corey_McL
Two days before the U.S. men’s national team reclaimed the gold against Canada at the Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL) World Championship in July 2010 in Manchester, England, then-Team USA assistants Tony Resch and Rick Sowell won a first-prize medal in another world championship level: the Grand Masters 45 and over division.
Sowell, now the head coach at Navy, hadn’t played in eight years, but you could hardly tell. The former two-time All-American and 1985 NCAA Division III Midfielder of the Year at Washington College scored four goals and had two assists, while Resch played lock-down defense to lead FROGs to a championship game win over, go figure, a group of Canadian players.
“The fact that it was the Canucks was added incentive,” Sowell said.
It was win a Sowell and Resch hoped was foreboding. Team USA went on to beat Canada 12-10 about 48 hours later in front of 4,651 fans at the University of Manchester.
The Grand Masters division, along with 11 other levels of play, will return to the FIL World Championship, hosted by US Lacrosse, July 10-19 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Denver.
The complex features 24 manicured fields, which will host boys’ and men’s teams from the U11 age group all the way up through 60 and over to compete in the youth and master’s World Lacrosse Festivals, held in conjunction with the world championship. Participating festival teams will have access to the world championship, expected to draw a record 40 nations, during their event.
Traditionally, the annual Vail Lacrosse Shootout, one of the jewels of the club lacrosse circuit, hosts Masters (age 30 and over), Supermasters (40 and over), and Grandmasters (50 and over) play during late June and early July, as part of its nine-day event on fields located along a 13-mile stretch of Interstate-70 in the Rocky Mountains west of Denver.
This summer, those three divisions will not be played at Vail, but rather will be folded into the World Lacrosse Festivals.
"It didn't seem right to compete with one another on the Masters, the Supermasters and Grandmasters,” said Jim Soran, who co-founded the event that this year will hold its 42nd edition. “We felt that the focus should be on the festival at the world games.”
The World Festivals include play in the following boys’ and men’s divisions: U11, U13, U15, U17, Elite/Open, 30 and over, 35 and over, 40 and over, 45 and over, 50 and over, 55 and over, 60 and over. Among early entrants are several youth teams from nearby 3d Lacrosse, which recently won the US Lacrosse U15 National Championship, a 35-and-over team from Germany and a 45-and-over team from Australia.
"The lacrosse community continues to grow around the world, and we are proud to welcome domestic and international teams to compete in the World Lacrosse Festivals while taking in the once-in-a-lifetime experience of the FIL World Championships," said Beth Porreca, director of special events at US Lacrosse. "The 10 days in Denver represent a unique opportunity for teams of all ages to experience the best of lacrosse and to strengthen many of the bonds that hold lacrosse fans so close."
Register your team for the World Lacrosse Festivals and purchase tickets to the FIL World Championships, July 10-19 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Denver, at WorldLacrosse2014.com.