US Lacrosse has named nine winners of its 2020 Youth Awards, recognizing outstanding contributors to youth lacrosse from around the country. The winners were selected from among the nominations submitted for each award and have been recognized with presentations arranged by their local lacrosse organizations. 

The awards and honorees are:

Outstanding Contribution to the Game: U15 and Under
Liz Gould – Upper Nyack, New York

This award honors a US Lacrosse member who is a long-standing contributor to the youth game who has had a lasting impact by supporting the US Lacrosse mission and vision. Gould is the founder and administrator of Nyack Youth Lacrosse and has coached at every age level. Multiple nominations were submitted on her behalf. 
      One nominator wrote, “Coach Liz has taught my daughters how to trust in the process of learning the game, how to work hard as a team, how to encourage each other when things are going well, and most importantly to me, how to never give up.”
      Another said, “Coach Liz has created an unparalleled environment with her players that is not only representative of the culturally diverse background of our town, but one that is more like a lacrosse family than a team. She has transformed our community through lacrosse by wearing many hats and tirelessly devoting virtually all her free time to the sport she loves so dearly.”
Excellence in Growing the Game
Barrett Crane – Bothell, Washington 

This award is given to an individual who supports the US Lacrosse mission and vision while working effectively and tirelessly to develop lacrosse in a particular geographic area. There’s virtually no role that Crane hasn’t filled – president, coach, registrar, parent liaison – in service to the Everett Lacrosse Club and the Time Bandits Club. His leadership is based on his dedication to providing young athletes with opportunities to play lacrosse. 
      One nominator stated, “Our club, our league, and Northwest Washington would not have the lacrosse programs and opportunities we have today without Barrett Crane’s many years of work and support.”
Youth Coach of the Year 
This honor is given to outstanding men and women who embody the characteristics of an ideal coach by supporting the US Lacrosse mission and vision, dedicating themselves to players and providing the best possible lacrosse experience for everyone involved.
(Boys’ Coach) Myron Chivas – Navarre, Fla.
While his introduction to the game is relatively new, it was clear from the letters of recommendation that Chivas' impact on Navarre Youth Lacrosse has been immediate. His willingness to study and learn the game demonstrates his desire to share the mission and vision of US Lacrosse while serving as both a student and teacher. His commitment to serving as a role model is further evidence that he understands that coaching is about more than X's and O's.
      From one nominator, “He leads from the front in all that he does. I know that my son has learned from Myron that skin color has nothing to do with treating people with dignity, respect and kindness. Only your heart does.”
(Girls’ Coach co-winner) Emily Soller – Cincinnati, Ohio
(Girls’ Coach co-winner) Mary Riportella – Terrace Park, Ohio 

It was clear by the letters of recommendation that these co-coaches with Mariemont-Terrace Park Girls’ Youth Lacrosse had to be recognized as co-winners for jointly providing their athletes with an excellent lacrosse experience.

One of their nominators said, “I am nominating them not just because of their dedication to developing our girls’ youth program, but more by the way it is accomplished. It was wonderful to see two women step up to lead this effort in our community. They have always taught the girls ‘team’ over ‘individual’ and that it’s not about individual glory but playing as a team. The focus has been on the love of the sport and developing skills.”

Founders Circle 
Vince Grieco – Gibsonia, Pennsylvania

This award is given to someone who has founded a program, product, or idea that has staying power within the sport. This individual has a positive impact on the youth game and/or its constituents and thoroughly embraces the mission and vision of US Lacrosse. Grieco is founder and president of the Mars Youth Lacrosse Association. 
      One of his nominators wrote, “The most important contribution that Vince made was the creation of the organization’s values. Safety, sportsmanship, fun, learning, and success measured by effort and improvement. Winning is not at the expense of any of the other values. These core values have served as the basis of decision making of the board and are clear expectations for players, parents and coaches as a part of our code of conduct.”
One for All 
This award is given to young adults who have given unselfishly of their time and talent to help grow and build lacrosse awareness. He/she is typically a person who has volunteered time, while balancing a busy schedule, to mentor others and give back to the sport.
(Girls) Isabelle Sigersmith – Old Saybrook, Connecticut
Izzy has served as a youth coach with TICKS Lacrosse since 2017, typically committing 12 hours per week from April through June. One nomination stated, “Izzy truly is giving back to the game of lacrosse and her community with the time and effort she puts into promoting lacrosse and sharing her love of this great sport. Our club has been very lucky to have her on our coaching team for the past three years and we will sorely miss her when she leaves for college in the fall.”
(Boys) Thor Oase – Apple Valley, Minnesota
Thor has been a volunteer coach with the Valley Athletic Association and Apple Valley Field Lacrosse for eight years. He’s constantly motivated to make lacrosse a fun experience for younger players. One of his nominators said, “Along with his teaching skill he had the ability to keep players engaged. Thor was always coming up with and researching new drills and games to help kids better their skills while also allowing them to have fun.”
Program Administrator of the Year
John Gerard – Oakhurst, New Jersey 

This award is given to an outstanding administrator who runs a league or program of excellence that upholds the mission and vision of US Lacrosse. Gerard has served as president and a board member for Ocean Youth Lacrosse.
      One nominator said, “Through John’s leadership and tireless efforts, our program has become a strong and positive contributor to our community. John is an advocate for education of the game, highlights the importance of player and coach continuing education and the importance of providing an affordable program for all who wish to participate.”
      Another said, “He had the vision, leadership, and energy to update the culture of a decade old program to be developmentally appropriate and child centered. John personifies everything that is right and good about youth sports and does it with the purest intentions.”

US Lacrosse will begin accepting applications for the 2021 Youth Awards in January. For more information, please visit