Competition at the international level for all five of our national team programs has risen exponentially over the past several Federation of International Lacrosse world championship cycles. The margins of victory for the 2016 U.S. Men’s U19 and 2018 U.S. Men’s Senior Teams were razor thin and we placed second in the last Women’s U19 event. The process regarding selection of the players and staffs requires ongoing evaluation and review.

Consequently, this process requires "listening" to players and staff who have been a part of past national teams. In fact, we survey every player, coach and staff member following every FIL World Championship in an effort to improve the experience and our program.

There are several components of the process that are essential. First, all selection processes for players, coaches and support staff need to be transparent and open to all interested and qualified. Within the current process, the US Lacrosse High Performance Committee (HPC), with input from the Director of National Teams and High Performance, establishes the Coach Selection Subcommittee (CSS) at the start of the competition cycle for each of five U.S. Teams: Men’s Senior and U19, Women’s Senior and U19 and Men’s Indoor. The HPC and CSS are comprised of past U.S. National Teams players, coaches and staff along with three US Lacrosse staff members.

The High Performance Committee is comprised of five men and women, all former U.S. national team players and coaches. During women’s team selection cycles, the following committee is revised by interchanging past women’s coach, player, team manager, IWLCA representative and women’s U19 head coach.

The Men’s CSS is comprised of:

1. Men’s High Performance Committee Chair (CSS Co-Chair)

2. Women’s High Performance Committee Chair (CSS Co-Chair)

3. Past U.S. Men’s National Team Coach

4. Past U.S. Men’s National Team Player

5. Past U.S. Men’s National Team Manager

6. Professional League representative nominated by the HPC Chair

7. College Coach representative nominated by the HPC Chair

8. U.S. Lacrosse President/CEO

9. U.S. Lacrosse Vice President of Lacrosse Operations

10. U.S. Lacrosse Director of National Teams and High Performance 

11. Past U.S. Men’s National Under-19 Team Head Coach (in a U19 year ONLY)

The CSS issues recommendations which must be endorsed by the HPC and approved by the US Lacrosse Board of Directors Executive Committee.  Additionally, the National Teams Athletes Advisory Subcommittee (NTAAS) will facilitate input and direction from current and past U.S. team players.

Committee members involved in the vetting and selection of the players and staff need to be of impeccable character and integrity. In the recent press releases disclosing the staff members of the 2020 Men’s U19 and 2022 Men’s Senior Teams, the members of the CSS were identified.

Discussions about philosophy and direction of the program need to be discussed at all levels and with all entities involved in the process. These discussions are frequent and comprehensive and explore any and all considerations of the effects that any decision will have on the national team program.

It’s understandable that given the opportunities afforded players, coaches and staff who are selected to represent the United States, it’s a deeply sensitive subject for those who are not selected. It’s also understandable that there will be those who question the selection process as everyone has their favorites and their biases. Fair enough.

The application process for all national teams is released via traditional media outlets and social media channels. In the most recent process, there were over 75 applications for a total of 12 coaching and staff positions for the Men’s U19 and Men’s Senior Team. As one would expect, there were a number of incredibly talented and qualified candidates. The discussions are open, thorough and reasoned. There’s no possibility of making everybody in the process, or outside of the process for that matter, happy.

The hope is that this explanation will serve to alleviate concerns about the process and clear up any misconceptions. While differences of opinion are the essence of great discussion and positive change if they are open, honest and devoid of emotion (to the extent that it’s possible!), then hopefully misconceptions and ill-conceived perceptions can be better understood.

US Lacrosse is committed to a selection process of the highest integrity and will continue to evaluate and revise our processes to achieve that goal. We’re open to comments, feedback and suggestions. That’s how things improve.

In the meantime, let’s all get behind the men and women who proudly and competently represent our sport and our United States National Teams!

Skip Lichtfuss

Director, National Teams and High Performance
US Lacrosse