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Coach El and the power

of community lacrosse BY PAUL KROME

Residents of the

Northern Virginia town of McLean may never point to their political neighbors across the Potomac River in Washington, D.C., as examples of people who do things the right way. But when the subject turns to lacrosse, they’re quick to recognize, with pride, a coach that does just that.

That coach is Eleanor Gollob, a former eight-year commissioner of McLean Youth Lacrosse girls’ program and the founder of the Pride travel program. “Coach El,” as she’s known to the 400-plus girls playing in McLean this season, was honored last

year as the namesake of a community fundraising effort in support of the National Campaign for Lacrosse. Support from McLean families resulted in some 22 bricks inscribed to Coach El in the Henry A. Rosenberg Jr. Promenade at US Lacrosse headquarters in Sparks, Md. Gollob’s coaching and leadership have infl uenced many since she and her husband, David, moved to McLean in 1998. “We try to stay laser focused on

Former McLean (Va.) Youth Lacrosse commissioner keeps fun and player

development in mind even with her Pride travel team.

the whole child and her development,” said Gollob, a former lacrosse and ice hockey standout at Princeton. “You have to know the name of every child in your program, and you make it a high priority to make each child feel special.” As participation in McLean

grew, demand for a higher level of competition increased. Gollob founded what ultimately became the Pride travel club in 2013. “She’s tireless in her devotion to kids,” said Bill Senich, who replaced Gollob as the girls’ lacrosse commissioner of McLean Youth Lacrosse. “Her passion is for player development.”


Pride teams compete mostly in the fall and summer months, and all players are encouraged to participate in multiple sports and play in their town program in the spring. “Playing multiple sports helped me to avoid burnout and to become a smarter, stronger and better overall athlete,” Gollob said.

Gollob also mixes in a healthy amount of fun.

“The parents might say she’s bigger than life, loud on fi eld with energy, excitement and fun,” David Gollob said. “The girls love being competitive and they’ve had success, but they also have water balloon tosses at Friday practices.”

Gollob has been part of a volunteer group of youth coaches that has contributed to concepts in the Lacrosse Athlete Development Model. “That’s what I love about El’s program,” Nancy Senich said. “It is highly competitive, but it’s also compassionate. It fosters confi dence and maturity in these young women, and it’s been a good bedrock for them as they go into the middle school and high school transition.” That’s what makes Coach El a keystone, not only on a promenade at a stadium, but for the sport as a whole. USL


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