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US LACROSSE MIDWEST REGION


‘WHAT SPORT IS THAT?’


Soft Stick Grant sparks lacrosse movement in Decatur, Ill. BY MATT HAMILTON


The lacrosse movement in Decatur, Ill. started in the summer of 2015. Tony


Albertina, the assistant manager at Decatur Indoor Sports Center, and the rest of the Decatur Parks & Rec staff wanted to fi nd a new sport to introduce to youth in the town of over 70,000 just three hours from Chicago. Ideas were thrown around, but lacrosse prevailed. The only pitfall was that


Albertina, and most of his staff, had no clue about the game, much less how to build a local program from the ground up. But Albertina had done his research, and decided to spearhead the effort. “One of the main reasons we decided to pursue lacrosse was, looking at rec stats, it’s the fastest growing sport in America,” he said. “We just had to learn the sport and become experts.” The job was a tough one, but Albertina has led a two-year effort to introduce lacrosse to the Decatur community. With the help of a US Lacrosse Soft Stick Grant, Albertina has reached thousands of students in the area. Through working with local college club teams and presenting at physical education classes, Decatur is seeing increasing turnouts at clinics and has enough interest to garner year-round lacrosse. Albertina may still be learning the game, but he now has a qualifi ed staff around him to help the sport grow in Decatur. “We had to teach them everything,” Albertina said. “How to scoop, how to


My USL Rep Kristy Visich Midwest


Visich, of Woodbury, Minn., joined US Lacrosse full-time in October 2016, after previously serving in a volunteer capacity as president and secretary of the Minnesota Chapter. She is a US Lacrosse Level 2-certifi ed assistant boys’ lacrosse coach at Hill-Murray School (Minn.). Visich represents the constituents of nine US Lacrosse chapters and 11 states in the Midwest.


How can US Lacrosse help grow the sport in your area? Contact Kristy at kvisich@uslacrosse.org or 410-235-6882, extension 189.


PICTURE THIS START ‘EM YOUNG


In Minnesota, once babies learn to walk, they put them in skates. Now they’re learning to cradle fi rst.


32 US LACROSSE MAGAZINE May/June 2017 USlacrosse.org

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