Happy New Year everyone! Wishing all the best to all of you in 2014.
We have now officially entered the fifth year of our program, and the stakes are even higher than before. With the 2014 World Lacrosse Championship in Denver around the corner, a lot of preparation is underway not only for the tournament but for the TLA organization as a whole. Here is what I have going for TLA (and lacrosse in Asia) thus far:
I am excited to name LAS’s own Connor Wilson as the Men’s Team’s General Manager for Denver 2014. He’s been a friend, and supporter of our program since 2011. Connor have been slaving away the last few months, helping with logistical planning, negotiating, and even the search for coaching staffs.
Speaking of that, I am pleased to bring Dylan Sheridan of Denver University on board as the head coach for the men’s team. This has been an extremely tough choice for Connor and I, as there were so many strong candidates for the position. However, in the end Dylan fits what we are looking for for the team, and certainly he is the right man for the job.
Since his appointment, Dylan has been working closely with CW and me to fill in the rest of the positions on the coaching staff, who all will be contributing in their own way to bring a complete package for our team. A full official announcement of the coaches, with statements in their own words, is to follow.
We are close on the final 25 for Denver, and I am pleased that 1/3 of that are the original members date as far back as 2010. On top of that the 2/3 of that roster has been with our program for at least two years, and that our roster is not made up of mercenary players that only showing up a year before the World Game. Many new faces who were chosen not just for their talent based on their dedication to the program, on and off the field.
Our team at ASPAC 2013 was probably the best roster we had in the four years since the program began. The ages ranges from 17 all the way to 37 – it’s a big gap but I strongly feel we have chosen the right group of individuals who will unite together to represent Thailand in Denver. I will make the announcement for the final roster for Denver in the coming months.
On the development front, in Bangkok we began the work in the youth and college level toward the end of 2013. Both programs are coming along nicely as we have focus on a single school and university for each level. Being able to work closely with both institutions, as well as having internal people on the ground continuing the work each week – even without TLA personnel conducting clinics – is key. These two developmental programs will be the model which we will use to expand the sport into other schools in 2014. Chula University program will be playing its first game in February against the National team, as part of the showcase for the university students and faculty.
As for the development in the surrounding area, with the help of Singapore Lacrosse, Malaysia is coming along nicely. Former SLA players moving to Malaysia helped plant the seed on the ground there, with TLA supporting with equipment. New to our region is the emerging of lacrosse development in Taiwan (Chinese Taipei), and we have working closely with the people there as well as our own player living there. I am looking forward to host them in the first ever Enigma Cup in March, along side Singapore and Malaysia. The Enigma Cup will act as warm up games to get ready ahead of Denver 2014 in July, which should be another milestone in lacrosse development in Asia.
There is a lot in the pipeline for 2014, and the climax of the year will be the World Games in Denver. And that only got us to half the year, with many more events planned (including the Singha Battles in Bangkok 2014) – I can’t help but be excited about this year!
So bring on 2014…