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Lake Forest Lacrosse Association Looks to Increase Participation

Geared to reach youth players before high school.

 

Of the 26 freshmen out for boys’ lacrosse this spring at , less than half had ever played the sport before.

Gary Plaster hopes to change that.

The Lake Forest resident, whose two children play lacrosse, helped start the Lake Forest Lacrosse Association (LFLA) last year for players from 6 to 14 years old.

“Lacrosse in the fastest growing sport in the country,” Plaster said, citing the National Federation of State High School Association. “But with the growth and numbers, the infrastructure has not kept up.”

LFLA grew out of parents who wanted to offer their sons the chance to play lacrosse at a more competitive level than was being offered by the

“There is a role for the park district lacrosse program,” Plaster said. “The kids who are more serious about the sport gravitate toward us.”

That led to the formation of the 8th Grade Select Team, which is among the top teams in Illinois, Plaster said, and has been invited to the Best of Midwest Tournament, May 5-6, in Grand Rapids, Mich.

There are plans to form more age-group teams and expand to girls as well, Plaster said.

“Our vision is to become one of the premiere organizations in the Midwest,” Plaster said, noting LFLA is patterning itself after East Coast associations in Maryland and Long Island.

Also as part of its mission, Plaster said the players are required to perform community service hours working with surrounding communities that haven’t created a lacrosse program. Their efforts are part of the Bridge program conducted by U.S. Lacrosse, which began in 2003 to bring the sport to disadvantaged communities. Currently, 14 affiliates across nine state and District of Columbia participate in the Bridge program, according to U.S. Lacrosse.

“We want our kids helping their kids,” Plaster said.

Plaster said LFLA will be working with kids in Waukegan, which is where the organization plays its home games at Waukegan SportsPark.

LFLA’s coaching staff is void of parents, and involves both Lake Forest High School and lacrosse coaches – Bob Degan, head coach at LFA, and Todd Morgan, assistant coach at LFHS.

They will be part of an eight-person coaching staff running a pair of Lacrosse Skills Clinics set to start in April and run into May. The first, for ages 6 to 10, runs on five Mondays starting April 9. The second, for ages 10 to 14, runs on five Thursdays starting April 26. Both will be held at

The fee is $60 for the five sessions. (See the attached PDF).

To register, visit the LFLA website, or e-mail: Lakeforestlacrosseassociation@gmail.com

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