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2016 Lincoln-Way Lacrosse Club youth season recap and what’s next!

 

Thank you!

I would like to thank all of the players and families for making the 2016 season great!  Thank you to all of our corporate sponsors!  I also want to thank all of our past & present volunteers because we couldn’t do any of this without them.  I also need to thank all of the families that have recently joined our email list for showing interest in our program, and we are looking forward to meeting you at the next off-season event and/or 2017 spring season! 

Apologies for the length of this letter, but I want everyone to know where we are at and where we are going.  There is a lot of info to share and hopefully answers to some questions that have come to me direct and through the season-end survey.

A Little History

Lincoln-Way Lacrosse Club (LWLC) formed a youth program in 2007 and added a high school program in 2009 to provide lacrosse opportunities for players residing in LWHS District 210 and surrounding communities.

Beginning with one youth team in 2007, we’ve expanded to seven youth teams and three high school teams in 2016.  We look forward to the growth of the youth program in 2017!

Youth Program.  What are we… Rec or Travel?

We are the feeder program to the LWHS Dist. 210 teams.  As previously stated, the youth program was formed in 2007 to provide lacrosse opportunities to players residing in LWHS District 210 and surrounding communities.  The formation of LWLC was necessary because at the time the demand for youth lacrosse in our area was not strong enough for any of the park districts to provide a successful opportunity.  Therefore, we are not currently affiliated with any of the park districts in the Lincoln-Way area.  Lacrosse is still so new to our area that it would be nearly impossible for each park district to form teams based on our registration data. The best way to describe LWLC is that we are a hybrid program.  We are similar to a travel team, since we attend one away tournament and we are not managed by any of the park districts.  We are similar to a rec program, since we do not have try-outs to cut players and we accept all youth registrants.  We do not have any paid positions, and the entire program is sustained by the efforts of volunteers!

Youth Q & A

Does the youth program accept players from outside the LWHS Dist. 210 area?  Yes.  We do not have the same residency restrictions as the HS program, and we welcome all players.

IBLA and why?  Our youth teams are registered in the IBLA (Illinois Boys Lacrosse Association) league because it is the best fit for our club near our area.  The IBLA hosts three levels of play (A, B & C Divisions) for U11 thru U15 and two levels of play (Gold & A) at U9.  They did not have a U7 division in 2016, but many IBLA teams worked together to provide games for these young players.  The IBLA has enough teams participating (+/-  25 communities or clubs) that they split the teams in to conferences, so that the away game travel is within reason.  The conferences were West, North West, and North.  We played in the West conference, and our teams played in the B & C divisions.  The IBLA provides a league director to manage issues, concerns, accountability, and consistency, a league board consisting of representatives from each organization, scheduling software, league website with standings, Positive Coaching Alliance Clinic for all coaches, officiating fees for 8 regular season games per team, all-star player game night, and play-off series.  The IBLA has continually provided access to the best competition for our youth teams.

USL and why not?  Another local program is the USL (United Southland League).  This program was founded and currently operated solely by the Orland Chiefs Lacrosse program.  All of the participating USL team’s registration fees are deposited into the Chiefs’ bank account to fund the Chiefs program, not the USL.  It is not clear why there are any registration fees at all, because the USL does not provide anything.  It is tough to describe the USL as a league because it does not provide a league director to manage issues, concerns, accountability and consistency, a league board consisting of representatives from each organization, scheduling software, league website, standings, Positive Coaching Alliance Clinic for all coaches, officiating fees, all-star player game night, or play-off series.  Since there are no play-offs, the Chiefs offer an optional end of year tournament for USL teams, and the tournament entry fee is an additional $500 per team.

We attempted to enter all of our teams in the USL this year in order to add more games to our IBLA schedule, but the USL founder would not meet our criteria and allow us to participate.  However, we were able to independently schedule games with the following USL teams: Tinley Park, Beverly, and St. Joan of Arc.  Participation in USL really is not required because it is similar to adding scrimmage games to the schedule, as there are no league standings or play-offs.  It is still possible they will allow us to participate in 2017.  The good news is most of the USL teams are willing to schedule additional games with us, and hopefully some of the USL teams will participate in the IBLA in the future!

When will 2017 Spring youth registration open?  We are looking at some time in October.

Will there be any off-season opportunities?  Yes!  We added a strength, speed & agility opportunity in August- November and indoor lacrosse opportunities in November- February.  We hope to host a girls only clinic in November or December.  We are currently working on all of the details.

Will there be any off-season youth tournament opportunities in the fall and winter of 2016/17?  Pending interest.

Will there be any off-season youth tournament opportunities in the summer of 2017?  Pending interest.

Will there be a youth girls division in 2017 at LWLC?  We are optimistic, because our recent survey has shown a lot of interest!

Will there be a boys U7 team?  We are going to open a registration for K- 1st grade players!  We also hope to field (3) U9 teams (2nd & 3rd grade), so please keep spreading the word about lacrosse.

Growth and youth coaching?  We will continue to promote LWLC via yard signs, virtual backpack, Facebook, flyers, local news articles, local youth sports organizations, etc.  We anticipate continued growth and are currently discussing ways to manage the growth of lacrosse at LWLC.  We are very fortunate to have our volunteer coaches.  They do a great job for us, they are always willing to go the extra mile for our players, and they take advantage of every opportunity to better themselves as coaches.  Discussions on what we can provide our youth coaches to better themselves and our players are currently ongoing.  Establishing a solid youth coaching base that can handle the growth of LWLC and constantly challenge our players to be better is high priority.  I am extremely thankful for all of the assistance from alumni youth coaches (dads who have coached at the youth level and their sons are now playing in HS).

How will the teams be selected in 2017?  The guidelines we used in 2016 were very successful, but we know that every year may not be as seamless.

Will you be able to use last year’s uniforms in 2017?  Yes.  The plan is to update the youth uniforms every 3 years to keep LWLC looking fresh, so they will change in 2018.

Will we attend the same spring tournaments?  We will be returning to the Washington tournament, and we are keeping our options open for the local tournament.

Volunteering?  This season’s volunteer assignment system was very successful in managing game day duties, and we plan on following the same format in 2017.  Our home games proved to be the best venue in the entire league!  Please let us know if you would like to lend a hand!

How did our boys youth teams finish this year?  See below!

U15 Black

  • Overall season record 13-7
  • IBLA conference record 8-0
  • Finished runner-up in the IBLA Gold B Division

U13 Black

  • Overall season record 14-6
  • IBLA overall record 7-1
  • Finished runner-up in the IBLA Gold B Division
  • Finished runner-up in the A division at the Washington Invitational Tournament

U13 Green

  • Overall season record 12-10
  • IBLA overall record 3-5
  • Finished final 4 in the IBLA B Bronze Division
  • B Division Champions at the Washington Invitational Tournament

U11 Black

  • Overall season record 14-9
  • IBLA overall record 4-4
  • Finished runner-up in the IBLA Silver B Division
  • Finished runner-up in the A division at the Washington Invitational Tournament

U11 Green

  • Overall season record 10-10
  • IBLA overall record 6-2

U9 Black

  • Overall season record 11-11
  • IBLA overall record 3-4
  • Finished in the final 4 of the IBLA Silver Division
  • Finished runner-up in the A division at the Washington Invitational Tournament

U9 Green

  • Overall season record 8-14
  • IBLA overall record 2-6
  • Finished in the final 4 of the IBLA Silver Division

 

Great job to all of our youth teams this season! 

Spring 2016 was a fun and successful season and I don’t like to put emphasis on the season standings, but our players should really be proud of how well they competed this year!  We are already preparing for the 2017 spring season, so enjoy the break, but make sure you are putting the work in on your own in the off season and come back smarter, faster and stronger!