Coaches Clinic to help U.S. Under-19 Lacrosse team

By Mark Kitchin

Tim Flynn has never been afraid to share information. The Mountain Lakes High School boys lacrosse coach has found that in most instances, he has always received more than he has given. On Saturday, November 12, Flynn, the current Under-19 U.S. National Team men’s lacrosse coach, will be sharing some of his knowledge once again for a cause he believes in.

Flynn, Summit coach Jim Davidson and many of their friends are giving a clinic for youth and high school coaches at GoodSports in Wall, N.J. as a fundraiser for the National Team. The money will help the Under-19 squad travel and compete in the ILF World Championships being held in Turku,Finland next July.

 “Every little bit helps,’’ Flynn said. “I think the money goes into a pool and we meter it out as we go. It goes for food, transportation, getting around. It’s pretty important.’’

The Under-19s have tough standards to keep on the field. They have captured the gold medal in all six of the past ILF World Championships (1988, 1992, 1996, 1999, 2003 and 2008). Flynn wants to keep that winning streak intact.

 The contending team was chosen last year after a grueling tryout period. Flynn is thrilled about the players that he and his assistant coaches have chosen. He believes they possess distinct qualities that will get them through even the most difficult opponents.

“I am very, very excited,’’ Flynn said. “We have a tremendous group of kids. They were very tough on ground balls, really good hustling players. There was a lot of toughness. The kids rose up and they were able to distinguish themselves over the grueling five days in the heat of Baltimore. It takes a certain level of player to accomplish that.’’

The 23 players are from all across the nation and reflect the growth of the sport outside the traditional east coast hotbeds of Baltimore and Long Island.

“We picked the 23 kids we thought were the best,’’ Flynn said. “We didn’t even see where some of the kids were from. Then we were like – wow! This kid is from Colorado and this kid is from California. It became geographical.’’

It is hoped that at least one if not all three players from New Jersey that were selected for the team will be able to attend next month’s clinic. Immaculata’s Ralph D’Agostino, Bridgewater-Raritan’s Tyler Barbarich and St.Augustine Prep’s Steven Pontrillo all distinguished themselves during the tryouts.

“Tyler was great at faceoffs and going onto the attack,’’ Flynn said. “Ralph was relentless on guys and really fought for ground balls. Pontrillo had a great surge. He was in the middle of the pack and when others wore down he stepped up. It’s a game a day and you go from day, to day, to day.’’

Flynn believes they all have that element of toughness that ultimately wins the day.

“You play to win from the start,’’ Flynn said. “You look for the 23 guys that will battle hard.’’

 At the coaches clinic Flynn, who has the most varsity victories of any New Jerseyhigh school boys lacrosse coach, will answer questions about the national team. He will also lecture about a subject he likes the best – the transition game for both offense and defense. His drills will be exhibited with help from the members of the Brookdale Community College men’s lacrosse team, which is coached by Steve Heller.

 “I’m always looking for new drills that will put the kids in tight situations,’’ Flynn said.

There will be some half-field and full-field drills. There will also be talks and demonstrations on faceoffs and goalie play.

 Four-time All-American and current ESPN analyst Matt Danowski and Reid Jackson, a former Rutgers player and U.S. National team captain, will talk about the honor of playing for your country and of playing lacrosse on an international level.

 In the clinic portion of the program, Davidson, whose Summit team just had the state’s longest winning streak for lacrosse come to an end, will give tips on running an efficient practice.

New Jersey Lacrosse Hall of Famer and veteran official Tom Carr will go into rules interpretations for the coaches.

They will also be raffling lacrosse equipment during the six-hour event from chapter sponsors Warrior, BoatHouse Apparel, Power-Tek and Universal Lacrosse.  B&B Trophy, Massive Playbook and the New Jersey Sports Center for Concussion are also sponsoring the event.

The clinic, which is being held in South Jersey for the second consecutive year,  is expected to build on last year’s success and it is all for a good cause.

“In our inaugural attempt 130 coaches came,’’ South Jersey Chapter President Dale Oehler said. “It’s a great time of year to do it. People learned a lot. Tim and Jim presented it and they enjoyed it.’’

Oehler is hoping for an even greater turnout this year to help the U.S. team meet its financial needs for next summer’s tournament.

“It’s a great cause and it’s a lot of fun,’’ Oehler said. “It’s a good chance to pick up some things. Coaches can rub elbows with other coaches. There’s a lot of networking going on.’’

There is a $40 fee to attend the clinic and additional donations for the U.S. team are appreciated. Although walk ups are allowed, coaches attending the event are encouraged to register online at www.njsouthlacrosse.org. Live registration for the event starts at 8 a.m. at GoodSports. Directions for the event can be found at http://www.goodsportsusa.com.

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About mcvbb

Mark Kitchin is a boys varsity basketball writer for the Morris County New Jersey area

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