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US Lacrosse Vets Give Back to the Game – Help German Team at World Games
The USA Lacrosse community is a tight-knit group. Almost anyone who has played or coached the game welcomes the opportunities to connect with the sport by helping raise the level of competition and encouraging young players to excel.
At this year’s World Lacrosse Championships in Great Britain, the German men’s team benefited significantly from several American lacrosse veterans with ancestral ties to the country. Their participation helped the team finish fifth. They also helped grow the game throughout Europe and Asia and helped foster lacrosse camaraderie among a new generation of players.
The German team was coached by Jack Kaley, who spent most of his life playing or coaching in New York. He played at Hofstra University from 1957 to 1960 and then coached at East Meadow High School on Long Island for 18 years. Cal spent 17 years at New York Institute of Technology until 2009, where he won four national championships and the best winning percentage among all Division I and II schools.
“At this point in my life, I’m America’s Von Steuben going to Germany,” Kaley said, referring to Baron von Steuben, a military officer from the German-dominated region of Prussia who came to America to help win the Revolutionary War. “Instead of coming here to fight for independence, I went there to help train lacrosse players and raise the bar for international competition.”
Lacrosse in Germany is still in its infancy. This year’s team consisted of players aged 19 to 34 years. They competed against some of the best players in the world in an expanding tournament that included 30 teams.
“Lacrosse is not only the fastest-growing sport in America,” Cali said, “it’s the fastest-growing in the world. This year, Hong Kong, Korea and Japan were new to the tournament.”
Long Island Lacrosse supports Germany
All support for the German team this year was connected to Hofstra. The assistant coach, Richie Donovan, was an assistant coach at Hofstra (1986-1995) and was the only member of the group without German roots. Chris Bergersen played at Hofstra (1993-1996).
A major financial supporter was James Metzger, who was an All-American at Half Hollow Hills East High School on Long Island and won the 1977 Ray Enners Award for Outstanding Lacrosse Player in Suffolk County.
Metzger played at Hofstra during the 1979 and 1980 seasons. He was named to the All-American Division 1 lacrosse team after his sophomore year in 1980. That season, Metzger set a second-high school scoring record of 4.9 points per game, which still stands. The record was also the second-highest points scored in a single game in Hofstra lacrosse history at the time, and it currently ranks as the fourth-best all-time at Hofstra.
With coaches volunteering their time, Metzger’s financial aid eased budget concerns. Metzger, along with others, is all about getting back into the game. As a successful entrepreneur at independent insurance brokerage Whitmore Group in New York, James Metzger’s financial gifts recently completed renovations to the Hofstra men’s lacrosse locker room and created a new lacrosse office suite for the program. He also funded a permanent exhibit celebrating the history of Hofstra’s men’s and women’s lacrosse programs, along with the school’s football program.
With a history of supporting the game he enjoyed at school, Metzger couldn’t refuse Cali’s request to help the German team. Kali told Metzger that his name was already common throughout Germany and that it appeared in all the cities (“Metzger” means “prosperity”). After hearing this, Metzger felt he was destined to help grow the game in a country where he could trace his paternal origins.
“Anyone who plays lacrosse as a young adult or young adult is told that once the game is over, they have to find a way to get back into the game,” Kali said. “Some of us can do this with our time as coaches. Others may not have the time because they have found success as business owners, doctors or other professions. But they can still help grow the game through their generosity. .”
The Germans are successful in the field
At the World Lacrosse Championship, the German team accepted an offer to compete at the top level to play in the top league. The opportunity arose when an experienced team, the American Iroquois team, ran into passport problems and never made it to Great Britain. Australia – and they did very well. They finished fifth.
“It was an opportunity of a lifetime for the German players,” Kali said. “Now, the German lacrosse family has the experience of competing at the highest level, and they have started preparing for the next tournament in 2014. Now that they have experience, they will work hard to develop and train physically and mentally to be more prepared for the next competition. .
Much of the current and future success of the German team depends on those who joined Cali this year.
“Metzger, Bergersen and Donovan all gave back to young players in the sport,” said Cali, “and these young players, when they succeed in their chosen fields, will remember their contributions and want to continue the tradition by helping the next generation. lacrosse players”.
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