The sport of lacrosse is growing rapidly nationwide, and Arizona is no exception.
It is in this spirit of growth and evolution that we are pleased to announce the merger of the Scottsdale Swag Lacrosse Club and the Scottsdale Lacrosse Club, as voted on by the leadership of both organizations.
The new club will compete as the Scottsdale United Lacrosse Club, beginning with the coming 2015 season.
WHY MERGE THE TWO TEAMS?
Coach Austin Gray serves as the head coach of Chaparral’s high school lacrosse program. Coach Doug Lipka heads up Notre Dame Prep’s lacrosse program. Both of these growing obligations overlap directly with the Swag and SLC seasons.
As a result, neither coach felt like they could devote the time needed to effectively grow, lead and coach their own independent lacrosse organizations during the high school season.
Merging the two organizations now gives the combined Scottsdale United Lacrosse Club the critical mass, strength, leadership, coaching and pipeline of talent to ensure the future success of the club.
THE NEW SCOTTSDALE UNITED
The combined club expects to field the following teams at a minimum in 2015, based solely on the number of potential returning players from last year’s clubs:
1 U4 team
1-2 U6 teams
3-4 middle school teams
The number of middle school teams to be fielded and the divisions they compete in will be determined based on:
The competition levels of the teams in the combined league
Volume of player interest and overall team skill level
Where multiple United teams will compete in the same division (likely U6 and Jr. High) the composition of each team will be determined through a player evaluation and draft, consistent with “house” leagues in most other sports.
The goal of this draft is to ensure that each United team is:
Balanced with other United clubs in the same age group/division
Able to compete at a high level with other non-United clubs in the same age group/division
THE UNITED COACHING STAFF
Coach Doug Lipka and Coach Austin Gray will take on new roles in Scottsdale United as Directors of Lacrosse Operations.
In order to allow Doug and Austin to fulfill their responsibilities to their high school programs and youth clinics, neither Doug nor Austin will be directly coaching any Scottsdale United teams in the 2015 season.
Instead, they will be focused on selecting and overseeing the coaching staffs and practices, as well as creating age-specific lacrosse skill development models and practice plans that deliver the right training in the right manner at the right age for all United teams.
The rest of the United coaching staff will be determined based on:
The total number of United teams for 2015
A review of the overall performance of the coaches, based on last year’s season
The availability of the coaches for the coming season
United staff and directors will make every attempt to retain Swag and SLC coaches that:
Performed their duties with professionalism
Were highly regarded by parents, staff and players
Represented the club well in their behavior in practices and games
Are available to commit to coaching again in 2015, based on job and personal obligations.
CLUB GOVERNANCE & CORPORATE STRUCTURE
From a governance and process perspective, SLC has many best practices already in place relative to the younger Swag organization, including:
A formal Board of Directors
Preferential field status with the City of Scottsdale
For this reason, the Swag board will be merged into the existing SLC board to take advantage of SLC’s mature governance model.
The combined board will be comprised of representatives from each team and age group to ensure that United moves forward with input from both organizations during this merger year.
This board will review best practices from each club to ensure that United players and families receive the best possible experience on and off the field this season.
The new Scottsdale United Lacrosse Club intends to file for non-profit corporation status – also known as a 501(c)3 status – to allow the club to receive individual and corporate donations beginning with the 2015 season.
The club leadership is in the process of developing the club’s new branding, website etc. in preparation for the traditional October-November kickoff and registration.
As soon as those elements are completed, we will let you know as quickly as possible.
Scottsdale United also intends to have a fall development camp two Saturdays in October to bring players from the two clubs together for the first time. This camp is encouraged but entirely optional. More details will be announced as they are formalized.
I’m sure you have additional questions, but at this point the information above is all that has been finalized to this point. Both Doug and Austin are out of town and unavailable until after Labor Day, and we expect to have more information out shortly afterward as well.
The new Scottsdale United Lacrosse Club combines some of the top lacrosse talent in the state under one organization, ready to deliver a first-class lacrosse experience to every player, parent, volunteer and coach. We hope you’re as excited about this coming season we are.
UNITED WE RISE!
- The 2014-2015 Scottsdale United Board of Directors
Please join us in congratulating the following 8th Grade players who were nominated and voted in as All-Stars for the annual Cactus Cup 8th Grade All Star Game on Saturday at the conclusion of the Cactus Cup Tournament. In additon to the player selections our very own coach Austin Gray was nominated and voted in as one of the two All Star Head Coaches.
I like well-behaved parents, because I have been around a lot of ill-behaved ones.
In nearly every youth game that I have officiated there has been at least one—and usually more—fans screaming instructions to their player or entire team from the sideline. Often, it is incredibly poor advice. These are the same individuals who yell when their son or daughter is taken off the field, openly criticize the officials, and generally know next to nothing about how lacrosse is played.
I believe that there would be no problems on the sideline if fans approached the game with the goal of contributing to a positive sporting atmosphere. Unfortunately, there tends to be a minority of people that willfully ignore that idea, all the while believing that their yelling is somehow helping their team.
Here’s a hint: You aren’t helping.
Take, for example, the parent that yells “shoot!” when a player is twenty yards away from the goal. It accomplishes nothing more than getting the player amped up to take a shot.
My personal favorite is when the head coach is yelling “hold the ball” and all the parents are yelling “shoot!” More often than not, the player will listen to the voice of their mother or father and take an ill-advised shot. Meanwhile, their coach has his head buried in his hands, wondering if there is enough duct tape to put over the mouths of his team’s fans.
Keep this in mind: Your player recognizes your voice whenever you yell something during the game. I played in some very competitive high school games, and my father attended many of them. I could always recognize his voice from the stands.
The kicker is, he never said anything more than “Go, Gordon!” A coach with more than thirty years of experience in lacrosse, and not once did he give me advice from the sideline. He knew his role was to root for me when I did well and encourage me when things turned rough.
I was never embarrassed by my father’s comments from the sidelines. However, I have on numerous occasions been embarrassed for some of my teammates and players whose parents who thought their role was to assist the coaches from the stands.
So how do you yell when watching from the sideline? The easiest way to do this is to limit yourself to a few general phrases:
“Go, (insert player name here)!”
“Keep playing hard!”
If you limit yourself to general statements about your player and your team, you don’t run afoul of the coach trying to do his job of running the offense or defense. Also, you can never get into the problem of giving bad advice to your player at a critical moment during a game. Plus, all of those phrases are extremely positive.
Avoid yelling anything negative. Here are a few negative comments I have heard during games over the years:
“Put him in a body bag!” Heard this during a U11 game and was stunned speechless.
“Destroy him!” Would you want that yelled at your child?
“Wake up!” Accomplishes nothing more that getting the player nervous.
“That was the worst call I’ve ever seen!” Makes the head coach’s job more difficult and sets a bad example for all the players.
Lacrosse is an emotional game. I don’t expect parents and fans to be robots on the sidelines. I want people to get into the flow of the game and feel the excitement that is inherent in competitive sports.
What I don’t want is for a kid to get discouraged while playing lacrosse because someone feels it is necessary to share their opinion with everyone at the game. Enjoy the game in a positive manner or stay silent.
Remember to honor the game with your actions anytime your team steps onto the field.
Gordon is a born lacrosse official who played for ten years before realizing he'd much rather ref the game than play it. He lives in Atlanta and officiates youth, high school, and collegiate men's lacrosse games all over the southeast. His passion is educating and training officials, coaches, players, parents and all other fans on the rules of lacrosse, the sport’s history, and how best to develop lacrosse in new areas. Contact Gordon at