In A Football Tournament Each Team Plays Exactly 19 Games US Lacrosse Vets Give Back to the Game – Help German Team at World Games

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US Lacrosse Vets Give Back to the Game – Help German Team at World Games

The US lacrosse community is a tight-knit group. Almost everyone who has played or coached the game welcomes opportunities to stay involved in the sport by helping to raise the level of competition and encouraging young players to excel.

At this year’s World Lacrosse Championship in Great Britain, the German men’s team benefited significantly from several American lacrosse veterans who have ancestral ties to that country. His participation helped the team achieve an exciting fifth place finish. They also fueled the growth of the game throughout Europe and Asia, and helped instill the camaraderie of lacrosse among a new generation of players.

The Germany team was managed by Jack Kaley, who spent a considerable part of his life playing or training in New York. He played at Hofstra University from 1957 to 1960, and then coached at Long Island’s East Meadow High School for 18 years. Kaley spent 17 years, until 2009, at the New York Institute of Technology, where he delivered four national championships and the best winning percentage among all Division I and II schools.

“At this stage of my life, I am America’s Von Steuben going to Germany,” Kaley said, referring to Baron Von Steuben, the military officer from the German-dominated area known as Prussia who came to the United States to help win the Revolutionary War. “Instead of coming here to fight a war for independence, I went there to help train lacrosse players and raise the bar in international competition.”

Lacrosse in Germany is still in its infancy. This year’s team consisted of players ages 19-34. They competed against some of the best players in the world as part of the ever-expanding tournament that fielded 30 teams.

“Lacrosse isn’t just the fastest growing game in America,” Kaley said, “it’s the fastest growing game in the world. This year, Hong Kong, Korea and Japan were new to the tournament.”

Long Island supports German lacrosse

All support for the German team this year was linked to Hofstra. Assistant coach Richie Donovan was an assistant coach at Hofstra (1986-1995) and the only member of the group without German roots. Chris Bergersen played with Hofstra (1993-1996).

The key financial backer was James Metzger, who earned All-America honors at Long Island’s Half Hollow Hills East High School, where he won the 1977 Ray Enners Award for Outstanding Suffolk County Lacrosse Player.

Metzger went on to play at Hofstra during the 1979 and 1980 seasons. He was named to the 1980 Division I All-American lacrosse team after his sophomore year. During that season, Metzger set a sophomore school record of 4.9 points per game that still stands. That record also ranked as the second-highest average points per game in Hofstra’s lacrosse history at the time, and currently ranks as Hofstra’s fourth-highest all-time.

As the coaches volunteered their time, Metzger’s financial assistance eased budget concerns. Metzger, along with the others, is all about giving back to the game. As the successful owner of the independent insurance brokerage firm Whitmore Group in New York, financial donations from James Metzger recently completed the renovation of Hofstra’s men’s lacrosse locker room and established a new lacrosse office 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 soccer program.

With a history of supporting the game that he enjoyed at school, Metzger couldn’t deny Kaley’s request for help for the German team. Kaley told Metzger that his name was already popular throughout Germany, appearing in every town (“Metzger” means “butcher”). Upon hearing this, Metzger felt that he was destined to help grow the game in the country where he could trace its paternal origins.

“Anyone who is involved in lacrosse as a youth or young adult is told that when you’re done playing, you have to find a way to give back to the game,” Kaley said. “Some of us can do this with our time as coaches. Others may not have the time as they have found success as business owners, doctors or in other professions. But you can still help the game grow through your generosity.” .

Successful Germans in the field

At the World Lacrosse Championship, the German team accepted the offer to move up the rankings to play in the highly competitive top division. The opportunity arose when a more experienced team, the Iroquois USA Native American team, ran into passport issues and never made it to the UK. The Germans accepted the offer to play against some of the best teams in the world – Canada, USA, Japan, England and Australia – and they did very well. They finished in fifth place.

“This was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the German players,” Kaley said. “Now the German lacrosse family has experience competing at the highest level and they have started their preparation for the next tournament in 2014. Now that they have the experience, they will work hard to develop and train to be more physically and mentally prepared for future competition.

Much of the current and future success of the German team is attributed to those who joined Kaley this year.

“Metzger, Bergersen and Donovan gave back to the young players of the game,” Kaley said, “and these young players, when they succeed in their chosen fields, will remember their contributions and want to carry on the tradition by helping the next generation.” of lacrosse players”.

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