Box lacrosse is growing in Europe, and Sean Gibson is committed to keeping the growth curve on a steady upward trajectory. Gibson will have a chance to have an even greater impact on that growth than he already has, now that the European Lacrosse Federation (ELF) has named him its Indoor Lacrosse Coordinator. Gibson, who has spent the past eight years building Irish indoor lacrosse (for whose national team he competed at the 2007 and 2011 World Championships, will now try to help countries around Europe to build bigger bases of grassroots players, elite players, coaches and referees.
A big part of his role, Gibson says, will be to create a communication system that will help to share information about the game throughout Europe and to bring together the lacrosse minds already there to help draw others to the game and develop those playing, coaching and officiating it.
The position is a new one and its parameters and objectives are still being discussed, but Gibson understands what it takes to grow the game in a country. Irish lacrosse was a very limited beast when he began working to grow it almost a decade ago. The fact that Ireland has brought former NLL and current CLax coach Jeff Dowling to coach a national team that attended the past two worlds displays just how far the game has come on the Emerald Isle. The development is largely attributable to the work done by Gibson and a handful of other builders.
Now, he hopes to see things take off in a number of countries the way they have been in Germany and the Czech Republic. Gibson envisions tournaments from the club level up to the European Championships he expects to become a staple of the international lacrosse scene. The European Lacrosse League, now a few years old and growing steadily, is a good step in that direction, he says.
He’d also love to see more teams heading to the worlds to make that tournament bigger and more broadly competitive. For the 2015 tournament in Buffalo, Gibson runs off a list of countries that he thinks will be taking part. It includes relative neophytes like Finland, Turkey and Slovakia.
Being responsible for helping develop the game in all of those countries and more is a big challenge, but Gibson is a man of boundless enthusiasm and passion for lacrosse. He sees it from a very positive perspective. “It’s a huge opportunity. It’s quite humbling in its own right,” he says. “But I’m very excited and I think it’s a step in the right direction. Definitely more lacrosse in Europe is better. I’m very much looking forward to the opportunity of driving this for the next while and see where it goes.”Stamp is a TV sports announcer and lacrosse lover whose skill set made him a defender but who always dreamed of being a goal-scorer. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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