It's no secret that lacrosse has reached an explosive era in terms of growth. In 2014, lacrosse had become the fastest growing sport in North America all while 38 nations competed in the 2014 Mens World Championship in Denver.
Fast-forward to 2016 and that explosive growth is becoming more deeply entrenched into these nations. Beyond the respective, local, expat representation (commonly reflected in the men's national teams) has emerged grassroot infrastructures bringing lacrosse to the youth level. This youth development is arguably the best measure of lacrosse's international growth.
In the 2016 U19 Mens World Lacrosse Championship, the FIL had hosted a record high of 14 teams, which included a remarkable count of 6 teams making their debut. Among those 6 was Team China, a team we had the pleasure of supplying custom team socks to.
Lacrosse is breaking into the mainstream of Western culture, not just in North-America but also increasingly in Europe. Asian lacrosse is just coming out of incubation. I suppose this is what was most remarkable about their presence at the U19 World Championship this year.
In less than a decade, expats have developed an infrastructure amongst Chinese youths, which has increased in traction. One of those expats is Mike Elefante who has been beyond instrumental in developing the sport within the communities of Shanghai (Read more at CNN's "Shanghai Lacrosse Takes the Field). Other key individuals include Ziyan Zeng, Edwin Yu, Gordon Muldoon, Barton Wheeler, and Raymond Pan who were especially vital in volunteering their time and knowledge in bringing this inaugural U19 team together. It's inspiring to see that the work of these expats is proving to be so impactful.
"Most of us here have been involved with China Lacrosse for a long time and these past two weeks has held a lot of significance, we became a full member nation in the FIL and we really grew as a federation. Seeing this team grow and emerge from a bunch of guys who were happy to take part, to a team wanting to take over games was something unforgettable. Moreover, the support of the families, parents, fans and our sponsors East Coast Dyes and Vision Wear, was also very gratifying. We are proud of the performance of all of our players, staff and coaches and can not wait for Manchester in 2018. — Edwin Yu, Head Coach of Team China
To the surprise of many spectators, China lacrosse came to the games with an impressive arsenal. I mean, these kids could ball. Don't believe me? Check out the highlights, sights and sounds video we put together.
The boys finished the tournament in 9th place, finishing with 5 wins in 7 games. Beyond that, China Lacrosse has been recognized as a full member nation to the Federation of International Lacrosse (the international lacrosse governing body). It's safe to say that the China lacrosse development has achieved wondrous feats this past championship, and is on a strong path to future success — we can't wait to see what they become!
Vision Wear is a proud supporter of China Lacrosse.
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Vision Lacrosse collabs with Hong Kong's 852 Lax brand.