Four years ago, an influx of CÉGÉP lacrosse players enrolled at Concordia University and were surprised to find that no lacrosse team was established at the institution. Since then, a Concordia Lacrosse team was established and they have since been accepted into the CUFLA (Canadian University Field Lacrosse Association). And now their goal is to become a playoff-bound team.
The club came into existence when former head coach, Chad Fairfoull and current head coach Mike Taddeo, took the initiative and brought the idea of a lacrosse team to the Concordia Recreation and Athletics Department. The department was very helpful in making this dream become a reality, offering the club team the use of any leftover field availability to set up practices and exhibition games. After completing all the necessary administrative work, the final piece was to assemble a roster.
Word of mouth alone was successful enough to bring together a passionate group of students to form the founding roster. However, now that many of the original roster have graduated the issue now is maintaining enough of a presence to keep players coming back.
“The biggest challenge is to find players,” said Taddeo, who feels that the biggest concern going forward is not the development but the recruitment of players. The assumption, of course, being that word of mouth can only do so much to create a culture for the sport within the student body.
Taddeo, who is heavily involved in Quebec lacrosse, is noticing that children are starting to play lacrosse at a younger age.
“Kids are switching at a much younger age, even dropping sports like soccer to play [lacrosse],” he said.
Perhaps the recent growth in popularity for the sport in mainstream media is also in play. A greater number of casual sports fans are hearing of the sport from major broadcasters such as TSN and ESPN in the United States. Either way it is attracting younger players to participate and discover a passion.
The road into CUFLA is not a short one. To become a member, it is required by league standards for every club to undergo two full seasons of exhibition matches before being eligible for a position in the league. In 2011, the club’s second year, the team took home the championship in the exhibition league, solidifying their place within the top ranked league.
“We saw the level we need to be at and we’re slowly working towards that,” said Taddeo.
Last year, their first year as CUFLA members, Concordia faced a major learning curve when they finished at the bottom of the league, which taught them many lessons from the teams they faced and how they need to approach this upcoming season.
McGill University, Concordia’s cross-city rival and now the defending champion, was once in the same position as Concordia.
“They’ve been in the league six or seven years now and they play a lot of games and [practice a lot as well],” said Taddeo, who believes that playing time is the area where Concordia can look to improve the most, as limited field availability makes that a slight difficulty but not one impossible to overcome.
“There is definitely enough to make a winning culture at Concordia,” said Taddeo, whose ultimate goal is to make a winner out of the program he co-founded.
If you have any experience or any interest in playing lacrosse do not hesitate to send Coach Taddeo an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.