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US Lacrosse Partnering with Sankofa for Free Youth Clinics

10 Oct, 2016


US Lacrosse today announced a new partnership with the Sankofa Lacrosse Foundation to offer free youth clinics for those from underrepresented lacrosse communities. US Lacrosse will work with local organizations to plan and implement the clinics, while Sankofa affiliated players will serve as the clinicians providing the hands-on instruction.

Programs and organizations that offer lacrosse participation opportunities in which a majority of the participants are ethnic minorities are eligible to apply for local clinics.

Clinic applications are available online. The application process is open throughout the year.

Local programs applying to host clinics should have experienced and committed leadership for delivering lacrosse programming, and must be able to provide adequate field space for the clinic.

"With a consistent focus on underrepresented communities, the educational clinics are intended to increase overall participation in the sport, educate the lacrosse consumer in a positive way, decrease barriers to participation and ensure a quality lacrosse experience for all participants," said Eboni Preston-Laurent, senior manager of diversity and inclusion at US Lacrosse. "We believe there is significant value in connecting minority leaders and former players in the sport with the next generation of minority lacrosse players."

Created in 2013, the Sankofa Lacrosse Foundation is focused on supporting efforts to expand the reach of the game, particularly in economically challenged communities. The SLF draws from its network of players and coaches, including many of the nation's top African American players, past and present, to support that mission.

Translated, the word "sankofa" means to "go back and get it" or "to reclaim what has been forgotten." That concept lies at the heart of this new clinic series and serves as the inspiration for Chazz Woodson, co-founder of Sankofa Lacrosse and a Major League Lacrosse and Team USA veteran.

"As the game continues to grow in popularity it also continues to price people out," Woodson said. "What we see here is an opportunity to reclaim what's starting to slip through the cracks. We want to use these clinic opportunities to provide quality instruction to kids that may not often get that and to provide instruction from coaches and players that kids may not normally have access to.

"This is particularly important to me. I may not be where I am today if it were not for lacrosse, and for the players that I looked up to taking time to encourage me, to work with me, and to show me what I was capable of becoming."

The US Lacrosse-Sankofa Clinic Series will host its inaugural events on Saturday, October 1. A boys' youth clinic will take place at the new US Lacrosse headquarters in Sparks, Maryland, while a girls' youth clinic will be conducted in Fairfax, Virginia at George Mason University.

"The aim of this endeavor is pretty simple," Woodson said. "After each clinic, every participant should walk away feeling that they learned something, and more importantly, that they felt they were coached by somebody that cared about their well-being and their success."

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