There’s no place like Grand for Mountaineers lacrosse
Fraser Valley Lacrosse Club faces off in two home games this weekend
The Sky-Hi News carried coverage of the Fraser Valley Lacrosse Club’s first victories on May 10, 2017 after the U-11 boys and girls teams both won games at the Vail Lax Jam tournament in Eagle County.
It was a big day for the young program, which sprung from humble beginnings in 2016 with a handful of mountain kids diving headfirst into a sport well established at affluent schools like Cheery Creek or Kent Denver. Early on, the Mountaineers racked up more experience than they did wins, but that was then and this is now.
With an undefeated team for its oldest group of boys, the Mountaineers are now gearing up for their first home games on Sunday.
Most important, though, coach John Vella said they’re hoping the community that helped grow the program so much over the years will enjoy the opportunity to see them in action.
“There have been a couple scrimmages, a couple little things here and there over the years (in Grand County) … but yeah, you can bill this as our first real home game,” Vella said of Sunday’s matchups. “It’s really a thank you to the community for being so supportive of the program and the sport of lacrosse.”
The Mountaineers are scheduled to play at 12:45 p.m. vs. the Rattlers and at 3:15 p.m. vs. the Jets, with both games at the Fraser Sports Complex.
For Vella, who’s quick to admit he’s only one of many people associated with the program, the games mark another major milestone for the young club.
He explained that Sunday’s games will feature players who started the program in the club’s inaugural season. Over the phone, Vella recalled how the team “got worked over for years” before he called them “a special group” and reveled in how they kept working to pave the road to a quality program.
“It’s not completed yet, but they’re now undefeated and on their way to great things,” Vella said, adding that the team is 9-0 so far this season and there are a lot of people who have helped them get there.
“That’s why I say this has been a community effort,” he emphasized.
Currently, there are about 100 kids who are a part of the Fraser Valley Lacrosse Club, spanning from its mini-sticks program, through the grade school and middle school ages, into the high school ranks.
Depending on how you slice the teams — club sports’ age requirements can create opportunities for some flexibility — the Mountaineers have as many as a half-dozen squads for the boys and girls under the overall leadership of club director Scott Anderson.
Vella spoke at length about the many coaches, players, parents, sponsors and supporters across Grand County who’ve aided the club’s success, as he also expressed his deep gratitude for everything they’ve done.
“I could go on and on,” Vella said before mentioning that the girls have also won their first championship. “It’s really been a community effort. We’re called, ‘Fraser Valley,’ but it’s really a Grand County effort and (we owe) a big thank you to the community.
“We took our lumps early on — we didn’t win a whole lot — but it was never about wins and losses. It was about developing these kids. Everybody who’s contributed, there’s so many people, it’s been phenomenal.”
For more about the Fraser Valley Lacrosse Club, go to http://www.fraservalleylax.usl.la/.
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