ROCHESTER, NY – January 27, 2016 – The Fellowship of Christian Athletes announces the launching of their first ever Northeast Region girls’ lacrosse team this summer. With a ministry philosophy that is about ministering “to and through coaches” Solomon Bliss, FCA’s Regional Camp and Community Coordinator, said that the ministry desired to be more intentional about providing more opportunities for women in the sport of lacrosse.
“FCA’s mission is ‘to see the world impacted for Jesus Christ through the influence of coaches and athletes,” and we are excited that God has prepared us to offer a new program to girls in grade 7 (Class of 2021) at this time,” Bliss said.
Standout lacrosse players and sisters Taviot (<a href=”http://wildcats.sunyit.edu/landing/index” target=”_blank”>SUNY Polytechnic Institute </a>‘13) and Cassley Jackowski (<a href=”https://www.roberts.edu/athletics.aspx” target=”_blank”>Roberts Wesleyan College</a> ‘16) will serve as assistant coaches. Among many other awards and honors over the year, the sisters were part of FCA’s Women’s National Lacrosse Team in Lake Placid, 2014 and 2015.
Taviot was drawn to FCA after seeing its positive impact on so many lives while attending FCA’s Camp Kutztown. With this coaching philosophy: “Work hard, have fun and show good sportsmanship,” she is a strong believer in all that the FCA program has to offer. “FCA is a combination of strengthening your faith and relationship with God, while also focusing on and challenging individuals to reach their greatest athletic potential,” she said.
Cassley, who witnessed FCA firsthand while attending FCA’s Camp Kutztown as well as FCA’s Gettysburg Lacrosse Camp, believes combining faith and sports can have a powerful impact: “FCA has been an anchor for me in my faith and continues to impact my life daily. It excites me to help others grow not only in lacrosse, but also in their faith. I believe you can have a monumental impact on individuals when coaching for FCA,” she said.
Leading the coaching will be Larry DiGiovanni who brings thirty years of lacrosse experience, as a player while at Irondequoit High School (Section V Champions ’87, ’88, first team All-County Defenseman ’87, ’88) and at Hobart College (NCAA National Champions, ’89, ’90, ’91 and 3x All-American defenseman, ’90, ’91, ’92), and more recently as a coach – having coached area youth lacrosse programs since 2008.
“I chose to coach with FCA because it has Jesus Christ at the center — the vast majority of athletic programs separate Jesus from their programs. With FCA there is a heavy focus on ensuring that every student athlete is part of a positive and healthy environment where winning is not everything. FCA also has a strong support staff and the resources to best execute on the model it has created,” he said.
DiGiovanni will also be serving on part of the advisory team who is responsible for the launch program. Joining the advisory team will be Paula Mitchell, who will also serve as goalie coach, Jennifer Jackowski, and Tom MacMillan, Rush-Henrietta’s Varsity Girls Lacrosse Coach and current FCA coach.
The team will train in Rochester, NY but is open to any players from New York.
“We greatly anticipate seeing our first team assembled, as we are looking to achieve a very high level of lacrosse,” Tully High School Varsity Coach and FCA Coach Greg Scott said. “When the FCA teams are on the field, they are very competitive. They play hard. They lead by example. They show character. That attitude is the same for the players, the coaches, and the directors. It’s a very cohesive group. When coaches hear that a recruit is an FCA kid, their eyes light up because they know that kid is going to have good character and he’s going to work hard,” he said.
FCA will host an informational (dessert) meeting February 1, 2016 at 7:30pm at Roberts Wesleyan College – Howard Stowe Cultural Life Center, second floor, Room 219. The best parking will be off of Orchard Street, in Lot A.. This meeting is for anyone who desires to know more about our new girls’ lacrosse program. Information regarding the tryout date and location will be discussed at this meeting as well. If you are unable to attend, the following FAQs might be helpful.
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<strong>What sets FCA apart from other clubs?</strong> FCA’s 4 Core Values are: Teamwork, Excellence, Integrity, and Serving. Everything FCA does is driven by those values. Coaches emphasize a high level of lacrosse instruction, while encouraging their players and allowing them to have fun as they develop athletically and spiritually.
<strong>Why now? </strong>For many years the most frequently asked question was “When will FCA develop teams on the women’s side of the sport?” With the hiring of our Regional Camps & Community Teams Coordinator Sol Bliss on July 1, 2015, FCA has been able to intentionally grow its programs. In addition to the new girls lacrosse program, they are also expanding our boys’ lacrosse into the Adirondack Region, and are now evaluating what sports they will develop teams in next. Having just one girls’ team summer of 2016 will allow them to slowly grow into the girls’ game, with hopes to grow into more age levels in the future.
<strong>Why Class of 2021?</strong> This age group was selected for two reasons: 1) Grade 7 is a great time for players to start — not too old, as many players and families have already committed to clubs and are unlikely to explore something new… and not too young, as there are a growing number of options for younger players in their town programs. 2) Some area families have experienced playing on an FCA team in Maryland in the past few years, and they were passionate about wanting to recreate that experience locally. FCA is excited to present this new offering, and hopes to field a team of 18 girls this year.
<strong>Are there faith related requirements and expectations for players involved with your organization? </strong>There are no requirements, but the expectations are there. FCA believes that athletes are natural leaders and that developing positive leaders with strong character is important. Most athletes will recall that sports played a huge role in who they are and what they have become; FCA ties in the life lessons of sport with the Word of God which just takes it to another level.
The expectation is that the players are open and understanding to the discussions held within the team, which will include talks about the Christian walk and how much God loves each of us. The discussions often occur in what FCA calls “Huddles” which are set up as informative team builders. During Huddle times the players get to know each other and their coaches in a different way. FCA coaches build relationships with their players and go way past the X’s and O’s of a sport.
<strong>What can a player expect from her experience with FCA? </strong>The motto that sums up what FCA is all about is: “The job of the players is to love each other and the job of the coach is to love the players.” The coach can have an amazing influence on an athlete, and FCA coaches want it to be a positive one.
Check back soon for summer schedule details.
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Since 1954, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes has been challenging coaches and athletes on the professional, college, high school, junior high and youth levels to use the powerful medium of athletics to impact the world for Jesus Christ. FCA focuses on serving local communities by equipping, empowering and encouraging people to make a difference for Christ – to see the world impacted for Jesus Christ through the influence of coaches and athletes.
More information can be found at FCA.org.