Our focus is on spiritual, personal, and athletic growth.The Fellowship of Christian Athletes Northeast lacrosse program is getting bigger, yet its focus remains the same: developing the player and working through coaches. This year’s program, which includes 16 travel teams of 300 players spanning ten graduation years, reflects nearly a 20% increase in the number of players, plus two new travel teams.
Currently boys’ youth teams based in Adirondack, Canada, Rochester, Syracuse, and two girls teams in Rochester. And, the program offerings throughout the year also continue to expand. The summer program now includes three additional clinics for grades 1-3, as well as off-season programs that develop fundamental skills for our players, positional training in the winter, spring skills and drills, and summer camps. This summer FCA expanded their Goalie Camp and Instructional Day Camp offerings to the girls’ program.
“Amidst our growth we remain dedicated to the mission of FCA, which is working with the coach, and, through working with coaches we are reaching twenty or more players per team. Our aim is still to continue to make each kid a better lacrosse player and a better person, and although we are growing, we do not lose sight of our focus to not only improve kids’ lacrosse skills, but also to develop their character,” said Solomon Bliss, Regional Camp and Community Coordinator.
A popular FCA mantra continues to permeate on and off the fields where FCA teams play: Coaches love the players and the players love each other. “Our coaches know the kids, and care about them. As we grow, we have made an effort to continue to have at least three, and most of the time four, coaches who stay with a team all summer long. The caliber of our coaches continues to improve, and we remain focused on bringing in the best quality coaches that are not just passionate about coaching the game of lacrosse, but about developing relationships with the kids in their program,” said Bliss.
Paula Mitchell shared a great thought on our focus when she said, “It is a privilege to wear FCA on my shoulder on the sidelines. Not only are we held accountable to represent Christ to our team, but also serve as an example to our opponents and referees as well.”
Shannon Smith, whose son Hunter is a defenseman for the Rochester Navy 2022 team, believes that a contributing factor to FCA’s growth is that it addresses the critical needs that are important to any sports program. “FCA fulfills all of the things I look for in a program for my child — outstanding communication and organization, positive and consistent coaching, moral guidance and trust, and competitive teams with a team focus,” Smith said.
Sean McNamara, who serves as VP of Field Ministries for the Northeast, began his tenure with FCA in 1999, as the National Director of FCA Lacrosse. As the first FCA full-time staff person to oversee the lacrosse ministry, he is encouraged by how it has taken off across the country, and especially in the Northeast during the past seven years. “FCA is in a season of growth, and it is exciting to see how God is using this program to impact the lives of coaches and athletes, and a growing number of communities and sports in the Northeast,” he said.
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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.