Yale Alums Help Spread Lacrosse Worldwide

Jenna Block helps out at a lacrosse clinic in Israel.
Jenna Block helps out at a lacrosse clinic in Israel.

Bulldogs Part of European Lacrosse Championship Festival Win for Israel

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The recently created Israeli national women's lacrosse team had a strong Yale presence when it made its debut at the European Lacrosse Championship Festival in Amsterdam earlier this summer. Two former Bulldogs -- attacker Jenna Block '10 and midfielder Sara Greenberg '09 -- played for the team, and former Yale assistant coach Bonnie Rosen was an associate head coach for the team. They wound up helping Israel win the festival championship. After the tournament concluded at the end of June, members of both the men's and women's national teams went back to Israel to help conduct a series of free skills clinics for children.

To conduct the clinics, the Israeli national players traveled to cities such as Jerusalem, Karmiel and Netanya. Each clinic included a short introduction with a highlight video, instruction with lacrosse skills and drills, a scrimmage/game and a question-and-answer session.

"While we were victorious in Amsterdam, the more fulfilling part of the trip was sharing the game with Israelis and introducing the sport to the country," said Block.  

The game is new to Israel, as Israel Lacrosse was started in 2010 and officially recognized as an associate member of the Federation of International Lacrosse in 2011. That enables Israeli teams to participate in FIL competitions, including the Women's World Cup, the Men's World Championship, Under-19 team events and more.

To prepare for the European Lacrosse Championship, the national teams trained in the Israeli city Ashkelon prior to heading to Amsterdam. The men advanced to the quarterfinals of the European Lacrosse Championship and wound up finishing eighth out of 17 teams.

The women's team did not have enough players with Israeli citizenship to take part in the official championship competition. Instead, the team was part of the festival tournament, playing "friendly" games against teams with players from around the world. Israel also fielded a men's team in the festival, and both teams wound up winning their tournaments. The women rallied from a four-goal deficit to defeat American-based Global Players 8-7 in overtime for the title. Greenberg had a pair of goals in that game.

Block received her Master's degree in Public Health from Columbia this past May. She contacted Greenberg, who was in Israel for an internship at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, and got her to join the Israeli team as well. Rosen, a member of the US Lacrosse Hall of Fame, is currently the head coach at Temple.

Report by Sam Rubin '95 (sam.rubin@yale.edu), Yale Sports Publicity