Argentina approved for full membership in FIL

FIL News: Argentina Lacrosse
FIL News: Argentina Lacrosse
Image © Federation of International Lacrosse  
 

NEW YORK, N.Y.—The Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL) has granted full membership status to Argentina. Argentina, along with Belgium (also approved for full membership status), expands FIL’s full member roster to 34 out 58 member nations. FIL Director of Development Bob DeMarco said that both organizations were approved unanimously by the board.

“We’re ecstatic to have Argentina as a full member. Argentina has set the model of how you advance the sport of lacrosse from inception to building into an organization and growing into an associate member to full membership.”

Tom Hayes, Former FIL Director of Development and current Director of Olympic Vision Committee

Argentina joins Bermuda, Canada, the Iroquois and the United States as full members from the Americas. Full membership provides nations with voting privileges, committee membership opportunities and championship bracket eligibility. See all member nations from the Americas on the FIL Members page.

Mariano Flores Leyes, General Manager for the Argentina Lacrosse Association (ALA), was very pleased with FIL’s decision.

“Full membership is the culmination of years of lacrosse development work in our country and in South and Central America. I see nothing but good things coming ahead. Being accepted is a significant confidence boost from the FIL and puts us in a great position to keep on working together.”

Mariano Flores Leyes, ALA General Manager

“Lacrosse has been my passion for many years, and having the Federation of International Lacrosse accept Argentina as a member encourages me and the team to keep on pushing forward .”

Rodrigo Miquelarena, ALA President

“We are at the best possible moment to become full members. As Development Director, knowing that the FIL is backing us up is what we need to take our growth to a whole new sustainable level.”

Bruno Stretti, ALA Development Director

For Argentina, the journey with FIL began in 1989. Tom Hayes, former Director of Development and now Director of FIL’s Olympic Vision Committee, and Steve Stenersen, FIL’s current Vice President, hosted a clinic at the Peron Institute in Buenos Aires. When they arrived at the clinic site with their host and eventual Argentina Lacrosse Association founder Ricardo “Ricky” Acuña, Hayes and Stenersen were amazed at what they saw.

“They had studied how the game was played by native North American Indians,” Hayes explained. “So, they fashioned sticks out of bamboo and used bleach bottles as heads. They filled tennis balls with a little water to give them weight and lined out their field with police restriction tape. Their ingenuity and desire to play were incredible.”

Stenersen was equally enthused.

“I remember having customs issues with the equipment we shipped for the clinic. We had lunch with an American gentleman and casually mentioned the issue. He graciously paid the customs fees. The equipment got there during the championship game of a tournament they were running, so we laid it all out on the sidelines prepping for the clinic. At halftime, when those players saw that gear lying there, they asked if it was for them. We said yes, so they put it on for the second half!”

Steve Stenersen, FIL Vice-President

The game has grown and flourished In Argentina since that first clinic nearly 30 years ago. The ALA now has over 200 men playing in 10 local clubs that compete in Buenos Aires, Chubut, Mendoza, Rio Negro and Misiones. Argentina competed in its first FIL Men’s Lacrosse World Championship in 2010, then again in Denver in 2014. Argentina also participated in the first Copa América de Lacrosse in Mexico City in July of 2015 along with Chile, Colombia and host Mexico.

Team Argentina in Copa América 2015 – Mexico DF
Argentina Flag at 2010 Men's Worlds, Manchester, England
Coach Ryan Volatile at a School Workshop, Buenos Aires, 2016
First Indoor Match in Argentina’s history – Buenos Aires, 2015

The ALA is now working on developing women’s teams and programs in schools to get Argentinian youth interested in lacrosse.

There have been many people who have played key roles in the development of lacrosse in Argentina over the years including onsite coach Ryan Volatile, Scott Hylen, Zach Kahn, Scott Witkin, Ian Scobie, coaches Ben Brenneman and Merrill Stillwell, Austin Debutts, Chris Gogolin, Tim Zendermann, the Bernabo family, the Read family and the Astrada family.

Flores Leyes explained that currently there is no organization like the European Lacrosse Federation or Asia-Pacific Lacrosse Union that oversees regional lacrosse competition and development in South and Central America, but he is committed to forming one. Flores Leyes is hoping to discuss the creation of a regional lacrosse federation with South and Central American teams competing in a tournament that the ALA will be hosting in Buenos Aires next August.

“It’s an honor to be a full member in FIL,” said Flores Leyes. “This will help us take our program to the next level. We’re looking forward to the 2018 FIL Men’s Lacrosse World Championship in Netanya, Israel next July.”

 

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