ASHKELON, ISRAEL — The Israel Lacrosse Association has named Jeffrey Schwartz as head coach of the Israel Men’s National Team which will compete at the 2016 ELF European Lacrosse Championships, held in Budapest, Hungary, from July 28 to August 6.
Schwartz relocated to Israel as a participant in the Masa Israel Journey program during the summer of 2015 and served as associate head coach of Haifa Lacrosse Club for the team’s inaugural campaign in the Israel Premier Lacrosse League. He was identified as a strong candidate for the national team head coaching position while helping to lead Haifa LC to an IPLL championship game appearance.
“Being given the opportunity to hold the title of ‘head coach’ of any team is one of the greatest honors anybody can achieve,” noted Schwartz. “For me to be able to couple that amazing honor with the chance to represent Israel as the head coach of the Men’s National Team just makes it exponentially more special. I am a sincere believer that a coach’s success is dependent on the people he surrounds himself with and I am extremely fortunate to have some of the hardest working, enthusiastic and most devoted staff and players around me on a daily basis – people who are truly committed not only to the success of our team but who are also selflessly dedicated to the grass-roots development of lacrosse in Israel.”
Schwartz, 27, started his lacrosse career at the Tabor Academy in Marion, Massachusetts. He graduated from Lynchburg College in Lynchburg, Virginia, where he served as team captain in his junior and senior seasons. He was named to the 2011 All-State Second Team, the 2011 All Old Dominion Athletic Conference First Team and the 2012 All-ODAC Second Team.
He finished his stellar career as a faceoff specialist, winning 59% of his attempts at the ‘X’. His outstanding senior performance earned him the highest career winning faceoff percentage in Lynchburg’s history – a record he still holds. Following graduation, Schwartz returned to his alma mater as a Graduate Assistant and helped guide the Hornets to an NCAA quarterfinal appearance in 2013.
“The Israel Lacrosse Association is thrilled to announce Jeffrey Schwartz as our national team’s head coach,” said David Hartman, who chaired a search committee for the position. “We are confident that his impressive resume as a player and coach will translate into a successful venture into international lacrosse. We are already thoroughly impressed by his work in player development with Haifa LC as well as in growing our youth programs throughout the country.”
The European Championships are held every four years, and the Israel men are hoping to improve upon their 8th Place finish at the 2012 Euros in Amsterdam.
The blue-and-white will not be taken lightly following their performance at the 2014 World Championships in Denver, where they nearly upset England (1st in Europe), and earned decisive wins over Ireland (2nd), Sweden (3rd) and Germany (5th). However, Israel’s roster will look very different as the team will be composed of entirely Israel-based players, per National Association policy for European competition, as well as in accordance with the rules and regulations of the European Lacrosse Federation.
Israel will learn what their road to a possible medal looks like following the Euro 2016 draw, which is held on January 10th in Budapest. Tryouts for the men’s team are being held December 31 and January 1 at Voldenberg Sports Center in Ashkelon, Israel. For more information regarding the tryout, please contact [email protected].