Ashkelon officially joins the Premier League

ASHKELON, ISRAEL — Israel’s largest hotbed of youth lacrosse, Ashkelon, will be home to a team in the Israel Premier Lacrosse League.

Ashkelon joins Barak Netanya LC and Haifa LC as the third of at least four men’s teams competing in the inaugural season of the IPLL.

Baltimore native Howard Offit, who won three national championships at Johns Hopkins University and another three for Maryland Lacrosse Club, will coach Ashkelon LC. Offit has 20+ years of coaching experience, including successful stretches with UMBC, Hopkins, Landon High School and Georgetown Prep. Offit was also instrumental in the establishment of the Tewaaraton Trophy award, presented annually to the most outstanding NCAA men’s and women’s lacrosse player.

“The opportunity to help young athletes follow their passion and maximize their potential is the reason that I love coaching,” said Offit. “To go to Ashkelon, where I’m personally connected as a Baltimorean, and to have the ability to contribute and get more people involved in the sport in my home community in Israel is exceptionally meaningful.”

The club is expected to play home games at New Municipal Stadium, which serves as the official training grounds of Liga Leumit’s Hapoel Ashkelon Football Club.

The Premier League, which kicks off its inaugural season in Summer 2015, will be comprised of primarily collegiate players with NCAA eligibility remaining.

Ashkelon LC was established through the generous support of the Baltimore-Ashkelon Partnership, and the club expects to attract athletes who hail from its sister city to spend their summers in the southern coastal city.

Premier League athletes will have internship and volunteer opportunities in coaching young lacrosse players in their city, as well as in marketing, public relations and operations for their club. Affordable housing will also be made available to visiting players in the “Lacrosse Embassy” of each city.

Athletes who are interested in competing in Ashkelon, or elsewhere in the Israel Premier Lacrosse League can register at— Players of all nationalities and religious backgrounds are encouraged to participate.