COO David Lasday and ILA Part Ways

David Lasday

After 13 years of forging the uncharted path of lacrosse in Israel, David Lasday has announced his departure from the Israel Lacrosse Association and his Chief Operating Officer role.

In 2010, Lasday met Scott Neiss while the National Lacrosse League executive was on a Taglit-Birthright trip to Israel. They concocted the concept of introducing lacrosse to the country. When Neiss returned stateside, he sent Lasday 20 sticks to get the ball rolling. Lasday put on a couple of clinics at Tel Aviv’s Park HaYarkon, and Israel experienced its first taste of lacrosse.

The ILA was officially founded in 2011, and Lasday has endured as an integral part of the body since. He managed the day-to-day operations of the organization, from its early idea stage through to its maturation into one of the most notable nations in the international lacrosse world, reaching the status of a fully operational National Governing Body along the way.

“On behalf of Israel Lacrosse, we extend our heartfelt gratitude to David Lasday for his unwavering dedication and invaluable contributions since the inception of our organization,” ILA Executive Director Ian Kadish said. “His leadership has been instrumental in our growth, and we wish him all the best as he embarks on new endeavors.”

Under Lasday’s guise, the ILA grew to 16 communities strong across Israel, all achieved through grassroots means. The groundwork was first laid back in 2011 when Lasday led a collection of clinics throughout the country. More than 20 locations made the tour. That methodology became ILA’s mantra. It remains the cornerstone of the association’s efforts to spread the sport far and wide within Israel.

David Lasday
David Lasday speaking to youth lacrosse players in Ashkelon, Israel, in July 2013

Its origins came from Lasday’s primary purpose for coming to Israel in the first place. He chose to leave his hometown of Columbus, Ohio, for college, opting for the University of Maryland to follow his passions for Judaism and sports. After corralling degrees in Jewish Studies and Sports Marketing in 2005, Lasday arrived in Israel one year later as part of PeacePlayers International, an organization he discovered while in College Park. His goal was to knock down barriers between Israeli Jewish and Arab children with basketball.

Growth & Sustainability Under David Lasday

He brought that same mindset with him to lacrosse years later, and its impact has been felt. Lasday’s work has reverberated through every fiber of the ILA. Communicating with government officials to secure grants, serving as the public spokesperson for the association, parsing together day-to-day social media minutia – it’s all fallen under his purview in his many years with the ILA. It has all accumulated into pushing the sport and its ripple effects forward within Israeli borders.

David Lasday
David Lasday (back right), Jon Rathauser (back middle), and Matthew Flapan (back left) meet with the President of Israel, Isaac Herzog, who wished Team Israel good luck at the World Games in Alabama, July 2022

He has been there every step of the way – the first Israel National Team game in 2012, debuting at the Women’s World Cup in 2013 and Men’s World Championship in 2014, the formation of the box program, and so much more. One of the great triumphs in Lasday’s ILA career came in 2018, the year Israel became the fifth nation to ever host the Men’s World Lacrosse Championship, joining the likes of the United States, Canada, England, and Australia to enjoy the honor.

The event was first set for Manchester, England, but financial troubles forced the city’s withdrawal in May 2017. Over the course of nine days, the ILA mounted a furious campaign to bring the tournament to Israel. The ILA outpaced the United States, instigating an incredible victory to place the WLC in the beach town of Netanya.

An Israeli Lacrosse Legacy

The tournament entertained 46 teams, the most ever at a World Lacrosse Championship. It put Israeli lacrosse on the map in a new way. It aimed a bright spotlight on the ILA and Israel inside the lacrosse community. There were plenty of fires that required quelling, but Lasday and rest of the ILA succeeded in pulling off something not yet done. It set the organization on a new course as one of the best-developed programs in the European Lacrosse Federation.

David Lasday
David Lasday (right) and Scott Neiss (middle) at the 2018 Men’s World Lacrosse Championships in Netanya, Israel

Bill Beroza, the former head coach of the Men’s National Team and ILA co-founder, worked with Lasday for years. He shared how vital the COO has been to the association.

“I would like to express my gratitude to David for his invaluable support in elevating the presence of Israel Lacrosse,” Beroza said. “From its establishment, his commitment to youth programs and dedication to enhancing Israel Lacrosse as a meaningful and enriching experience for both Israelis and lacrosse enthusiasts worldwide has been truly appreciated.”

Thousands of Israeli children have held lacrosse sticks in their hands thanks to the work of Lasday. His tireless efforts since the 2010s and on have helped mold the ILA into the sustainable and successful organization that it is today, now well beyond a decade into its existence.

The association is grateful for the contributions David Lasday has made to it, Israeli society, Jewish society, and humanity as a whole. It wishes him nothing but the best in the next and future chapters of his life.