Mahler named U19 World Team head coach

ASHKELON, ISRAEL — Seth Mahler has been selected as head coach of the Israel men’s national team which will compete at the 2016 FIL U-19 World Championship, held in Vancouver, Canada, from July 7-16.

Matthew Cherry, Michael Horowitz and Jeffrey Schwartz were named Assistant Coaches for Team Israel, which is competing for the first time in the quadrennial U19 World Championships.

“We’ve always had a tremendous emphasis on our youth programs,” said Mahler. “These championships represent a remarkable opportunity to showcase, on the world stage, what we’ve accomplished since we launched Israel Lacrosse just four years ago. We want to show off our development and prove that our young men can compete with anyone.”

Mahler, a 2010 graduate of Whittier College, relocated to Ashkelon in 2013 to spearhead the development of youth lacrosse in the coastal city. Under Mahler’s leadership, Ashkelon LC is the largest lacrosse program in the Middle East, with a focus on players ages 8-18.

A native of Waterbury, Connecticut, Mahler served as head coach at Beckman High School in Irvine, California, as well as the head coach of Team Orange County in the JCC Maccabi Games prior to relocating to Israel.

As a player on the Men’s National Team, Mahler has worn the blue-and-white since 2012, competing in the European Championships as a developmental player, before debuting with the World Team at the 2014 FIL World Championships in Denver, where he appeared in eight games. Mahler also appeared in eight games in last month’s FIL World Indoor Lacrosse Championships in Syracuse, recording four assists to help Israel achieve a #4 World Ranking.

“Seth exemplifies the passion and commitment to the development of the sport in Israel that our program strives to achieve,” said Israel GM Howard Borkan. “We have full confidence in his leadership as we begin the process of building a competitive Team Israel to take the field in Coquitlam (Vancouver).”

Cherry, who was recently honored by the Federation of International Lacrosse with the Spirit of Lacrosse Award, relocated to Israel in summer of 2013 with Mahler to launch youth lacrosse in Ashkelon. Following a year of grassroots recruiting and coaching, the Dickinson product enlisted in the Israel Defense Forces, and is currently serving in the West Bank. As a player, Cherry was second in scoring for the blue-and-white at the 2014 FIL World Field Lacrosse Championships in Denver, appearing in eight games.

Horowitz, who serves as an assistant coach at Saint Joseph’s University, has appeared in goal for both the Israel field and box Men’s National Teams since 2013. The Muhlenberg product makes several trips to Israel annually, and his leadership has been instrumental in the launch of Israel’s U-19 National Developmental Program and the Israel Lacrosse Showcase Tour.

Schwartz, who served as associate head coach of Haifa LC in the Israel Premier Lacrosse League this past summer, is currently participating in the Masa Israel Journey Lacrosse program, where he is helping to develop the sport in Israel’s South (Ashkelon and Ashdod). Schwartz has previous coaching experience at Lynchburg College, where he helped guide the Hornets to an NCAA Quarterfinal Apperance as a Graduate Assistant Coach in 2013. He previously played for Lynchburg, serving as team captain in 2011 and 2012.

Tryouts for the U-19 team will take place from January 2-4, 2016, at New Municipal Stadium in Ashkelon, Israel.

Israel’s roster will be composed of both Israeli players, as well as members of the Jewish diaspora, in accordance with the rules and regulations of the Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL).

The tryout will be limited to 120 players; invitations to Israel-based players will be made through the Fall season, while players from abroad are encouraged to participate in the Israel Lacrosse Winter Service Trip (Dec 25-Jan 5) which culminates with the tryout in Ashkelon.

Israel Lacrosse will announce the team’s 46-man national team roster in mid-January.

For more information on the Winter Service Trip, please contact Nikki Avershal at nikki@lacrosse.co.il.