ASHKELON, ISRAEL – The Israel Lacrosse Association has named Drew Morris as the Head Coach and Ori Bar-David as the Assistant Coach for the 2024 Men’s U20 European Championship, taking place in Wroclaw, Poland from July 19th to July 27.
Morris and Bar-David, who previously teamed up during the 2023 Men’s World Championship, played crucial roles in Israel’s success, achieving an impressive 4-0 record in pool play and a 6-1 overall performance in the tournament. Their sole loss was against the USA, and they secured their 7th-place finish by defeating Jamaica.
Drew Morris, originally from New Canaan, Connecticut, and a former player for the Maryland Terrapins, where he won a National Championship in 2022, now resides in Ashkelon, Israel. He actively coaches young Israeli players and conducts recruiting visits to schools across the country.
Notably, Morris served as the starting goalkeeper for Team Israel in the 2023 Men’s World Championship, where he exhibited exceptional skills throughout the event. With a remarkable 55.6 save percentage, he ranked 4th among all goalkeepers at the championship.
Having experienced Israel through his involvement with Israel Lacrosse in 2022, Morris went on a birthright trip and then chaperoned the Summer Service Trip, a program spanning three weeks and catering to high school lacrosse players who get to tour, coach, and play throughout Israel.
“I am tremendously honored to lead the Men’s U20 National Team. Living in Israel allows me to contribute to the sport’s domestic growth and witness the journey of each player, from their first contact with a lacrosse stick to international competition. Our objective in Poland is to not only represent Israel but to also play with the passion that ignites the aspirations of future lacrosse players in Israel,” expressed Morris.
Ori Bar-David is the first Israeli-born player on a Men’s National Team. He has played a pivotal role in grassroots development and the expansion of lacrosse since his introduction to the sport in 8th-grade gym class in 2013. Over the years, he has participated in seven national teams, coached youth teams across Israel, and undertook international coaching duties for the U20 team in Limerick, Ireland during the summer of 2022. From 2019 to 2021, Bar-David was recognized as a “military athlete” with a sports exemption, where he combined service in the Israel Defense Force with lacrosse involvement.
Bar-David, reflecting on his impending coaching role, remarked, “This marks my second coaching experience on the global stage. My prior experiences as both a player and coach have provided invaluable insights into preparing our coaching staff and guiding players to be ready to compete at their best.” His previous coaching experience on the international stage was at the U21 Men’s 2022 World Championship.
Bar-David’s international endeavors span participation in both the U20 and Men’s teams. His debut on the international scene occurred in the 2016 U19 Men’s World Championship, resulting in a 6th-place world ranking. He contributed to Israel’s gold medal achievement in the 2017 Men’s European Box Championship, along with a runner-up position in the U19 Men’s European Championship the same year.
In 2018, the Men’s World Championship was hosted in his hometown of Netanya, Israel. At the age of 18, he stood as the sole native Israeli player on the team, he scored a goal in front of his hometown crowd and contributed to Israel’s 7th-place finish. In 2019, Bar-David played in both the Junior Men’s Box tournament and the U20 Men’s European Championship, leading to Israel’s 4th and 5th place rankings, respectively.
Reflecting on his experiences representing his country, Bar-David shared, “The sensation of singing your nation’s anthem before each game and embodying the blue-and-white is beyond description. The passion displayed by every Israeli team on the field is unparalleled.”
The coaching staff collectively expressed high hopes for the young talent within Israel and their commitment to the team. They eagerly anticipate the evolution of the player’s skills over the upcoming year.
The 2019 U20 Men’s team previously secured a 5th-place position in the European Championship. More recently, the U21 Men’s team achieved a 10th-place ranking in the U21 Men’s 2022 World Championship, which was hosted in Limerick, Ireland.