The first dedicated lacrosse field in the Middle East was inaugurated last week as part of a national training center for the sport in Ashkelon, the Israel Lacrosse Association announced.
Field time is at a premium in Israel, where soccer is king, often leaving up-and-coming sports like lacrosse to train in bumpy parks and on cement basketball courts, according to a league representative. Government figures in countries like England, Iceland and Germany show that they have over 10 times as many fields per million residents.
“As an emerging sport in Israel, getting onto fields has been an uphill battle for us,” said David Lasday, Israel Lacrosse’s chief operating officer. “We see our new national training center as a historic opportunity to elevate the sport in our region while also doubling down on our commitment to Israel’s underserved periphery.”
Israel Lacrosse conducted the tryouts for Israel’s U19 Men’s National Team on the new field. This summer, the team will compete in Ireland at the U19 World Lacrosse Championships. The association also hosted 40 Jewish lacrosse players from throughout North America at the field as part of the Israel Lacrosse Winter Service Trip.
Lasday told Haaretz that the field was paid for by a grant from the Sports Ministry “in support of the 2019 Women’s European Lacrosse Championships and crowdfunding from supporters from around the world.” He added that the field also provides Israel Lacrosse with a home and headquarters.