Special Forces on a mission to involve youth in lacrosse
By MICKEY ALVARADO
For lack of a youth lacrosse team for their middle school aged kids to play on during the summer months and winter off-season, local fathers created a squad of their own. And, the 13U team, named Special Forces, is pretty good. It has made quite an impression already after only two months of being formed.
All but one of the players on the team attend Tecumseh Middle School including head coach Corbett Day’s son Dylan, who got involved in the game a couple of years ago with traveling teams including True Lacrosse, a nationally known program. Corbett said it could be quite costly with some families spending a lot of money to be a member on a quality travel team.
“We want to have a free program to make it available to as many players as possible,” Corbett said. “We want to have some opportunity for these kids to play, get sticks in their hand, and keep them busy throughout the year.”
Currently there is a Tecumseh youth lacrosse program, however Corbett said it has only a spring season. The Tecumseh Parks and Recreation program also does not have a lacrosse league, however it has offered camps in the past.
“Once the spring was done we figured we wanted to give them an opportunity to play year-round,” Corbett said.
He and the other assistant coaches on the team, Jeff Jennings (strength and conditioning), Bob Romanowski, (goalie, defensive line) and Jeff Scott (attack line), teach the basics of the game — catching, passing and proper offense and defense — and have had help from local colleges.
The players on the team brought along their own equipment but Special Forces received some extra equipment that Siena Heights and Adrian College donated. Corbett said that gives a child the chance to play even if their parents can’t afford to purchase equipment for them to get involved.
“Both programs have been very generous and donated some equipment to us from some of their past players,” said Corbett. “We have some quality college teams around here. It’s been a good partnership.”
Siena Heights University had a men’s lacrosse coach attend a Special Forces practice approximately a week ago and he passed along valuable lessons to the players.
With no other local teams to play games with, Special Forces competes in tournaments and has been successful, according to Corbett. He had just confirmed an invitation from Toledo Lacrosse Club to play in Lucas County the following week in a game that would be taped by BCSN TV.
“We look to play with the best of the best,” said Corbett. “We want these kids to play against upper level programs. A couple of weeks ago we went to Carmel, Ind., and played in a huge Titanium Tournament.”
The coaches and players didn’t know what to expect but returned with a respectable record of 4-2.
“We lost in the final game to one of the top teams in the tournament,” said Corbett. “So, we’re feeling pretty good about where we’re at right now.”
The team had just received new Special Forces uniforms last week and the players and coaches went to the Indiana tournament with added confidence, looking much more like an official program.
“The more we can bond these kids the better,” said Corbett. “It’s more about the athleticism and the teammates and the friendships outside of the program as well.”
The coaches are very thankful to those who are helping the team along. The Tecumseh Parks and Recreation Department allows the team to call Aden Mead Park home, giving it a quality place to practice and hopefully have games. The team is talking with Ann Arbor’s Wolverine Warriors and hopes to host them at Aden Mead Park in the next week or two. Special Forces is currently trying to set up a local tournament.
“We’re looking in October to host a tournament with about 24 teams,” Corbett said. “We’re in the process of working out something with Michigan International Speedway because we want to have a large venue to be able to do it.”
He added there has never been a lacrosse tournament at a NASCAR track and believes it will bring interest from around the tri-state area. He thinks there is a good chance it will all come together.
“Roger [Curtis] is a very pro-active president up there,” he said. “He likes to get kids involved. They’ve had soccer tournaments and stuff up there, so it’s nothing new for them.”
While not on the coaching staff, Troy Wright of Tecumseh has a son on the team so he’s taken on the responsibility of becoming the marketing director. He recently announced the opening of his new physical fitness-training facility, The Zone Elite Performance Center, at the former Airport Bowl, and will have areas designated where lacrosse players can practice and improve their skills.
“A league is in the works,” said Corbett. “We’re already looking at a fall schedule and a winter indoor schedule. We’ll play in Sylvania Recreation, indoors. There’s another recreation league in Ann Arbor we might join.”
For more information or to join the team, call Corbett at 517.403.1028.