California Gold Invitational Lacrosse Camp

-California Gold Lacrosse Camps gold goal pipes
The goals were painted GOLD. Seriously.
California Gold Lacrosse Camps
TIme to get warmed up. It’s California Gold time!

Wednesday marked the start of Peter Worstell’s 2011 California Gold Recruiting Camp in Danville, CA, just east of Oakland. 300 kids from four different graduating classes were split over two days in Danville, CA. Having already tried out last fall, these players were raring to go in what is quickly proving to be the West’s Premier recruiting camp for wannabe college lacrosse players. Though the rosters are still dominated by California boys, this year Worstell expanded his invites to include players from Texas, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon and Washington.

-California Gold Lacrosse Camps gold goal pipes
The goals were painted GOLD. Seriously.

Day One saw the classes of 2012, 2014 & 2015 appear bright and early and raring to go. Peter Worstell addressed the boys, introducing them to a few of the rules unique to his camp. My two favorites were: 1) If you don’t pass the ball, you’ll be asked to sit down and 2) Parents are not allowed to talk to the recruiters at anytime. These are two of my pet peeves about recruiting camps and Worstell handles them great. Actually, Worstell and his staff handle everything great, as I’ve never seen such an organized and smooth running lacrosse event.

-California Gold Lacrosse Camps gold goal pipes nike volt
Is your name on the list? Then you get Nike Volt Huaraches.

California Gold is one of only two camps (Jake Reed is the other) that get totally swagged up by Nike Lacrosse, so the fashion anticipation factor was high amongst the troops. This year featured the Nike Volt Huarache 3 cleats (photo previously leaked by Sweet Sweet Lax) so everyone was feeling the love.

-California Gold Lacrosse Camps gold goal pipes
More of those sweet, gold pipes!

After some stretching and drills, players are divided up into random teams and dispersed to play games in a round-robin-one-half-at-a-time format. Rising Seniors are given their own field, and that’s where the majority of the recruiters (and I) were stationed. And what a group of recruiters it was: 21 head coaches, from 13 D1 programs, as well as top programs from D2, D3 and MCLA. And Jake Reed himself
was prowling the sidelines, prospecting for his future events. There’s not a better collection of decision makers at any camp west of the Mississippi.

The play was solid, individual talent was apparent, although the downside of a one day camp is no one ever ends up playing as a team, despite Worstell’s wishes. But the athleticism was apparent, there was plenty of field presence, and it’s clear the lacrosse knowledge is rising on the Left Coast.

Notable individual talent included: Peter Doyle a middie (St. Ignatius, CA) who was a force late in the day, singlehandedly propelling his team into the somewhat meaningless championship game. Joe Balestrieri (Rancho Bernardo, CA) went top shelf with some wicked rips with both his left and right hands in the morning sessions. Andrew Gulrajani (Bellevue, WA) looked to be the fastest middie on the field and never broke stride picking up GBs in traffic. On close defense, Michael McCarney (Dallas Jesuit, TX) was a beast with his body and Nicholas McEneany (Rancho Bernardo, CA) seemed to eat up anyone who dared to step in the box.

Worstell has built California Gold into a force in the recruiting world. He is steadfastly committed to providing the best experience for your recruiting dollars. He’s all about cost-effectiveness yet there’s never a feeling of cheapness or cutting corners. And the prized swag is second to none. The camp definitely features topnotch eyeballs on the sidelines, but there’s no history yet of prize recruits winning roster spots based on their performance there. That’s likely to change in the near future as this class of 2012 starts making commitments. There’s gold in these California hills, and Worstell seems dedicated to making sure the lacrosse world knows about it.

-California Gold Lacrosse Camps gold goal pipes
Even the banner is gold! Well, golden yellow. Stil, we like it.


  1. 3D Lacrosse runs a national lacrosse (LAX) league for youth, similar to Little League Baseball and Pop Warner Football. Their league teams and tournaments are valuable for the development of youth LAX skills.

    However their recruiting “Showcase” camps are a rip off. Advertised as a “full day of training,” followed by a day of games, to allow rising high school LAX players to showcase their skills – it is hardly that. They also advertised a bounty of players swag (players gear) to be given away.

    From 2011 – 2013 the California Gold Invitational Showcase Camp was held in Danville, CA. It was a stellar event, with premium players gear and training. Prior years giveaways included Nike cleats, duffle bags, LAX heads, etc.

    In 2015, the 3D Lacrosse – California Gold Invitational Camp moved to Oceanside, CA from Danville, CA. The cost had also risen from $325 to $475.

    We expected another great event, quality players gear package, 6-7 hours of premier training on day #1. Our youngest grandson was excited to try the camp for himself.

    Instead of 600+ kids, college level coaches and a great gear package, there were maybe 200 kids. The gear package consisted of socks, shorts and a t-shirt.

    A major part of Day #1 was spent doing “registration.” Training first session did not even start until 11 AM. The training was only 4 hours on the first day – (2) 2 hour sessions. The second day consisted of two games, grouped by High School graduating year.

    Our grandson does not play for a 3D Lacrosse team. He found himself standing on the sidelines, watching the 3D Team players showing off. Instead of exhibiting their team skills, the 3D players would shoot every chance they got – bad angles, congested lanes, circus shots, what ever – it was all about showing off. Many players refused to leave the field, some played for the entire game without rotating off the field – for BOTH GAMES. Purely unacceptable for a “showcase” program.

    In Danville, the coaches who managed the showcase teams, made sure that the players routinely rotated off of the fields – giving everyone a fair and equitable chance to illustrate their skills. Players that were “ball hogs” were called on it or removed from play. Not under the new management.

    At the end of the second day, there were no college representatives left watching the games of the 2018 students – only parents.

    3D Lacrosse over promoted this camp, over described and hyped it up. In the end, it way under delivered. Overall, this program was a major disappointment.

    Save your $500 (not to mention your $1500 for hotel, food, rental car, travel expenses, and parents time off of work). Use that $2,000+ to buy some new gear and take some private lessons from a nationally ranked coach !

    If you want exposure to the college recruiters, get good grades and SAT scores, excel in high school lacrosse, be a team player, stay involved in community activities (be a well rounded citizen). If you are good, you will get noticed.

    You do not need a fancy camp to “showcase” your skills.