Editor’s Note: Joseph Timmons has been involved with the Brooklyn Crescents, a youth lacrosse club in New York City, for five years, and in that time, he has seen the scene change in the five boroughs. His piece below details the humble beginnings of the Crescents, and let’s you get to know this urban lacrosse program a little better.
On a chilly Sunday morning in the middle of March of 2008, I attended my first ever lacrosse practice for the Brooklyn Crescents. My father drove me over the Verrazano Bridge to the corner of Tillary and Jay Streets, to MacLaughlin Park, a little patch of turf where you can fit half of a lacrosse field if you were lucky. The growth of lacrosse in New York City from 2008 to the present is remarkable. The Brooklyn Crescents Youth lacrosse program has played a huge role in this growth.
In 2006, the 6 founders of the Brooklyn Crescents (L’Quentus Thomas, Susan Murray, Kassim Howell, Jessica O’Brien, Dan Sheff, and Wes Jackson) decided to grow the game of lacrosse in New York City and started the Brooklyn Crescents Youth Lacrosse Club. The Crescent Athletic Club was a leading Brooklyn sports club, back in the late 1800s & first half of the 1900s, fielding football, hockey, and lacrosse teams. Hence the adoption of the Crescents name.
When the program started, there were a grand total of 30 kids (girls and boys) playing for the Crescents. This past spring season, there were over 300 Brooklyn Crescents between the grades of Pre-K and 8th grade. The Crescents no longer practice at MacLaughlin Park and now call Poly Prep Country Day School their home field. Poly Prep has two regulation-sized fields for practice and games.
The Crescents have representatives from all five boroughs playing for them currently in high school and below, and now also have players at the college level. Crescents alumni play for high schools such as Xavier, Xaverian, St. Joseph by-the-Sea, Monsignor Farrell, and Poly Prep, just to name a few. Many of these schools have multiple Crescent Alumni. Also Crescent Alum Chris Vogel, who just finished his freshman year of High School at Poly Prep, will be playing lacrosse at St. Anthony’s, a Long Island powerhouse next year.
Just ten years ago, most college lacrosse coaches would never think to recruit for talent in the New York City area. Now there has been a multitude of urban talent being sent to lacrosse programs all over the East Coast. Two of my teammates and close friends will be playing college ball next year. Kyle Vogel (brother of Chris) will be playing at RPI next year, and James Angelilo will be playing at Saint Vincent’s College in Pennsylvania. I will be playing at Mount Saint Mary’s College in Newburgh, New York. There is no doubt in my mind as lacrosse grows in New York City we will start seeing Division 1 lacrosse prospects start popping up out of all five boroughs as well.
Current Professional lacrosse player for the LXM Tour, Johnny Christmas, has also gotten involved by sponsoring the Brooklyn Crescents with his clothing line, Encore Brand. The Crescents also held a beginners clinic on July 13th at Pier 5, Brooklyn Bridge Park, in conjunction with Christmas.
The clinics will continue every Saturday in August as well. The Crescents awarded over 25 scholarships to their current players this season. Nobody who wants to play for the Crescents will ever be turned down for financial reasons.
New York City lacrosse is growing rapidly. The Brooklyn Crescents Lacrosse Program has been remarkable in growing the game in this urban area. I will always remember my roots and I am proud to call myself a Crescent.