I met Brian Potter in Prague at the Ales Hrebesky Memorial box lacrosse tournament, as we were both playing for Love You To Death. Potter has been over in Europe for a while now, and he has been doing clinics and helping to spread the game in a number of different countries already. Now he is involved with Koolton Lacrosse, and in the interview below he will tell you a lot more about this new European lacrosse brand.
So there is a lacrosse company in SPAIN? How did this get started? And who is behind it?
Yes. It is called Koolton Lacrosse. The headquarters are based in San Sebastian, Spain. However, it is a multinational project with reps in Germany, The Netherlands, Spain, and Serbia, for now. We are currently looking for a rep in the UK and in Scandanavia. Koolton is a 3-part company. We provide lacrosse apparel (and soon equipment), we organize camps, clinics, leagues, and tournaments, and we have a social awareness element which works on projects in much needed areas.
Koolton is an already existing Football (soccer) Company that basically runs the majority of amateur football leagues in Spain. They are also fantastic large-scale tourament organisers.
What are the goals of the company? Can you explain the “giving back” aspect of coaching and clinics?
Koolton’s main goal is to be the engine for growth in Europe, but at the same time ensure that teams who can not afford proper coaches – like in Germany and England for example – can still have access to them for next to nothing. We ask that teams come to us for their apparel and uniform needs and in return we provide them with access to our coaches, our resources found at www.kooltonlacrosse.com, and if a team agrees to purchase all of their apparel from us, we agree to come out there and work with them for a weekend, once a year.
We want lacrosse to grow, but we also want it to grow skill-wise just as quickly.
The others goals include allowing North American Coaches or nationals whose dedication to growth is outstanding a way to suppliment their income. We think that the longer these coaches can stay, the more good they can do. In addition to the European community, Koolton is starting a project which will take place in Eastern Uganda. This is more a social project than lacrosse, but we are very excited about it.
You (Brian Potter) have been in Europe surveying and experiencing the scene for a while now. What changes have you seen in your time there?
I have pretty much been to most areas and seen what is happening. Lacrosse is growing number-wise everywhere, but the skill level is only improving in areas where they have coaches. This is why we at Koolton have developed out strategy to meet this need. We have also seen box lacrosse really growing in recent years. We dont see many new players playing just box, but we see a greater development of skill and a better understanding of the game.
Is the focus on field or box? Both?
The focus right now is more on field lacrosse but we do plan to start some box lacrosse leagues in the near future in the western part of Europe.
Will Europe support a more home grown lacrosse company? Or are the established big names still too big of a draw to overcome right now?
The big names are pretty hard to overcome but I think if we let people know how we are helping the European game and are focused on the European market, we can expect them to come around. The big thing is to get our message spread so that there is more support when we get the more coaches that will have an oppertunity to stay in Europe. Our intentions are really in the right place and I expect most to see that.
Are you going to be putting together teams for tournaments? Anything lined up yet?
We will be putting teams into touraments this summer and next year. But the first thing we are putting together, and the most exciting for us since we are based in Spain, is the first large-scale tourament in Barcelona in October 2014. We have big things planned and will be sending out invitations soon!
How can North Americans get involved in lacrosse in Europe? Does Koolton provide any opportunities?
There are always opportunities for players who want to help grow or improve the game in Europe and travel at the same time. Koolton is always open to new ideas and projects, so if any North Americans are serious about spending some time in Europe, and want to spend time coaching and traveling, I am always there to help. Just send me a message at firstname.lastname@example.org.