There is a brand new player in the Junior College lacrosse scene, and it’s all the way out West in the great state of California! Let’s welcome the California Junior College Lacrosse Association (CJCLA) to the game officially!
While the NJCAA oversees most of the junior college athletics in the country, there are enough Junior and Community Colleges in California, and the state is big enough, to have their very own athletic association, called the California Community College Athletic Association, or the CCCAA.
While the CCCAA has not officially endorsed lacrosse, and the CJCLA is not part of the CCCAA, this is a huge move for the West Coast as many more players will be able to continue their careers in college, new players can be introduced to the game at another level, and it could eventually turn into an excellent feeder program for local MCLA teams.
An interesting note about the CJCLA is that they will compete in the Fall semester, instead of the Spring, and for a number of reasons, this is a truly interesting move.
First off, it follows in the footsteps of Diablo Valley College, which is the first JuCo program in California. DVC has run their seasons in the Fall, and they have found that this works well for the students, so the other teams are following their lead.
The second big opportunity that a Fall season presents is for kids who wanted to play MCLA lacrosse, but didn’t have the grades. By spending a fall semester working on academics, and playing lacrosse, it gives local kids a second chance to make it in to a 4-year college.
At the VERY least, it gives another growing swath of the lacrosse community another outlet for competition and improvement, and we always love to see that!
Diablo Valley will not be the only team in the CJCLA either. American River College and Santa Rosa Community College are also slated to have programs this year, and schools like Cuesta College have also shown interest. As long as clubs or programs are recognized by their school, they can join the league.
I got in touch with Matt Blamey, the President of the CJCLA, and he had this to say:
I am very passionate about the junior college athletics mission. There is a huge demand in California for high-level lacrosse at the junior college level. We are working hard to create the foundation and follow the lead of Diablo Valley College. In a very short time, the dominoes will fall and we will see competitive JUCO lacrosse programs all over the state.
When it comes to expanding JuCo, Matt knows what he is talking about. He was the founder and first coach at Northern Virginia CC, one of the newer NJCAA programs back East, which was also the first JuCo program in all of Virginia.
Here is a short excerpt from the Press Release on the CJCLA website:
The primary goal of the CJCLA is to give junior college players a virtual-varsity athletic experience during their junior college years and assist those same student-athletes in fulfilling their dreams of moving on to the 4-year institution of their choice. By providing student-athletes with a regular-season structure, championship tournament, and individual accolades, the CJCLA will give junior college student-athletes an opportunity to continue to compete in the sport that they love while furthering their education.
The official CJCLA season will run during the fall semester, with the first CJCLA championship weekend to be held in December 2013 at Diablo Valley College in Concord, CA. More information will be posted to the CJCLA website (www.cjcla.org) as details are made available. Any interested prospective CJCLA programs are encouraged to contact the CJCLA board directly at email@example.com.
I’m thrilled to see the establishment of this league, and I hope the CCCAA considers officially adding lacrosse in the near future. I would also LOVE to see some sort of All-Star game, or friendly match up, between the NJCAA and CJCLA down the line. Extra exposure for the JuCo game is great, and the JuCo Report is now a year round post!
Grow The Game!
Main Photo Credit: Gilda Rottman