By virtue of their 6th place finish in 2014, the 2018 Scotland Lacrosse national team qualified for the vaunted Blue Division in Israel. They will be playing the US, Canada, the Iroquois, Australia, and England in this division, and it’s going to be some very exciting lacrosse! I was the GM for Thailand in 2014 and we played Scotland in our opening game, and you could tell this was a team that had a shot at a top 6 finish right away. Scotland proved it out, finished high, and now has a huge task ahead of them.
Brian Silcott is the Head Coach for Scotland, and the former Nazareth, NLL, and MLL star has a bright vision for the 2018 squad, as well as for the future of Scotland Lacrosse. Learn more below as we talk to Brian Silcott about the current status of the team.
How was the 2018 Scotland Lacrosse training team experience in California? What did you guys get out of that multi-day trip?
The CA Tour went well, and we were able to accomplish all of our goals for the trip. The men were hosted by families from the Firehawks Youth Lacrosse program and spent nine days training at Woodside Priory and playing games around the area against Stanford, NDNU, Cal, Olympic Club, Marin LC, and Barbary Coast LC. We finished off the week with a double header against Utah and Marquette.
Throughout the week we were able to evaluate talent, put in systems and get to know each other as a team. In addition to my assistant coaches Peter Lawrence and Mark Hodkin, Anthony Kelly came in to work with our Face off guys and our strength and conditioning coach Adam Terry was able to evaluate and work with all of the guys to develop workout plans for the next few months. We were also lucky enough to get our trainer, Elizabeth Zanolli, on loan from Stony Brook for the week. All in all it was a solid trip and we were able to narrow the squad down to 28 Players.
That kind of sounds like it was all lacrosse, but we did do some fun stuff as well, including a team hike up Windy Hill in Portola Valley (perhaps a bit of fun training), a scavenger hunt and dinner in San Francisco, trip to the beach and sunset bagpipes at the Ritz Carlton in Half Moon Bay, and a team dinner at Box Headquarters in Redwood City. The Firehawks families took good care of the guys and really added a great element to the trip, and it really helped to keep our costs down. Folks fed the boys, loaned us cars, and even let us tear up their back yard playing 3x.
While we are still about 6 months out, it looks like 2018 is going to be very competitive! What are your expectations heading in to the world championships for the general caliber of play?
It will be very high. No doubt about it. I think there will be at least 10 teams coming in thinking they have a legitimate shot at a medal. I expect almost every team to be better than in 2014 with some taking huge strides. Puerto Rico didn’t even exist in 2014 and their roster is loaded with D1 guys and talent all around.
We are focusing on our game right now and becoming the best team we can be. We are well aware that every member of our team, from players to coaches to trainers, will need to be at the top of their game to make this a successful Championship for Scotland. Playing in the Blue division will be a grind. We start off battling through games against the top five teams in the world and only after that do we begin the real battle for final placement in the event through knock out play. It is going to be a blast.
What is going on in Scotland now to Grow The Game? What is the current status of any leagues or organizations? How can the men’s national team help that process along?
Not enough. It is not an easy task, but work is being done. The reality is that nobody really plays lacrosse until University. There is a fair amount of youth lacrosse down in England, where many Clubs have youth teams, but in Scotland there are a few University Teams, a few men’s teams and that is about it. The good news is there are a lot of great guys in the University and Club ranks who have the ability to become a generation of coaches who bring lacrosse back to their home towns throughout the country. What it needs more than anything is a program similar to England’s LDO (local development officer) where they recruit young college grads to recruit and coach new lacrosse players in addition to playing for the local club.
Can lacrosse become a truly popular sport in Scotland? What are some things currently holding the sport back? Is there any way to address those issues over the short and/or long term?
I think the best bet is to start youth lacrosse as a no equipment ball and stick game. Start with 3 areas. Glasgow, Edinburgh and Dundee. Get an LDO in each area charged with getting 40 10-12 year olds playing 3v3 or 4v4 lacrosse with real sticks, soft balls and small goals. When those kids get to HS age, as long as you have 15-30 in each area still in the program, you could keep them in the game by having a 3-6 team national league. If you pick up more or lose less kids over the years you have even more teams. The key is that now kids would enter University as lacrosse players, already possessing core skills. It would be an absolute game changer. Even if the numbers only ever grew to 200 or so kids playing in the entire country it would make a monumental difference. And we all know that once kids start playing, other kids want to play.
Running any national team is a huge honor, but you really seem to get into it with Scotland, go the extra mile and rock the kilt often… you even have your son wearing one! What does it mean to you personally to be entrusted with coaching Scotland?
It is a true honor. There is no better way to put it. I love the country and, while I do have Scottish heritage, my greatest pride in the program comes through the team’s love for the game, and their love for each other. I have a great group of men who come from 4 different countries and all take tremendous pride in their Scottish heritage. Because of this, I take it very seriously and commit time to Scotland Lacrosse every week. I have been fortunate enough to have Peter Lawrence join me as our defensive coordinator and I know he is back in Philly studying film and adjusting his plans for Israel. When you spend time with these guys it is impossible to not get wrapped up in it.
As for the kilt is just a great thing. Everyone should try it.
How can people get involved and help Scotland Lacrosse for 2018, and beyond?
I would offer up three ways that people can get involved, in order of importance:
A. Donate money. Our players pay 100% of the costs for the National Team out of pocket and Lacrosse Scotland has barley enough money to keep the University and Mens/Womens club leagues going. Lacrosse Scotland consists of one employee.
B. Donate time. Come over to Scotland and coach.
C. Donate gear. If we are going to get youth lacrosse going getting sticks on the ground in Scotland will be one of the larger budget items. I also have to believe that the expense of buying a full set of gear is a barrier to entry for many University students.
If anyone wants to support Scotland Lacrosse they can reach me at email@example.com.