The 2018 World Championships for men’s lacrosse will be held in Israel, and while we knew that already, we did NOT know where specifically in Israel the games would be played. I was leaning towards Tel Aviv, or that general area, and while my guess was quite close, it was a little off.
The games will actually be held just outside of Tel Aviv, in Netanya, which is located about 20 miles to the North. While it’s not the city proper, it’s close enough that everyone can still fly into Tel Aviv. But instead of letting me tell you about it, I’ll let Jared Borkan tell you about it. He’s actually been to Israel, and his father, Howie, is on the Executive Board for Israel Lacrosse. Jared also plays for me in New York City, loves lacrosse, and is in 8th grade. I’m sure you’ll hear more from him the years to come as he is an avid appreciator of sport.
Take it away, Jared:
Israel has won the bid to host the Men’s World Lacrosse Championships in 2018. There has been a lot of speculation but not a lot of information as to where in Israel the 2018 World Championships would be held. It will be announced on Tuesday, May 23rd that the World Championships would be held in Netanya. The city is located right on the Mediterranean Sea and has great facilities, housing, and is easily accessible to tourist attractions.
England Backs Out
Several years ago, and in light of its success hosting the 2010 Men’s Senior World Championships, the English Lacrosse Association had been awarded the privilege of hosting the 2018 Championships in Manchester. I attended the games in Manchester in 2010, and despite the daily rain, I remember the games as a truly great event, in which the United States defeated Canada in a memorable 12-10 championship game.
As it will be summer time in Israel, and although the host city is on the Mediterranean Sea, the climate is dry and daily rain is extremely unlikely. The reasons for England opting out are not important, but the idea that the Federation of International Lacrosse was able to secure another host, on short notice, in a country that is not on the North American continent or in the blue division, and with so little time before the event is set to start is astonishing.
Israel lacrosse will be hosting the World Lacrosse Championships in 2018. Why Israel? Israel is a major tourist attraction, with a surplus of historical, archaeological, and religious sites, along with great beaches. Over 2.9 million tourists visited Israel in 2016. For the countries coming from the European continent and Asia, the cost of traveling to Israel is cheaper than the cost of traveling to North America. In addition, the travel time is reduced tremendously for many of these countries. Israel, which became an member of the FIL in 2011 also provides the international lacrosse organization with the opportunity to have one of its newer nations host the Championships.
The 2018 Men’s World Championships will be staged in a city of Netanya. Why Netanya? Netanya is known as the “Israeli Riviera”; a city that offers great resorts looking over the Mediterranean Sea. It is city steeped in Jewish culture, education, and sports. For lacrosse, Netanya is great too. The Barak Netanya Lacrosse Club, known as Barak Netanya LC is Israel’s strongest lacrosse program. Boys and girls between the ages of 8 through 22 participate in lacrosse. The Netanya LC program has taken strong root, with domestic born and raised Israeli U-19 players coaching their younger peers at the U-11 level. On the field, the Barak Netanya LC’s U-19 Boys Lacrosse team recently finished 4-1 in the Zombies Cup in Serbia, earning them third place of eight teams.
A snapshot of Israel Lacrosse
I have been around Israel Lacrosse since it started in 2011. Israel Lacrosse was founded by four individuals, Bill Beroza, Howie Borkan, Mark Greenberg, and Scott Neiss. In my early years, I had the idea of introducing lacrosse to the people of Israel, but I thought it would never catch on. However, through the efforts of these four and many others Israel Lacrosse has grown rapidly.
In a recent article by Connor Wilson, regarding the staging of the 2018 Men’s World Lacrosse Championships in Israel, he pointed out that flights from many places in Europe and Asia are very affordable. As Israel sits at the cross-roads of three continents, making direct flights to Tel Aviv more affordable.
The games will be played at Wingate Institute which serves as Israel’s National Centre for Physical Education and Sport. Wingate Institute is Israel’s primary University for physical education teachers, as well as the nation’s official training centre for national teams, and the Israeli Olympic Team. The campus hosts the Maccabiah games every four years. There is no doubt that Wingate has the facilities which can host an event like the Men’s Lacrosse World Championships. The big games will be held at Netanya Stadium which is a state-of-the-art 13,000-seat major league venue.
Israel is a tourist attraction and a beautiful country with a lot of rich history. For this reason, Israel Lacrosse is encouraging teams to travel to Jerusalem for a tour of the old city, float in the Dead Sea, climb Masada, or enjoy the beaches in Netanya, among the many things to do and see in Israel.
Hope to see you in Israel!
Below, you can find a press release from Israel Lacrosse pertaining to the announcement of the final site location for the games:
For the first time ever, 50 countries, 2,000 athletes and fans from all over the world will convene in Netanya, Israel for lacrosse’s flagship international competition
Netanya, Israel, May 23, 2017 – Israel was today officially announced as the host nation for the 2018 FIL Men’s World Lacrosse Championships. In a special press conference Netanya Mayor, Miriam Feirberg-Ikar and Chairman of the Israel Lacrosse Association (ILA), Scott Neiss, unveiled that Israel’s city of Netanya will host the sport’s pinnacle competition that will include 50 participating countries and more than 5,000 fans from all over the world between July 12-21, next summer.
Israel’s opportunity to host the World Lacrosse Championship comes in light of the country’s recent success in the international arena, in which Israel won second place in the 2016 European championship and seventh place in the most recent World Championship in 2014. Israel has become the fastest growing nation in the sport, with eight competing cities and hundreds of players up and down the country, which placed Israel as one of the leading candidates for the World Championship in 2018. Israeli teams have competed in every Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL) and European Lacrosse Federation (ELF) event since their debut in 2012.
After Manchester, England withdrew from hosting the World Championship, Israel stepped in and submitted its first-ever bid to host the games in Netanya. This is the very first time since the competition’s inception in 1967 that a country outside of the US, Canada, England and Australia has hosted the Championship and signifies a major expansion of the sport, both in Israel and globally. The 2018 FIL Men’s World Lacrosse Championships is also set to be the largest event of its kind to ever take place, with a proposed 50 countries trumping the 2014 total of 38 in Denver, Colorado.
Netanya was chosen to host the event due to the city’s achievements in sport and its success in hosting a variety of international competitions, including the European Swimming Championships, World Surfing Championships, international tennis tournaments and European Football Championships (under 21).
“It’s a true honor and testament to the Israel Lacrosse Association, our Board, our Membership and our Supporters that we are to be hosting the sport’s pinnacle event next summer,” said Scott Neiss, Executive Director of the Israel Lacrosse Association. “The success of Israel Lacrosse both internationally, that sees us ranked seventh in the world and the domestic infrastructure we’ve established at grassroots level here in Israel, put us in good standing when submitting our bid to host the FIL World Championships and we’re delighted to showcase our country, our facilities, and the spirit of Israel to the world.”
“Israel who became a member in 2011 has very quickly marched up the leaderboard, not only at our world events, where they ranked 7th in Denver in 2014, but they have also created a model domestic development plan, which is something that all of our new members can aspire to,” said Stan Cockerton, President of the Federation of International Lacrosse. “We are all confident that the 2018 World Championships in Israel will be an event that players, coaches, fans and all our members around the world can be proud of.”
About the Israel Lacrosse Association (ILA):
The Israel Lacrosse Association is a nonprofit organization that represents Israel in the international and European federations. It aims to promote lacrosse in Israel by allocating resources, promoting programs and supporting local athletes from all over the country. The organization’s vision is based on the belief that lacrosse has an important and significant role in strengthening the ties of Diaspora Jewry to Israel.
So… there you have it! We now know where the games are being held, where teams will stay, where big games will be played, etc, etc, etc. Are there a million other questions? Of course.
WHO IS GOING TO WIN? Ok, that’s one. There will be others. 2018 keeps coming at you like a freight train.