As we continue to shine a light on countries working diligently to grow the game, we now take a deeper look into lacrosse in Belgium.
Below is our conversation with Marco Daniele of the Belgium Lacrosse Federation.
Lacrosse has been growing slowly but steadily in Belgium since 2009. There are now roughly a dozen clubs around the country, many of which include a women’s team and even a youth program. Every club has been created following private initiatives from current or former players who wanted to develop the sport closer to home.
Who is responsible for starting lacrosse in your country?
The first club was founded in 2009 in Bonheiden. The Red Rhinos Lacrosse Club have since been going strong and won multiple Belgian leagues and cups. They are also relatively well-known in Europe for hosting the annual Rhinocup, which welcomes every club wanting to have a fun weekend of lacrosse in Belgium.
Belgian clubs are active in men’s, women’s, and youth lacrosse. As of this year, a new box lacrosse league has been created, and some clubs have already informed the federation that they are interested in participating. The Sixes will probably be Belgium Lacrosse’s next big development step as we would like to jump on it as fast as possible.
What do you want the world to know about lacrosse in your country?
We want to tell them that they should consider us as a country that can provide high-level athletes, officials, and events to the entire world lacrosse community and that our community may be small, but man is it strong and invested!
We now have 586 registered players in the Belgian Federation.
What kind of support do you need and how can people provide that help?
What we especially need is a bit more gear to be able to create more clubs from scratch and provide them with equipment right away. We also need a lot more exposure from national and international supports in order to reach out to everyone interested and willing to help in any way or join the community. The best way to do it is having people talk about Belgium Lacrosse, and we need to go out there (international events/ Olympics) even more to show that we are a lacrosse country that has something to offer: officials, male and female players, representatives, and more.
What events do you plan to play in over the next 12 months?
As a federation, we will plan our typical year: the Belgian League is all-year long, and the Belgian Cup is one weekend. The new box league will be held during winter break, which spans three weekends. We also count on our usual organizing clubs to plan their fun and welcoming events, such as Rhinocup (Bonheiden), Summerlax (Braine), Sinterklax, and “Golden Cup” Cup (Brussels).
How Do You Grow the Game and What Can We Expect From Belgium Lacrosse Moving Forward?
We have had a development officer for two years now that focuses on organizing clinics all around schools and youth meetings. We are planning on having a second one by next year. All the rest is basically done by the clubs themselves. They are trying to get as much exposure as they can in their regions by participating in regional events or organizing clinics themselves.
In 10 years, we would like for lacrosse to be twice as big as it is now by also having college clubs that could start a college league on their own. We will create a new development department inside of the Belgian Lacrosse Federation and allocate all resources it needs to develop the game on a national level.
The Olympic Impact
We have seen this in Belgium already with the tremendous growth hockey has had some years ago because our national team did so well. I think that, even with a lesser-skilled team competing, exposure itself would be enough to get us a lot of new members and grow our community.
We are looking forward to meeting anyone who wants to visit Belgium, participate in a tournament, come share their knowledge, officiate, and any other lacrosse-related activity. You’ll always be welcomed with a hug and a beer!