If you are someone that has their finger on the pulse of college recruiting, you will notice that there are more and more college lacrosse student athletes coming from the West Coast, specifically California.
It makes perfect sense if you ask me. California has always been known for producing tremendous athletes, so why should lacrosse be any different?
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Someone that has played a major role in the insurgence of the growth of lacrosse in California is Chris Rotelli. Incase you don’t know, Rotelli hails from Rhode Island, won a Tewaaraton and national title with Virginia and then had a decorated Major League Lacrosse career. He now resides in the Bay Area and runs ADVNC Lacrosse.
Rotelli has developed ADVNC into an elite club and leader in lacrosse education for Northern California. I recently sat down to talk to Rotelli about their brand new showcase Best In The West. The event is a first of it’s kind showcase for Western lacrosse players hoping to play in college.
Q+A with Chris Rotelli
Luke Hitchcock: What exactly is the Best In The West Showcase?
Chris Rotelli: Right now, there are no recruiting showcases for high school players in Northern California. The sport has grown in the past few years on the West and East Coast. There are more and more good players who want to and can play college lacrosse, but not as many showcases in the West. There’s more and more events for kids to go to and what it has lead to is a big advantage in recruiting to East Coast players.
There are recruiting events every weekend on the East Coast. Because there’s so much going on, coaches are making time to make sure they see kids play a lot before they make a decision. What that means for kids in the West is that it’s really expensive. You have to fly across the country at least about 6 times over the course of the year if you even want to be considered as a serious recruit.
So the lack of resources in the West inspired you to start Best in the West?
I wanted to create an event in Northern California where the coaches would fly out and recruit kids. It gives them a chance to play in the West.
We’re trying to get the best kids and coaches to come to the event. My hope is that it will get more kids in the West find opportunities. We also want to do it in a way that doesn’t cost the kids a ton of money.
Do you see a problem with the way things currently are?
I see the current recruiting landscape as a problem. The problem is that it is so hard for kids out west to get recruited. Not everyone can afford flying east. You are starting to see not the best kids in the West get recruited but the kids with the most money. There’s no doubt that the more events you go to the more likely you are to get recruited.
We don’t want kids playing college lacrosse to come down to money. Our goal is to partner with as many people as possible for the event. Cascade and Maverik are currently partners. This is something that we want to get the best kids, the best coaches and turn it into the best possible event. It’s a chance for people in the West to work together and send our best players to college lacrosse.
This sounds like the real deal! What college coaches will be attending Best in the West?
We currently have Virginia, Princeton, Loyola, Utah, and Denver committed to coming to the event. By the game time we will have representation from all levels, so expect eyes from D1, D2, D3, and the MCLA.
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After speaking with Rotelli, I had the opportunity to talk with ADVNC’s Director of Training, Greg Weigel. Weigel was a standout middie and attackman at the University of Denver where he is currently the ninth all-time goal scorer. Weigel decided to keep it short and sweet with his statement,
“I’m most excited about the fact we’re limiting the Best in the West to 80 players per grade. It actually is the best players in the West. We’re working with our partners in Canada, Southern California, Colorado, and Utah to make sure we get the best players in those areas too.
Keeping it limited at every grade insures that the coaches that come will really be able to recruit the cream of the crop. We truly believe that everyone that comes will really get a look to play in college. It’s not just a Norcal event it’s the entire. We will also be inviting current committed players from the West so that the coaches can compare the uncommitted players to the committed players. It’s the top players whether they’re the committed or not.”
The Best Gets Better
The Best In The West Showcase is certainly going to be a special event. They just added the winningest coach in NCAA Lacrosse history to the staff. 4-time National Champion with Virginia, Dom Starsia is on board as a tournament director.
Starsia’s role as a director will include bringing in elite college coaches, speaking with the parents and athletes, as well as a field director at the event. We recommend that any lacrosse player looking toward the collegiate level throw their name in the hat. Keep your eyes on the event page as things build up!