Editor’s Note: Join us in welcoming Frederic Larsson to LaxAllStars! Fred will be one of LAS’s resident “Brit abroad” writers this year as the UK native spends the school year in the US at Cal State Long Beach in Southern California. He will be sharing his experiences in the States all year on LAS! If you missed his first few entries, check them out here!
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It’s already December and it’s crazy to think, but I’ve now been in Long Beach for just over 3 and a half months!
I’m loving every moment of it, and despite it being offseason lacrosse continues to be a regular occurrence. The CSULB team roster is now getting finalized and I’ve been playing a lot with the Long Beach Men’s team. In this past month or so I’ve been continuing to try and improve as much as possible and I’m really seeing the benefits of training and playing with players of a higher ability than mine!
The biggest issue I’ve been faced with since my last post is getting my stick dialed in. Having spent two years playing without any significant restrictions on my head or pocket, I’ve now had to factor in the stringent American regulations.
This means I’ve gone from using a high school spec STX Surgeon with two U-shooting strings to playing with an X-spec head and NCAA-specific stringing. I spent the first few weeks using a STX Professor but I found the pocket never did what I wanted it to. So, for the time being, I’ve put that aside and after much tweaking and variation I’ve settled on a Reebok 9k that I’ve strung with 20mm Throne mesh and it’s working perfectly for me.
With the Long Beach men’s team we were set to continue playing in the Los Angeles ULAX league until we lost 7-6 to the Chiefs in the first round of the playoffs, an upset as we beat them 8-4 the week before. The game was incredible hard fought by both teams, but the Chiefs managed to put one more goal in the net than we did.
Despite this, we took a trip down to the San Diego naval base this past weekend to play in a scrimmage against Navy Gold. We had to get escorted into the base and took us some time to get to the playing field due to the sheer size of the naval base.
The game was a lot of fun despite the heat, and we won 11-9 in the end. It was probably one of my better games since I’ve been here in California and I won the majority of faceoffs and even got an unassisted goal straight from a faceoff win! Overall, playing Navy Gold was a great experience especially since I got to visit a naval base, something which I’ve never done before.
With my university squad, CSULB, we went down to UC San Diego to play in two scrimmage games against league rivals California State University, San Marcos, as well as the Filipino National Team. I got to play against another country, something I never thought would happen!
We took 17 players down to San Diego, which was smaller than both the CSUSM and Filipino squads who seemed to have closer to 25 players with them. Our team consists of players of varying ability from those with NCAA experience down to players who’ve played for a just few years like me, and one or two who’ve only been playing for a few months.
However, we only lost 6-5 to San Marcos – with one of our key players dislocating his shoulder 20 seconds into the first possession of the game – and we tied 4-4 with the Philippines. An amazing effort from the guys considering it was our first real test as a collective team, as well as the fact that we were missing several other players who were unable to make the trip down to San Diego.
The following weeks will see our trainings get more intense with a lot more focus being put upon team play rather than individual skills. As before, wall ball, lifting, and conditioning will continue to be a key part of my routine so that I’m in the best shape I can be when the season starts. This is in addition to balancing lacrosse with academic commitments, because technically I’m in my third year so I should definitely set time aside for schoolwork.
With finals around the corner and the spring season coming ever closer, it’s time to put my head down and finish the fall semester strong!
Featured Photo Credit: Michael Bell Films