Editor’s Note: Please welcome German National Team Player, Jordan West-Pratt, to the LAS blogosphere. Jordan will be checking in from time to time with some help from Matt Althauser as Deutschland works its way through the Plum division playing Norway, Spain and Hong Kong. The Germans are coached by Jack Kaley of NY Tech fame (NCAA D2) and if his team is anything like the old NYIT teams that I used to scrimmage against, the rest of the world needs to look out!
Coach Jack Kaley is a legend and a hall of famer and his experience shows in the way he has brought this team together through the Berlin Open and the training camp that followed. Most bloggers provide a little background and a timeline and I will try to do the same.
Team Selection began in October of this year, cold and wet with nearly 75 of Germany’s best. It lasted three days and included lots of running and skill assessment. Coaches Kaley and Bergerson were in from the U.S. and had their hands full looking over such a big group; what they tell us is the most talented group so far. The coaches are here to help Germany to compete in the World Games, but also to grow the sport here in Germany so the camp involved a lot of coaching and a ton of wisdom. No player went home without having gotten better. First selection was made and a lucky group was invited back to January camp.
Colder still. Three more days, less running but more assessment of player ability to learn and adapt to new sets and schemes. Kaley was back for a second trip to Germany in only 4 months. More teaching, and again every player got better. Veteran leaders stepped up in their roles and emerged as the heart of the team. Hendrik Dubois, brother Frederik and long standing national team players Florian Krippendorf and Chrissy Frank set the tone for players. All four have played for Kaley, and all four helped new-comers like myself adjust to the pace and the expectations.
Final roster was announced a few weeks later, and except for a couple of changes due to injury and work commitments, players could settle into their final stretch of conditioning in preparation for the Berlin open in June, and the Training camp in July.
The Berlin Open:
Arguably the best international field lacrosse tournament in Europe. Players selected to the final roster had received a playbook, and were expected to hit the field in Berlin with it memorized. There was a little bit of line shuffling and a lot of team building. The Germans finished second in the tournament, falling in the final to a very strong Gatorade team. The tournament served in my mind to show the members of the team just how competitive and successful they can be in Manchester.
Training Camp: Grünberg, Germany
8 days, 40 hours of training, 21 team meals, and 95 degrees. Not far from Frankfurt in a small town with nothing but training facilities, the team began their training with fitness testing on the first Saturday of July. The next days would see the team run, run a little more, and then do some more running. Kaley’s philosophy is simple, run the other team into the ground. And this team, with few exceptions, is built for exactly that.
We continued to polish the rides and clears, the offensive sets, and to develop the team chemistry necessary for a run deep into the tournament. Coaches Kaley, Bergerson and the German Assistant Coaches and trainers Jan Mueller, Florian Kornprobst, Tim Grünke, Markus Otto, kept us all healthy and focused while we trained harder and longer than we could have thought possible.
While at camp we received all of our team gear, pro7’s, King IIs, and Addidas warm-ups. Many thanks to our sponsors for this.
This will be my first World Games. More nervous and excited now than ever before in my career. Playing on one of the most complete teams ever to offer me a jersey. I was born and raised in Canada, but I have been in Germany for two years now, living here with my wife, learning the language. Love this place, love this team, and I can’t wait to take the field with these guys, follow the flag out in the opening ceremonies. See you all in Manchester!
More Editor’s Notage: If you want to write for LAS or just send in some pictures or updates from the FIL World Games, send me an email at [email protected] and I’ll make sure to get it up on the Site!