On the fourth leg of Going Offsides goes overseas, Ryan and I sit down with Naofumi “Udo” Suzuki, a college professor and Japan national team staff member. Coach Udo discusses various topics regarding lacrosse in Japan, ranging from his own experiences in the game as a player and coach. We talk about his time traveling to the United States to observe lacrosse practices to his current roles working with the national teams.
Going Offsides with Naofumi “Udo” Suzuki
Udo’s experiences and passion for the game are unlike anyone I’ve spoken to in the past and it speaks volumes to Japans ability to become a power on the world scene. Membership in JLA (Japanese Lacrosse Association) stands at nearly 17,000 players, a far cry from the 21 players the country had in 1986.
“ The history of the Japanese Lacrosse starts in April 1986, when a few students of Keio University, spurred by an interest in the sport of Lacrosse, visited the American Embassy,” Udo explained. “Both American and Japanese businessmen and lawyers were introduced to these students and the genuine promotion of lacrosse began.“
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“Through lacrosse the interaction of the younger generation in the world will foster friendship which will lead to mutual understanding” was the aim of these volunteers. For the first time in Japan, 10 sticks were donated by Mr.Ross Jones, Vice President and Secretary of Johns Hopkins University, and Mr. Bob Scott, Director of Athletics of Johns Hopkins University, to Keio University.”
Is anyone shocked that the legendary Bob Scott played a pivotal role in growing the game in Japan? The following year Don Zimmerman, again no surprise legends are involved, held the first ever lacrosse camp in Japan (1987).
Lacrosse is huge in Japan and the results are paying off as they consistently press the top countries in the world at international events.
Join us this fall as we take a deep dive into international lacrosse and what lacrosse looks like in countries all over the world. Later this fall we will look at domestic box teams and educate ourselves about the opportunities that exist in the game.
Stay tuned for more great interviews by Nick and Ryan as they continue to grow the Going Offsides podcast. Keep up with Going Offsides on Twitter and Instagram through The Lacrosse Collective to stay in the conversation.