Puerto Rico became the Federation of International Lacrosse’s (FIL) 56th member nation as a result of a postal vote of federation members in October 2016.
We are excited and looking forward to working with your talented and energetic team to help grow the game in your country. I think the future of lacrosse in Puerto Rico is very bright.
“Congratulations to Puerto Rico, the 56th member of the Federation of International Lacrosse,” said Bob DeMarco, FIL’s Development Committee Chair. “We are excited and looking forward to working with your talented and energetic team to help grow the game in your country.”
FIL Director of Development, Tom Hayes, was pleased to see Puerto Rico become a member. “FIL welcomes Puerto Rico into the membership of lacrosse playing nations. We’re thrilled to be a part of the growth of lacrosse in Puerto Rico and the region.” Puerto Rico joins Bermuda, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Haiti, Jamaica and Mexico as member nations in FIL’s Central America and Caribbean region.
Former Liberty University club lacrosse teammates Nathan Lowmaster and Miguel Lozada are co-founders of Puerto Rico Lacrosse (PRLAX). Lowmaster acts as current President, and Lozada serves as Secretary of PRLAX. “This is the result of many ‘what if’ conversations,” said Lowmaster, “and those conversations spawned endless efforts to bring the dream of Puerto Rico Lacrosse to reality.”
PRLAX’s acceptance as a FIL member is the culmination of those efforts. “We are honored and humbled to contribute to the growth of lacrosse across the globe. The FIL has pioneered a tremendous task that we’re excited to partner with,” said Lowmaster.
“Team Puerto Rico,” as Lowmaster describes them, is the four-member board and coachthat drive the PRLAX bandwagon. Joining Lowmaster and Lozada are PRLAX Vice-President Luis Gonzalez, Treasurer Yarizbeth Ortiz, and Coach/Administrator Joffre Salazar – known to everyone connected to the organization as simply, “Coach Sal.”
“Everything resulted from lacrosse in the United States,” explained Lowmaster.
In the past decade alone, over half a million Puerto Ricans have moved to the mainland United States to escape a weak economy and gain better opportunities. As a result, there are many first, second and third generation Puerto Ricans playing the sport of lacrosse at the youth, high-school, collegiate and professional level across the U.S. Organized inner-city lacrosse programs have grown over the past few years making lacrosse a legitimate choice for many Puerto Ricans. With so many Puerto Ricans already involved in the sport here in the U.S., it was all about building relationships.
“Puerto Ricans get a stick in their hands in Brooklyn, Baltimore, Miami – and the next thing you know they’re traveling back to their homeland and introducing the sport to friends and family,” Lowmaster said.
According to Lowmaster, since forming PRLAX a little over four months ago, the non-profit governing body for lacrosse in Puerto Rico has received hundreds of membership requests, emails, and phone calls about how Puerto Ricans that currently play or coach the game in the U.S. can get involved. “Even non-Puerto Ricans are hyped about the game’s introduction in Puerto Rico,” said Lowmaster. “The fact that the interest was so great led us to hosting events, our first being in Brooklyn, NY. That event was a tremendous success as Puerto Rican lacrosse players came together to network, compete, and discuss the growth of lacrosse in Puerto Rico.”
PRLAX’s next event will be in Delray Beach, Florida in January. Lowmaster’s enthusiasm is contagious, “We will ‘rally the troops’ to continue the explosive interest in lacrosse in Puerto Rico, and to bridge the gap between stateside Puerto Ricans and Puerto Ricans that live on the island.” Interested parties should contact email@example.com for more information about the Delray Beach event.
PRLAX has also conducted clinics in Mayaguez and San Juan, and hosts weekly open instructional clinics with Coach Sal.
“I think the future of lacrosse in Puerto Rico is very bright,” concluded FIL’s DeMarco.