Editor’s Note: My thanks to Novi Sad local and Serbian lacrosse pioneer Marko Josipovic for helping to get me caught up with all things lax over in Serbia. Let’s get to know the country at the crossroads between Central and Southeast Europe that’s picking up the game with some speed.
Serbian Lacrosse: A Brief History
Lacrosse in Serbia was founded about 4 years ago when Brian Gorodetsky, a Canadian national teaching at an international school in Belgrade, showed the game to several ice hockey players, which quickly became very interested in it.
The group started practicing together along with two other Serbian players who came back from the United States where they found lacrosse. Shortly after, the first Serbian club was formed, known as the Belgrade Zombies.
Participation grew and the Zombies needed competition so two more clubs formed, known as the Belgrade Bears and Novi Sad Phantoms (originally the Belgrade Phantoms).
Currently there are 3 active clubs, with 5 more in the works all over Serbia. Serbian Lacrosse is proud to have accumulated 40 active players and 50 others who are waiting for the formation of teams and or still gathering gear.
The past year was a huge leap for Serbian Lacrosse as the Belgrade zombies, which are participating in many international tournaments, won the CELL league in Budapest, Hungary.
Serbian Lacrosse ran into a few hiccups along the road. Although they were able to play their first ever lacrosse matches with just teams from Serbia. The government isn’t ready to support the cause until the were able to host a league with 5 or more teams.
Like most countries, the biggest problem right now is acquiring gear. Most of the gear in Serbia is well used and often missing pieces because it’s hard for them to afford the costs of shipping gear internationally. In Serbia, living standards are much different from the way they are in America. Some of their typical daily struggles make buying expensive gear seem impossible and even if they want to shop around, the closest store is in Germany. The unfortunate side to ordering gear is the taxes are almost more expensive than what was ordered.
A Serbian Lacrosse GoFundMe was set up to support their growth, which I highly encourage donating to. You can also contact email@example.com. to learn more on how to donate gear to Serbia, their greatest need.
Preparing for the 2015 WILC
Experienced coaches aren’t the only thing positive addition to the Serbian lacrosse indoor national team, NLL superstars Ilija and Alex Gajic along with Nik Bilic are joing the roster to help lead the young Serbian team.
Recently while the Gajic brothers were visiting where their mother grew up in Serbia, the were able to connect with the local lacrosse scene. Having not brought their equipment, the were surprised to see how quickly they could pull gear together so they could hop in a game. Having spoken with Ilija about the experience, you could tell he was humbled and inspired by the passion of the Serbian nationals to improve at the sport he grew up loving.
We will catch up more with the Serbian indoor national team as September draws near. As I mentioned earlier, the best way to support their trip to Syracuse is by donating to their GoFundMe page.
This month, before preparations in the box really begin, Serbian Lacrosse will host the Zombies Cup featuring 10 teams from around Europe competing to become King Zombie (I made up the title).
Italian, Russian, Hungarian, Slovenian, Austrian, Croatian, Serbian and Polish teams will all be making their way to this year’s event.
The event is next weekend in Belgrade, you can find out more and support the tournament by checking out the Zombies Cup Facebook page.