With the Vail Lacrosse Tournament coming up next week, the whole Vail Valley will be bustling with activity and excitement. We sat down with the founders of the tournament, siblings Mark Foster and Kristen Cooley, to find out why they started it and what makes it one of the popular special summer events West of the Mississippi.
Why did you start the Vail Lacrosse Tournament?
The event started because of our dad. When we started playing in the second grade there was no youth lacrosse in Colorado so we had to create clubs and tournaments. My dad and his friends started the first youth teams in Colorado and continued to work with friends, old teammates and other people in the lacrosse community to grow the sport. The Vail Lacrosse Tournament has always been about the players, families, coaches and the sport. It has always been about fun and playing with current and future teammates in one of the most beautiful and memorable locations.
Why do you think coaches and families choose the Vail Lacrosse Tournament over other tournament options?
As the sport continues to grow, there are so many options for teams to compete in other events. We are truly blessed and thankful that teams continue to attend the Vail Lacrosse Tournament and enjoy the event. 50% of our teams travel from out-of-state and a high percentage of them keep returning every year. I think the reason that teams keep returning is that they enjoy the competition, the scenery, and the overall experience of the event. Most importantly, the teams, players, coaches and parents enjoy the memories, adventures and friendship they create during the Vail Lacrosse Tournament.
How would you describe the evolution of talent at the event over the past 22 years?
Over the last 22 years, the event continues to grow. The talent remains competitive, but what makes the event great is that clubs from all over the United States. 50% of our teams travel from out-of-state and we hope to increase that every year. To date, we have teams from California, Utah, Idaho, Texas, Colorado, Minnesota, Maryland, Carolina (N&S), Wisconsin, Florida attend the Vail Lacrosse Tournament.
Off the top of your head, how many programs can you name that come back to Vail year-after-year?
FCA, Team Colorado, Scorpions, Colorado Fire, C2C, Denver Elite, Denver Summit, Team 180, Club Blue, West Coast Starz, Next Level, DOCO Lacrosse, 212 Lacrosse, Fuzion Lacrosse, Iron Horse… but there are so many more, and all of them deserve recognition!
Where can people learn about your event and getting involved next year?
The best place for information about the Vail Lacrosse Tournament is vaillacrosse.com. If those reading this are new to the event, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. We’re always excited to speak with new programs and help you put together a plan.
LaxAllStars will be on site at this year’s event, and we can’t wait! Here’s a deeper look at the event via video:
Keep your eyes peeled in Vail for the guy in the Grow The Game tee!