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WILC Nation Preview: Israel

WILC 2015 Nation Preview: Israel

It’s time to meet another nation with years of experience under their belts, Israel! This is only their first WILC, but they don’t lack years of floor time.

The World Indoor Lacrosse Championship 2015 takes over the Onondaga Nation next month and in preparation for the historic event we will be taking a deeper look into each of the 13 nations that will be competing for the gold September 18th-27th, 2015!

Competing in their very first WILC is a nation not bound by borders. Israel is a team of diverse athletes with a variety of talents, packing months of practice under their belts.

It’s time to meet the team, although some names will likely be familiar to you.

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Box Lacrosse Founded: 2013
Governing Body: Israel Lacrosse Association
Previous WILC Finish: N/A
Twitter: @Israel_Lacrosse
Instagram: @IsraelLacrosse

Preparations for the WILC 2015

What are some of your biggest concerns when traveling with the Israeli team to the United States and the Onondaga Nation?

No concerns.  We’re tremendously excited to participate in the first-ever international sporting event to be hosted by the Haudenosaunee.

What other obstacles are still in the way of Israel having the ideal trip to the WILC?

September may be our world indoor debut, but, like Denver we’re hoping to be competitive right out of the gate. Unlike our Denver team, where we held a lengthy training camp in conjunction with the Vail Shootout, we made the decision to shorten our training in September to just one day.

We’ve held five tryout/training camps over the last 18 months and we will be well-prepared, but, with the indoor game being so physically demanding, we want to make sure everyone is coming in fresh and healthy as well.

Israel Lacrosse History

When was lacrosse founded in Israel and by whom?

Field lacrosse was established in Israel in 2011 by an organizational group led by Scott Neiss, Bill Beroza, Howard Borkan and Mark Greenberg.

There’s a lot of passion for the indoor game within our leadership; Scott served as an executive at the NLL for almost 10 years and helped lead the US Indoor program at the last two WILCs, while Bill played in the early days of the indoor league and did a tremendous amount of work behind the scenes to help establish the league in Detroit and other markets.

How long has box lacrosse been played in Israel?

WILC Nation Preview: Israel

Tel Aviv LC became the first Israeli club to try box, debuting at the Ales Hrebesky Memorial in April of 2013. The box game is starting to take a foothold with Israeli youth programs, but facilities are an issue.

Right now the box game is mostly played on a roller-hockey rink in the coastal city of Netanya.

2015 Players and Staff

In general, how would you describe the players on the Israeli national team? What are the guys like off the field?

WILC Nation Preview: Israel
Our players are true ambassadors of the game and our country. Many of them have given countless volunteer hours to establish youth lacrosse in our country, and several of our stars are active soldiers in the Israel Defense Forces, which makes training for the WILC tricky.

Which key individuals from your country should lacrosse enthusiasts look toward as an ambassador of the game? Why?

Andrew Copeland stands out as an individual who has worked hard to uniquely develop box lacrosse. As a Canadian who immigrated to Israel last year, Copeland lives and works in Netanya, where he took over the coaching reigns of several U-15 and U-19 youth teams.

Andrew has been teaching the elements of the box game to help make his young athletes “complete lacrosse players”, and it shows. He is also spearheading efforts to renovate the roller-hockey facility into a modern box lacrosse arena.

Who are the team’s most experienced players for the WILC?

Offense: Chad Culp (Buffalo Bandits) has a tremendous amount of pro experience and is expected to be a leader for us. Kevin Harper is a Canadian-Israeli citizen who has a tremendous amount of experience in the indoor game. He’s spent a lot of time in Israel and our training camps in Prague and has been a standout. Both of these guys are also giving back to the program by serving on the coaching staff for the Israel squad which is competing in September’s U-19 event in Six Nations.

Transition: Seth Mahler and Matthew Flapan are two converted Israeli field lacrosse players who have put in a tremendous amount of time to develop their box game. In addition to the Israel camps, they’ve traveled at their own expense to rack up additional experience as loaners for German-club Deutschland Adler in tournaments such as the Mayor’s Cup. Daniel Deckelbaum has some NLL experience with the Philadelphia Wings and brings veteran leadership.
WILC Nation Preview: Israel

Defense: Dalton Lundy is a Canadian-Israeli who has seen plenty of action with the Clarington Green Gaels.  He brings a hard-nosed style of play and a sense of confidence to our defensive unit.

Goal: We feel very strong about our goaltending, as Zachary Higgins (Georgia Swarm) has strong pro experience in the NLL, while Copeland has been exceptional in training events to date.

Who is your coaching staff, what is their experience?

Head coach Brad MacArthur needs no introduction. MacArthur coached Tel Aviv’s first entry in the Ales Hrebsky Memorial in 2013 and has given us a tremendous amount of time, working very hard to develop and teach the box game to our core group over the last three years. Brad also served as a scout for Israel‘s field team in Denver and has embraced the culture of our “mishpacha” (family).

Assistant Coaches: Jason Crosbie is one of the smartest offensive players to ever compete in the NLL; he’s an excellent teacher and brings a tremendous amount of energy to our bench. David Dennenberg has been with our national program since he retired as a player in 2013; he understands our team better than anybody and has the pulse of our players.

What is the team’s ratio of Israeli to North American born players?

WILC Nation Preview: Israel
We’re a unique country in that about half of the world’s Jewish population (look up “the Diaspora”) lives outside Israel, so we have a fairly large pool of experienced players available to us. That being said, we police ourselves well; most of our team is Israel-based.

We’re very conscious of our development, and the guys with their boots on the ground — teaching lacrosse to Israeli youth, playing in our leagues in Israel, and serving in the Israeli military — are the heart and soul of our national team.

Is there anything else you would like the worldwide lacrosse community to know about Switzerland or the team?

To understand Israeli lacrosse culture, you really need to visit Israel. (Do it!)

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Thanks to Israel Lacrosse Director of Operations and WILC 2015 Organizer Scott Neiss for taking the time for this interview.

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