Lacrosse in Turkey seems to be growing at an accelerated pace and we are constantly seeing all the fantastic things they are doing through their social media outlets. So after their recent National Team training camp, we asked Patrick Dougherty (Executive Director-Turkey Lacrosse Association) to give us a brief overview of the event.
“Turkey Lacrosse hosted its first ever national team camp from June 28-30 2013 in Istanbul, Turkey. Players from the US, Turkey, Germany and Switzerland joined this historic event. All-in-all, we had 23 players come to camp and was a great success. Head Coach Marty Lattman and Assistant Coach and Offensive Coordinator, Thomas Moore, flew in from the US to run the camp.
We had 5 players from our Ankara program compete. This is significant because the Ankara program has been training since September 2012 with only sticks and gloves as our organization does not have enough equipment for everyone. This was the first time the Ankara boys put helmets on, pads and played in real structured games and trainings. They did remarkably well and adapted very quickly.
Training camp ended on June 30 and some of the players flew back home while others took July 1st as a day of rest. July 2nd, we took 15 and headed to Israel to play in a week full of games and trainings. Israel Lacrosse and Turkey Lacrosse are brother programs and was a pleasure and honour to go to Israel.
Our first game was against Jerusalem on July 3rd, this was a warm-up game before we played the Israel national team the next day. The games was close and this was our first real game against an opponent for our new founded national team. Everyone played their hearts out.
On the morning of July 4th, Turkey went to a youth camp Israel lacrosse was running at the time for about 50 Israeli youth and helped instruct the kids. This experience was amazing for our Turkish lads to see so many kids wanting and willing to learn our great sport. Kudos to Israel Lacrosse for implementing a great youth program and the hard work is truly paying off.
The evening of July 4th saw the 2nd annual friendly between Turkey and Israel. Israel came to Istanbul in June 2012 for our first annual and now, here we are, in Israel playing. Amazing!! Israel won the game 13-6 and this score doesn’t reflect the education my young Turks received during the game. Our Turkish team comprised of mostly 16 year-olds with roughly 2 years experience meanwhile the Israel was compromised with mostly early twenties to late teens and kids playing either formerly or currently,NCCA DI through DIII. My Turkish players truly held their own and am extremely proud of them.
The next 2 days we were off for the observance of Shabbat. Friday, July 5th was an honour for us to observe Shabbat and enjoy a traditional Shabbat dinner with our Israeli brothers. This was for most of my kids, their first experience of this kind.
Saturday, July 6th came and most of the players, both Israeli and Turkish, all went to the Dead Sea for a day trip. The bonds that grew over this short time between the programs and players will never be forgotten.
On the morning of July 7, Sunday, we played our final game against the USA Stars. Once again, the final score did not reflect in our favour but the lessons learned are invaluable. USA Stars won the tourney, Israel came in second and Turkey third.
After the game, everyone boarded a bus to travel to Old Jerusalem. This trip brought all of us even closer and helped each of us understand each other’s belief’s in a new light.
July 8 was a rest day and all teams just hung out in Tel Aviv on the beach and played beach lacrosse and swam or sunbathed. Our final night ended with a BBQ at the Israel Lacrosse Embassy and was an emotional ending to our fantastic and unforgettable trip.
We flew out of Tel Aviv in the early morning of July 9th and came our unscathed from Israel Border Control and back to Istanbul.
In 2012, Turkey and Israel decided to play an annual friendly between our programs where each team will travel to the other’s country every other year. Since next year is the FIL World Championships, rather than Israel flying to Istanbul. It has been decided to play our 3rd annual friendly right before the FIL World Games at the University of Denver. Then 2015 will resume our normally schedule.”