By Nick Salen
Kids and adults wandered around the 2012 Dick’s Sporting Goods Midwest Cup with the distinguishable sight of bright green and black jerseys stretched from field to field. That’s because seven teams from the True Lacrosse organization participated in this year’s tournament in St. Louis, Mo. with four finishing in the top three spots in their respective divisions.
“We worked hard all weekend, the kids are exhausted, it’s hot out here but it was a great way to finish the tournament,” said head coach Phil Ryan, whose team finished third in the U13A Division.
Founded in 2007 in Chicago, Ill. by pro lacrosse players Jake Deane and Mike Gabil, True Lacrosse’s mission is to benefit and grow players in the Midwestern region of the U.S. who want to excel at the next level. The organization trains from the fall through spring to prepare players for the challenges of high-profile tournaments.
“We want to give these kids the best coaching we possibly can,” said Paul Aubuchon, co-director of True Lacrosse Wisconsin. “All of our coaches have played at the highest levels that we can possibly get to.”
Aubuchon himself played for Team Scotland in the 2004 European and World Cups. In the end many players accomplish their goals with commitments to universities from DI to DIII schools such as Virginia, Air Force, Albany, Stevenson and St Mary’s College of Maryland.
Together, True Lacrosse’s travel teams span seven states (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin), with clinics, camps and leagues in several others.
The organization as a whole is no stranger to the Dick’s Sporting Goods Tournament of Champions qualifying tournaments. Many True teams compete in them each year, and hold the events in high esteem, according to Ryan.
“It’s a tremendous venue just to have all these fields in one spot,” he said, referring to Sportport at Maryland Heights, the site of the Dick’s Sporting Goods Midwest Cup. “Very well organized and very well run - it’s all you can ask for in these tournaments. It brings good competition and to have it run well, I think NDP did a great job! I’m very happy with it.”