Lacrosse boss expects growth from US scholarships
President of the Jamaica Lacrosse Association, Calbert Hutchinson, described Ishcah Browne and Jessica Sylvester, who both recently received full scholarships to American universities, as pioneers and expects the pair to be a source of inspiration for the national women?s programme.
Last year, Donahugh Simpson of St George's College and Kenyon Amos of Jamaica College (both males) became the first Jamaicans to gain full lacrosse scholarships to universities. Then this May, Sylvester got accepted to Cornell University, and then in the same month, Browne accepted an offer from Alderson Broaddus University in West Virginia.
"These young ladies are pioneers, just as the young men before. The under-19 girls went out and took part in the World Championship in Peterborough (Canada) and the coaches and international scouts had their eyes on them, and this is evidence that we are reaping the success of the programme that has been put in place in Jamaica," said Hutchinson.
"It has opened the doors a little wider for Jamaica and we are going to see a lot more scholarships as long as we continue to grow the sport in Jamaica, get more equipment and get more schools on board. We will see a lot more persons leaving on scholarships," he added.
He continued that when Amos and Simpson returned to the island, they provided a source of motivation and pride.
"They inspired others. Donahugh came back and took on the role as coach for his school team, because of the level of confidence he had garnered playing for the national team.
"So I am 100 per cent sure that it?s the same thing that will happen to the girls. These girls are going to be actively involved in more robust training, with more experienced coaches, and that experience they are going to take back to their local communities is going translate in their performances for the national team, so it?s a win-win situation," Hutchinson noted.
He added that getting players into overseas universities on scholarships was one of the main objectives of the administration.
"When we sat down with our board of directors and we went through our strategic development plan, opening doors to university and college scholarships was a part of our objectives, along with forging new relationships with stakeholders, becoming a member of the Jamaica Olympic Association and getting recognised by ISSA (Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association). So we are reaping success," said Hutchinson.
In their short history in the sport, Jamaica has qualified for the Men's under-19 and Women?s under-19 World Championships, as well as the 2021 Women?s Lacrosse World Cup.