The game of lacrosse continues to grow not only in the United States but internationally as well. In 2005 there were 10 women’s teams competing in the FIL World Cup, and this past summer saw a record 25 teams take the field in the sport’s premier international tournament. This week Philadelphia Fire defender Holly Reilly and Baltimore Brave General Manager Jessy Morgan are heading to up-and-coming lacrosse hot-spot Hong Kong to work directly with members of the Hong Kong Women’s National Lacrosse Team, running a series of practices and workouts.
“With the help of exchange and international coaching programs, many countries new to lacrosse have benefited from the knowledge of experienced coaches and players from veteran programs. We are seeing not only new international programs, but also more competitive programs as training and gear becomes more accessible and lacrosse gains popularity,” explained Holly Reilly.
While the WPLL does not currently feature any players from the Hong Kong National team, it does features players that compete internationally for Australia (Abby Burgess, Hannah Nielsen), Canada (Dana Dobbie, Kaylin Morissette), England (Olivia Hompe), Italy (Gabby Capuzzi, Kerrin Maurer), Korea (Anna Kim), and Mexico (Daniela Eppler).
“It’s incredible how a common love like lacrosse can connect people on different sides of the world. One of the WPLL’s missions is to continue growing the game of lacrosse, and we are very excited to work with Hong Kong Lacrosse and build a relationship with their program,” explained WPLL CEO and Founder Michele DeJuliis. “Hong Kong is a team on the rise. At the 2013 World Cup their record was 1-4, and this past summer they improved to 4-4. We look forward to having Holly and Jessy work with Hong Kong Lacrosse and continue to grow the game.”
Reilly and Morgan will hold two workouts and practices for Hong Kong lacrosse, who looks to return top 2017 World Cup players like Hiu Tan Liu, Katherine Barker, Sze Yeuk Fung, Tse Wai Ki, Alexandra Tsai, and Carrie Ka Wai Lam. Hiu Tan Liu, Katherine Barker, Sze Yeuk Fung, and Tse Wai Ki were each named match MVPs during last summer’s competition.
Jessy Morgan, who is also the coach at George Mason, previously toured and coached in Beijing and Hong Kong, and Reilly, who represented the USA in the 2009 and 2013 FIL World Cups, are excited to once again travel internationally. Notes Holly Reilly, “Playing lacrosse is one of the most exhilarating experiences, but as my playing career transitioned to my coaching career, I have found even more fulfillment from the sideline. Working with players to improve their game is impactful. To once again travel the world to coach and play in Hong Kong, I feel like I am on Cloud 9! I will have the opportunity to learn from international players: what vocabulary do they use on the field? What is their offensive motion? Do they have different team traditions? I will also have the opportunity to learn about a different culture and return to the United States to share my experiences with players here. My story might be the moment a player is inspired to play for Team USA or to participate in a travel lacrosse tournament to broaden her horizons. I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to train with Hong Kong Lacrosse, and I cannot wait to capture the memories!”
Stay tuned to see updates and happenings from the WPLL’s trip to Hong Kong on our social media channels, @prowomenslax and with the hashtag #WPLLinHongKong