Rochester, NY – August 18, 2016 – People with gifts in leadership and coaching seem drawn to The Fellowship of Christian Athletes’ Northeast Lacrosse Program, which is why the program is continuing to expand and develop — not only throughout the region, but across the border.
“As our teams travel to the many tournaments across the Northeast, it has been encouraging to meet so many people who desire to have FCA in the community in which they live. Our reputation is solid because our athletes and coaches represent an excellent example of sportsmanship. Other teams, players and parents take notice of this, and naturally want to be a part of something bigger than just a good lacrosse team.
“We believe it starts with the right leadership and are grateful for the people who have stepped forward across the region to help our program grow,” said Solomon Bliss, FCA’s Regional Camp and Community Coordinator.
In the past year, FCA Lacrosse has grown to include five new teams across the Northeast. The program now includes Rochester and Syracuse’s nine teams comprised of over 300 players on these teams: 2018, 2019, 2020, 2022, 2023, 2024, 2025, 2026; the Girls 2021 Upstate; the Adirondack Regions 2023 and 2024 teams; the Buffalo 2025; and plans are underway to establish an FCA box lacrosse team in Southwestern Ontario, Canada.
Bliss describes a twofold expansion in the Northeast’s program: “Part of our growth is regional expansion as we start teams in new locations, but we are also expanding our offerings as what we have been doing in the Rochester and Syracuse areas the past few years continues to change and develop. We are now doing a lot of new things, such as having consistent spring practices in April and May that are part of a year-round training philosophy geared towards supporting our players throughout the year by maintaining consistent, on-going relationships with them.”
In Spring 2016, the Adirondack Region became the third location for youth lacrosse in the Northeast. Adam Orr, who has a long coaching history, having coached lacrosse at Queensbury High School for the past fourteen years, is spearheading the lacrosse program in the Adirondack Region where he coaches FCA’s 2023/2024 teams.
Bliss anticipates Orr’s involvement will spur the growth of the sport of lacrosse throughout the region. “Not only do we know that Adam has tremendous potential to influence players and their families – who are very excited to see something different coming into the area, but we also believe he will help us grow a coaching staff so we can expand and grow our teams and coaching staff in the Adirondack Region,” Bliss said.
The Girls Upstate 2021 team, FCA Northeast’s first ever girls team, was also formed in Spring 2016 when FCA leadership saw a clear need for starting a girls’ lacrosse program in the Northeast. Head Coach Larry DiGiovanni describes his involvement with FCA this year as ‘a different experience’ that has made coaching about much more than just teaching the girls the mechanics of the sport: “Being part of an established, well-respected worldwide organization has equipped me with such a positive vision and message that I can help facilitate and communicate to our young athletes.”
Paula Mitchell, who is assisting DiGiovanni, and who has been coaching youth boys for the past five years, is excited to be back in the girls’ game both for the competitive piece and the character-building aspects.
In Buffalo, Jake Hannon, FCA Area Representative for Erie County, tapped Chris Stack, Frontier High School’s former Head Lacrosse and Wrestling Coach to lead Buffalo’s new 2025 team. “I am excited about being a part of helping FCA grow in Erie County, and I have a real passion to see our coaches grow in their faith,” Stack said.
Another exciting part of the Northeast’s expansion has taken FCA’s lacrosse program into Canada when plans solidified this summer to develop a schedule for the field game of lacrosse in Southwestern Ontario, with the intent of soon establishing an FCA box lacrosse team. Leading the effort across the border is Ken Hastie, who was appointed FCA’s first Canadian Representative in August 2016.
Hastie, who has played with two Provincial Championship teams and has coached all levels of lacrosse during the past 25 years, including three Provincial Championship teams, has been interested in having FCA come to Canada for many years after reading their online coaching materials and his son’s experience playing with FCA in a Lake Placid tournament. He will also be working with the Northeast staff to build Canada’s coaching staff.
Since 1954, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes has been challenging coaches and athletes on the professional, college, high school, junior high and youth levels to use the powerful medium of athletics to impact the world for Jesus Christ. FCA focuses on serving local communities by equipping, empowering and encouraging people to make a difference for Christ – to see the world impacted for Jesus Christ through the influence of coaches and athletes.
More information can be found at FCA.org.