Congratulations to Israel Lacrosse & the city of Netanya.
I sat in on a conference call earlier today with members of the Israel Lacrosse Association shortly after their press conference officially announcing the news. This will be the first time the World Lacrosse Championships will be hosted in a country outside of North America or Europe. Having the games outside of the Europe and North America is a major step forward for lacrosse, as it demonstrates that lacrosse is truly becoming a world sport, and can only help lacrosse’s chances of becoming an official Olympic sport in the near future.
Israel stepped up to host the 2018 games after English Lacrosse announced several weeks ago that they withdrew their bid to host the games in Manchester, the site of the 2010 games.. Today’s announcement of Netanya as the host city in 2018 is a clear sign that lacrosse is becoming an emerging sport in Israel.
Lacrosse in Israel has seen a rapid growth in the last 10 years. Indeed, the Israel Lacrosse Association itself was only founded in 2010 and Israel only became officially recognized by the Federation of International Lacrosse in April of 2011. Additionally, the Israel Premier Lacrosse League was only founded in 2015. In seven short years, Israel Lacrosse has gone from receiving donated equipment from Reebok in the summer of 2010 and donated used gear from Team USA following the 2011 World Indoor Lacrosse Championship in Prague, to officially becoming the host country of the 2018 World Lacrosse Championships. A remarkable progression in a very short period of time.
From humble beginnings, Israel Lacrosse has now become one of the biggest supporters of the game in the region. The association has quietly donated gear & equipment to start-up teams in the Middle East & Africa. Moreover, they have brought in American players and coaches to help grow the game in areas of the country that are new to the sport. Seeing Israel’s growth as a lacrosse playing nation is wonderful, but seeing Israel Lacrosse embrace their responsibility to help grow the game within their region is even more impressive.
Below is the formal press release announcing Netanya as the host city. I will add the video with subtitles from today’s press conference as soon as it becomes available. Congratulations to the people of Israel and they city of Netanya. I am certain it will be a wonderful time for all the players and spectators from around the world.
Israel Unveiled as Host Nation for 2018 World Lacrosse Championships.
Netanya, Israel, May 23, 2017 - Israel was today officially announced as the host nation for the 2018 FIL Men’s World Lacrosse Championships. In a special press conference Netanya Mayor, Miriam Feirberg-Ikar and Chairman of the Israel Lacrosse Association (ILA), Scott Neiss, unveiled that Israel’s city of Netanya will host the sport’s pinnacle competition that will include 50 participating countries and more than 5,000 fans from all over the world between July 12-21, next summer.
Israel’s opportunity to host the World Lacrosse Championship comes in light of the country’s recent success in the international arena, in which Israel won second place in the 2016 European championship and seventh place in the most recent World Championship in 2014. Israel has become the fastest growing nation in the sport, with eight competing cities and hundreds of players up and down the country, which placed Israel as one of the leading candidates for the World Championship in 2018. Israeli teams have competed in every Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL) and European Lacrosse Federation (ELF) event since their debut in 2012.
After Manchester, England withdrew from hosting the World Championship, Israel stepped in and submitted its first-ever bid to host the games in Netanya. This is the very first time since the competition’s inception in 1967 that a country outside of the US, Canada, England and Australia has hosted the Championship and signifies a major expansion of the sport, both in Israel and globally. The 2018 FIL Men’s World Lacrosse Championships is also set to be the largest event of its kind to ever take place, with a proposed 50 countries trumping the 2014 total of 38 in Denver, Colorado.
Netanya was chosen to host the event due to the city’s achievements in sport and its success in hosting a variety of international competitions, including the European Swimming Championships, World Surfing Championships, international tennis tournaments and European Football Championships (under 21).
“It’s a true honor and testament to the Israel Lacrosse Association, our Board, our Membership and our Supporters that we are to be hosting the sport’s pinnacle event next summer,” said Scott Neiss, Executive Director of the Israel Lacrosse Association. “The success of Israel Lacrosse both internationally, that sees us ranked seventh in the world and the domestic infrastructure we’ve established at grassroots level here in Israel, put us in good standing when submitting our bid to host the FIL World Championships and we’re delighted to showcase our country, our facilities, and the spirit of Israel to the world.”
"Israel who became a member in 2011 has very quickly marched up the leaderboard, not only at our world events, where they ranked 7th in Denver in 2014, but they have also created a model domestic development plan, which is something that all of our new members can aspire to," said Stan Cockerton, President of the Federation of International Lacrosse. "We are all confident that the 2018 World Championships in Israel will be an event that players, coaches, fans and all our members around the world can be proud of."