I HAVEN’T EVEN COME CLOSE TO FIGURING IT OUT, BUT HERE’S WHAT I KNOW SO FAR.
As much as I love a cozy winter (preferably one where it snows), I can’t help but dream about upcoming warm Spring days. And guess what people, they’re right around the corner! You know what that means…. outside sports! Green fields! Showers, flowers, and screaming cheers around and about town. For our family, we hear the echoes of whistles booming from Greenwich High School, straight up the hill directly into our backyard. We call it “happy noise” and I’m not going to lie, it’s kind of soothing. Makes me feel like we’re living in a 70’s movie about bucolic suburbia.
That said, with all these Spring and Summer sports, the competitive parental game of who has the best folding chair and sickest cooler is its own sideline match. I fully support this. I literally dream of what chair and cooler I can find on sale and loooove foul weather gear. Also, who doesn’t long for the screaming parental unit, pacing up and down the field hollering at a mere child, who probably can’t even hear them. They’re just trying to have some fun and enjoy the battle, right? I’ve had this conversation in my head to a “pacer,” only to be met with a weird glance and a mouth full of dip, reminding me every so quickly of boarding school circa 1994.
One of this town’s favorites and a New England classic that cannot be ignored is Lacrosse. If your kids are young and you just landed here and haven’t heard of it yet, don’t worry you’re in Fairfield County so chances are… you will. And soon. Coach and founder of the Greenwich Warriors program, Pat Jackson, recently told me that lacrosse is the most recruited collegiate sport in the nation. It’s also the oldest organized sport in North America.
When it comes to lacrosse, get ready for the inquisitive and slightly befuddled question from your bleacher neighbor about the 5th grade kid on an adjacent town’s team, who stands 6’4”. Overheard inquiries include, but are not limited to: Did he meet the age requirement OR is this the league where you play based on grade? Also, what in the world does that even mean? Yes, that’s a thing. Here’s me trying to explain it.
Town lacrosse leagues, i.e. teams formed in the town one lives in, for example, Greenwich Youth Lacrosse, has actual birth dates (born after this date and before this date), so there are very clear guidelines for what team a child can play on.
Club lacrosse, sometimes referred to as “travel,” although that’s a little confusing too because the town teams have “travel” teams once a child reaches a certain age. Also note that those travel teams have tryouts and those are typically held in March. The club “travel” teams host tryouts the summer and sometimes the fall before the season itself. That season starts after town lacrosse and is typically a June/July season. And for these club teams, a child plays based on their grade. So, if your child has a graduation year of say 2045… that’s the team he will likely play on. Sometimes a kid can “play up” if there’s room, but, generally children play based on their grade for club teams. Make sense?
Don’t fret about all the confusion, you’re not alone. I’ve met parents whose kids play at the high school level, and they’re still confused. It happens.
As for the intensity joked about above with the dippers and the pacers, these are but a few minor exceptions to the general, collegial vibe. The bulk of warmer weather sports offer tons of family fun, healthy competition if you so desire, and an opportunity for you and your kids to make new friends from all over town and beyond. Team sports especially, offer a great deal of camaraderie. Nothing beats the absolute glee of being a part of a larger group with a common “goal,” (ugh sorry had to do it).
SOME GREAT PROGRAMS (sign ups starting/ending soon!)
*also please note, this list is not all encompassing. I’m a parent building out my knowledge bank and if your team isn’t listed, give me a shout and we’ll get going on our research!
GYL is your home for boys and girls from kindergarten through 8th grade starting off with lacrosse. This is a perfect way to see if your child enjoys the sport and for parents new to it, a great way to see what it’s all about.
GYL is our Town lacrosse program, not to be confused with Club Lacrosse. This is a really unique place to have your child meet children from all over Greenwich. Different schools, different neighborhoods – a great mix of families and a nice change of pace for those stuck in their same sports circle. They pride themselves on players learning the value of teamwork, determination, and commitment, and their goal is for kids to “have fun playing lacrosse.”
- The program is open to any resident of Greenwich, CT.
- The House League program starts in kindergarten and continues through 4th grade.
- Intro to Travel in 3rd of 4th grade. Our traditional Travel program begins in 5th grade and continues through 8th grade
Some important Key dates coming up! https://www.greenwichyouthlacrosse.org/key-dates
- February 6, 2023: late registration begins with a 50% increase from regular fees for any registrations on or after this date
- After the above date, late registration applies
- Feb 27th Travel registration ends
- House league and Intro to travel continues on
https://www.greenwichwarriors.com/ – March 10th through June 7th, girls and boys.
Tons of ages, tons of clinics, loads of fun and completely accessible. This program is a favorite from Greenwich to New Jersey. Sometimes known as the “Guru of the Game,” Coach Pat Jackson is not only the best, friendliest (while still being a focused, tough guy out there) coach and mentor, he’s absolute magic at motivating young kids just starting off learning lax. He also happens to have trained some of the most sought-after high school and college recruits in the country. He’s energetic and has a seasoned knowledge about this sport and beyond. His coaches and teams all reflect that same ethos – we can’t say enough great things about PJ. And don’t toss aside the coolest part of this coach and his program – he’s able to talk shop while simultaneously focusing on his love and knowledge of landscape architecture and art. Absolutely the GOAT.
- Both these programs run March – June and if you want to do both, Coach Jackson can provide more information, but in short, it can be done!
ADDITIONAL LOCAL CLUB/TRAVEL TEAMS IN & AROUND THE AREA
This is a stand-out club team that is highly competitive and maintains a healthy perspective. The three founders are young, energetic, and easy to access – with a real desire to mold young players thoughtfully as they chase their dreams. 2Way was ranked the #1 club in Connecticut (& Westchester NY) by US Club Lax for the fall 2021/summer 2022 club lacrosse season. Last year’s graduating team (class of 2023) had 20 college commitments (15 Division I + 5 Division III).
- Based in Greenwich and Simsbury CT
- Programs are offered for 2nd grade up to 11th grade
- They offer a Grade 2 league that kicks off in April in Greenwich
- Lax camp called Camp 2Way, June 26th – 29th also in Gtown
- Tryouts for club teams are July 18-20th at the Brunswick School, Greenwich
Since the 2014 inception, Sound Lacrosse continues to grow and shine. They are a year-round lacrosse program based in Greenwich, with practices at Greenwich Country Day School and Chelsea Piers. Their program is an impressive one; their coaching staff is made up of FOUR former D1 College Coaches, National Champions, D1/D3 All-Americans, and Tewaarton Finalists. The program has small rosters and founders who are accessible and very well-balanced, knowledgeable athletes. In all our interactions, never once has it felt like a business – rather, it’s passion and love of the game that drives these folks.
- Besides club lax, they offer Girls and Boys, year-round training K – 11th with small group lessons and specialty clinics as well
- Private group training also offered
- Tryout dates are July 11-13th for Rising 10th-5th graders (3rd/4th grades need to secure a roster spot via registration)
- Summer camp is June 26-29.
- They offer flexible year-round training options so players can participate in other sports/activities which is super important
CT GRIZZLIES – Girls Lacrosse Club
- Lower Fairfield county all girls program
- Summer travel teams and offseason training
- Registration for 2024 Summer season goes live Feb 1st !
- Maximum number of spots for new players each age group
- 4th grade through 12th
- Another highly regarded summer club team based in CT and Florida
- Great, accessible directors and coaches teaching your kids to master their passion, hone their skills and great sportsmanship
- Youth (U8-U14) and HS programs
- Practices are in New Canaan and Westport, but Greenwich players are very much welcome
- Tryout dates to be announced soon. Tryouts take place at the end of the summer season for players to earn a roster spot for the following club year (August 2023 – July 2024)
- Currently their roster spots are full, however they maintain alternate lists in case of injuries
- Our tryouts typically take place in the second and third weeks of July. Final dates and times for each grade will be announced soon
- Fairfield and Westchester
- K – 6th grade
- All practices and day camps held at Greenwich Academy, but you do not have to be a Gtown resident; girls come from all over
Express North Lacrosse – Club Team (mostly based in New Canaan, Wilton, Darien and indoors in Danbury CT)
- According to their website tryouts are complete
- Very competitive team with locations throughout CT, Westchester, Long Island, DC etc. not quite Greenwich, but worth knowing about
- In existence since 2005, over 500 student athletes recruited for college (from their statistics).
- If you’re looking for a tough, all business, win at all costs set-up with no hand holding this is your program
Please contact me if you have questions or want us to learn more about your program.