Of all of the cities that have lacrosse communities that are deserving of a professional team, but don’t yet have one, San Diego is near the top of that list.
Not long ago, it was announced that we here in San Diego are getting our very own professional lacrosse team. Recently, we found out that this team is going to be named the San Diego Seals – both for the sea-dwelling seals that dot the sand and rocks of La Jolla Cove, as well as the Navy SEALs that go through their world-famous BUD/S training here on Coronado Island. It’s a name very befitting of the place.
For the San Diego lacrosse community, this is huge news. This community has embraced not only outdoor lacrosse, but also box lacrosse on a level that many across the country are surprised to learn about.
From the youth level all the way up to high school and men’s rec league, box lacrosse has taken hold around here. Just as in other places around the country, such as New York and Colorado, the box game is respected and taught here as a game of it’s own. We’re starting to see kids take the skills they learn and the confidence they gain in the box out to the field in the spring. For a city that’s been mainly known in the lacrosse community for producing top notch field players, these players and coaches have welcomed box lacrosse as it’s own entity. And the arrival of the San Diego Seals proves just that.
As an honorary native of this fine city, I can say with confidence that San Diego has been hungry for a professional team to call their own for some time. Adrenaline Lacrosse was born here. Will Yeatman, Jake Seau, and Isaiah Dawson – all San Diego natives – have graced the headlines of Inside Lacrosse magazine. Multiple high schools and home-grown club programs put players in the Division I ranks every year, despite the fact that lacrosse wasn’t even a sanctioned sport in the area less than two decades ago.
To get a temperature reading about this momentous occasion, I probed some well respected coaches in the area about what they thought of a NLL team coming to town. Here’s what some of them had to say:
“It’s a huge testament to how far we’ve come as a lacrosse town. In 2002 I was in the stands as an overly excited middle schooler, watching Poway High School win the first CIF sanctioned championship title. …and now, we have arguably the ultimate level of lacrosse coming to call San Diego home… As a coach, I’m excited to have an additional selling point to young potential lacrosse players. As a San Diego native, I’m excited to have a new team to support and call our own.” – John Randle, Boys Lacrosse Coach, Francis Parker High School
“I think a new team here adds legitimacy to the small, but strong lacrosse community that is already here… San Diego is where Denver was five to ten years ago with the increases of growth and participation levels. The Mammoth and Outlaw franchises have both helped and reaped the benefits of that growth there, as will most likely happen here as well.” – Kraig Hamady, Mens Lacrosse Coach, University of California, San Diego
“For the community here in San Diego, having a professional lacrosse team provides validation. Validation that, as a community, we belong, and deserve to live and play in a city that hosts a professional team; validation for those who have worked so hard to grow the sport here in San Diego.” – Ryan Heidrich, Boys Lacrosse Coach, Rancho Bernardo High School
This city is ready for the Seals. They’ll arrive here next fall to the open arms of a community that has been waiting for them for a very, very long time. Not just a game to go to, or a jersey to wear, but a team that they can call their own. Something to invest in, aspire to, and dream about.
This city is ready for the NLL.