The Story Behind Blast…
During the spring of 2010, I was the head coach at Haverford College when a parent of a local township team wanted to put together a summer tournament team and asked me to coach. At the time I was pregnant with my second child and due in early August. At this point, I had coached Josie for two seasons at Haverford and knew Josie was an extremely passionate and competitive player who had a great understanding of the game. Knowing that Josie was living on campus for the summer, I asked her if she would be interested in coaching the team and she agreed. I received so much positive feedback at the end of the season about the quality of instruction the team received and how well the girls connected with Josie. This local summer team dissolved in the fall, and this is when Josie and I decided to start a competitive club team.
Josie and I had different experiences growing up in this area.
Youth and travel lacrosse club teams did not exist when I grew up. My first experience playing lacrosse was in 7th grade at my middle school and my first opportunity to play on a travel team was in 11th grade. Instead, I grew up playing competitive travel soccer where I trained year round. I had an excellent technical and tactical club soccer coach. It was this experience where I believe I truly developed as an athlete. I was challenged to improve my skill level, to raise my soccer IQ knowledge, and to become mentally tougher as I was being pushed outside my comfort zone. Thus, one of my reasons to begin Blast was to replicate the experience I had growing up.
I didn’t grow up with lacrosse because there weren’t any local township or clubs in my immediate area. I tried out for the high school team in 9th grade and absolutely loved it from the first practice. Unfortunately my high school program was not strong, so I decided to play for a summer club based out my area to develop my skills. I had both positive and negative experiences with my two summers at the club. My coach was incredible and taught me everything I knew before playing in college. I also built relationships with my teammates and formed friendships that lasted through college and have still continued on to now. Conversely, I felt disconnected from the other coaches and players in the club, even ones who were my age but on different teams. I also felt nervous at practice because I felt behind in my development and the coaches didn’t take the time to break down concepts in an understandable way for me. I was nervous to ask questions in that environment and as a result, played within my comfort zone. Looking back, I was completely uneducated about the recruiting process and was simply lucky to have ended up at school like Haverford and to have been coached by Julie.
These experiences with lacrosse greatly shaped what I want for Blast and our players: I want players to join our club who are physically and mentally tough, but understand that it takes more than athleticism to be a well rounded lacrosse player; I want our players to not only develop relationships with their teammates and coaches, but also with players and coaches from other teams; I want our coaches to take the time to explain technical and strategic concepts thoroughly so that every player understands the how and why of what we’re teaching; I want our players to be able to ask questions and feel comfortable taking risks; and I want Blast players to be fully educated on the recruiting process and understand what it will take to play at the next level.
We’re excited that we now have the opportunity to replicate and also improve upon the experiences we have both had with club sports. Philly Blast’s mission, goals and future direction reflect the qualities of a club program we believe will develop our players to reach their full potential.
Philly Blast’s Growth
Philly Blast Lacrosse started in the summer of 2011 where Julie and Josie coached one small team of 15 players ranging from 5th-7th graders. During this summer Julie Young moved from Haverford College to become the first full-time head coach at Villanova University. In September, we held our first tryouts for the club. 100 players tried out for Philly Blast and our program grew to four teams for the 2012 summer season. After another successful summer, tryouts doubled yet again and the club grew to eight teams for the 2013 season. In Fall 2013, Josie accepted the head coaching position at The Episcopal Academy in Newtown Square. In the Summer 2014 season, we had nine teams and now our oldest and first class of Philly Blast players were of recruitable age. To accommodate the new needs of our players, Josie and Julie began educating our players and parents about the recruiting process.