David Bernklau for the 5 Towns Jewish Times
With soccer’s ever-popular FIFA’s Men’s World Cup concluding, another tournament, the Men’s World Lacrosse Championship (WLC), run by the Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL), is beginning in Netanya, Israel. Israel is the first nation to host this quadrennial tournament, now in its 13th edition.
The WLC tournament runs from July 12-21.
The tournament began with only four nations participating. It grew to 16 in 2002 and more than doubled to 38 in 2014. For 2018, participation increased to 46 national teams, including Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bermuda, Canada, China, Colombia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, England, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Ireland, Iroquois, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Latvia, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Puerto Rico, Russia, Scotland, Slovakia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey, Uganda, United States, and Wales.
These 46 teams are divided into 14 divisions for pool play in the first round, with the blue division consisting of the top six teams (Canada, United States, Iroquois, England, Australia, and Scotland).
Team Israel, which played in the tournament for the first time in 2014 and finished in seventh place overall, is in the red division with Russia and Jamaica. Team Israel’s first game is on July 12, facing off against Team Jamaica at Netanya Stadium.
Five of the 30 players on Team Israel’s roster hail from the New York area: Kyle Bergman (New York City; Drexel, 2012), Andrew Kruter (Bellmore; Hofstra, 2012), Daniel Leventhal (Chappaqua; Tufts, 2018), Eric Schneider (Massapequa; Hopkins, 2018), and Max Seibald (Hewlett; Cornell, 2009).
The Israel-Jamaica game will be televised on ESPNU on July 12 at 9:30 a.m. EDT. At 1:30 p.m. the U.S.-Iroquois Nationals game will be shown on ESPN2. Many other games will be shown on ESPNU, with the championship game on ESPN2 on July 21st beginning at 3 a.m. EDT, 10 a.m. in Israel.
If you happen to be in Netanya, take in a couple of games to be a part of the 10-day “Netanya of Gold” festival.