October 17, 2012 - Major League Lacrosse (MLL)
BOSTON, MA (Wednesday, October 17, 2012) - Major League Lacrosse (MLL), the premier professional outdoor lacrosse league, announced Wednesday a partnership with Team 24/7 Lacrosse for the 2013 All-Star Game Youth Tournament. Eligible teams will have the opportunity to head to Charlotte, North Carolina, for a five game jamboree style tournament taking place during MLL's 2013 All-Star Weekend. The games will be played at Elon Park on Saturday, July 13, and Sunday, July 14, and will run from 7 a.m. until 5 p.m. on both days.
In addition to participating in a competitive tournament, youth teams from around the country will be granted tickets to Saturday's All-Star Game, as well as admission to Friday night's pre-event festivities, including an All-Star player clinic and skills contest, and a viewing of the selection of the All-Star teams by the Ultimate Fan Fantasy Winners. Parents will have access to All-Star Game tickets and Charlotte area hotel room prices at reduced rates.
"All-Star Weekend has become such a special event for MLL," Commissioner David Gross said. "We're excited to partner with Team 24/7 to further enhance this weekend's festivities."
Team 24/7 Lacrosse was founded by Charlotte Hounds defenseman and 2012 All-Star Ryan Flanagan with the hopes of not only teaching the game, but bringing every player to their full potential. Team 24/7 offers camps, clinics, private lessons, and travel teams led by some of the world's greatest lacrosse players who seek to develop the next crop of superstars by passing on their lessons and love for the game. Flanagan feels honored to be given the opportunity to put on an event for the youth community, one that he feels speaks to the mission of Team 24/7.
"Considering how fast participation rates in lacrosse are growing, our mission is to give youth athletes the opportunity to learn from those that are playing the game today. This is why the free clinic for all tournament participants was such an important part when we put this entire event together. Kids are given the once in a lifetime opportunity to learn from some of the best players in the world with MLL All-Stars coaching the clinic."
Having played since a young age himself, Flanagan stresses the importance of having good coaches and role models for the youth community. When speaking of professional lacrosse players in particular, Flanagan has always admired how accessible they make themselves to the community. He remembers when the Long Island Lizards held a training camp at his high school in New York and still runs a cease drill that Kevin Lowe taught him with his athletes today. It is experiences like these that have fueled Flanagan's desire to give back to the game and the community that have given him so much.
"I think I can speak for most of the guys in the league when I say that I would never be enjoying the life I am today if it weren't for the game and the coaches I had growing up. I think we all look forward to, and benefit from, the opportunity to get out and get involved with the youth and high school programs in our respective communities, and for this event, the Charlotte lacrosse community."
Flanagan, a UNC grad, lives locally in the Charlotte area and devotes much of his time off the field to youth lacrosse initiatives. In addition to spearheading Team 24/7 Lacrosse, Flanagan works with the South Park Youth Association and Charlotte Youth Lacrosse Association to help shape young athletes. With a proven history of success in the sport, Flanagan was a three-time All American, senior year co-captain, and co-winner of the 2010 Schmeisser Memorial Cup as the nation's top defenseman during his time at UNC. This past season, Flanagan's experience and passion proved to be valuable assets to the Hounds' inaugural team.
The Charlotte Hounds, a 2012 expansion team, will host the 2013 MLL All-Star Game on Saturday, July 13, on their home turf at American Legion Stadium. The Hounds energized and inspired lacrosse fans in the Carolinas throughout their first season, and hope to bring that same excitement to this year's All-Star Game. We spoke with Flanagan about the enthusiasm surrounding their first season:
"Charlotte was extremely supportive of both the Hounds and the league. Coming out to every home game this year was an absolute pleasure, and an honor, as we always had a packed house with a ton of fan support."
Jim McPhilliamy, President and Managing Partner of the Hounds, echoed those statements:
"Charlotte showed great support for the Hounds right from opening night on throughout the entire season. Because of the vocal support of our fans, Hounds games are now one of the most loud, exciting, energetic venues to play in in all of MLL."
In terms of All-Star Weekend specifically, McPhilliamy voiced his own enthusiasm:
"All Star Games are always a celebration of the game, and Charlotte and the Hounds want to put on the best celebration of lacrosse ever in MLL. We want to honor the history of the sport while exposing the uninitiated in a fun and exciting way."
McPhilliamy further commented on what All-Star Weekend means for the future of lacrosse in Charlotte:
"The Hounds have always viewed Charlotte as having the potential to become the Southeast's hub for lacrosse, and now the sport is just blowing up. There are a number of people who helped lay the groundwork here by establishing youth leagues before the sport was huge. Once the foundation was laid, the next step was bringing the region's first MLL team to town. Getting the fan support behind the team was next, and now hosting this game will help cement Charlotte's place as the Southeast's hub for lacrosse."
The marquee event will feature MLL All-Stars from across the league and is sure to be a memorable experience. Flanagan urged fans to "come ready to experience all that Charlotte has to offer."
"I know growing up, this would have been my dream event. You get to play all day on Saturday and Sunday and then the entire family gets to watch the best players in the world compete. If you're a lacrosse fan, this is an event I would definitely want to be a part of."
Interested teams are encouraged to apply through Team 24/7 Lacrosse, at the link provided below. Don't miss your chance to be part of the celebration; the first of its kind for the city of Charlotte, and for the Hounds.