Jelgava and Riga stride toward the future!
(RIGA, LATVIA) The first time women’s lacrosse was seen in Latvia was in 2008, in a small town called Druva. Few girls started practices together with the local men’s team. Later, in the summer of 2009 in the capital of Latvia – Riga, 5 girls from the Sports Academy took initiative and began their own trainings. Girls could use a tiny corner of lacrosse field within the boys practice.
Starting with October of 2009, due to some advertising events, the club in Riga expanded and had a regular number of participants, around 10-14 girls. Dins Bahs was the one who gathered girls together and became the main coach of women’s lacrosse club Riga. Dins is a player as well in one of Latvian men’s teams.
In the end of October 2009 two girls from Riga lacrosse club (Karīna Saidova and Signe Ielīte), went to the Netherlands for an experience exchange trip. They were welcomed by Den Haag lacrosse club girls and their coach Jessica Stokhof. Girls participated in practices and were present at lacrosse games from the local championships. Coach Jessica was very welcoming and answered all the questions girls had and showed some tips for the lacrosse practices and further development.
In the winter of 2010 a new club joined Latvian lacrosse community – a club in Jelgava. Similar to Riga girls, they started to practice together with men’s team. In the spring of 2010 Latvia had two women’s lacrosse clubs and each of them had approximately 15 girls. In the April, girls had their first lacrosse game against each other.
There was a goal set for the summer of 2010 – to participate in an international tournament. Club Riga chose a tournament in Sweden, Goteborg. In order to get ready for this challenge, in the end of the June with help of European Lacrosse Federation, a coach from Germany – Anna Sody, was invited. 3 days long lacrosse camp for all the players in Latvia was held in Riga. There was a significant progress in girls skills after the camp, they improved their throwing and catching technique as well as began to understand the whole concept of a lacrosse game. Later in the summer, coach Jessica Stokhof came to Latvia and was in charge of few more practices.
In the August of 2010 a team made from both clubs Riga and Jelgava, went to Sweden to experience their first lacrosse games with opponents from other countries. First international experience, first wins and as a result – 2nd place, that was a huge success for the girls.
This year there is a plan to create another women’s lacrosse team and to attract new lacrosse coaches as well. Our goals are participation in European and World Championships. Latvia women’s lacrosse continues its development.