Over the years, hundreds of players have come to the National Lacrosse Classic, National Prospect Elite 80, and Brogden Cup searching for an opportunity to stand out in front of college coaches and prove they can compete on the national level.
Brad Wheeler, the founder and coach of FVLAX Goblins – a youth program in North Carolina – has seen more than a dozen players associated with his organization attend LGS events over the past three years and make the most of their opportunities.
“The LGS events are great ways to get exposure to our players. Whatever club you may or may not play with is of little significance at the events. There is a great deal of satisfaction to the traditional local club players who can go out there and hang and bang with the ‘Elites’ because they have an opportunity,” Wheeler said.
He shared the story of one player who put himself on the NCAA recruiting radar at the NLC. “Alex Czibur Jr. was a junior year lacrosse player in 2016 when we encouraged him to tryout for the NLC in Charlotte. He was playing on a 3rd year varsity program that had 5 total wins over 3 seasons. He made the Carolina HS team for the NLC and played at the event. He was not a top goal scorer or lights out guy, but he caught the eye of a coach just by the little things he did on the field and on the sidelines. A coach contacted him later and took a chance on him at Ohio Valley University. Alex had not really been considering playing lacrosse in college at the time, but the NLC opened a door and opportunity that eventually had him playing on the Hungarian National Team at the FIL in 2018.”
This is just one example of the countless connections players form with coaches, teammates, and even opponents at the NLC, NPE80, Brogden Cup, and more every year. The NLC alone offers exposure to more than 200 college coaches. “I always tell our players, the off-the-field interactions are just as important as on the field. If you make it to one of these events they know you’re good at lacrosse, now it’s about everything else,” Wheeler said.
Each year, the Brogden Cup takes the best regional teams from the NLC and matches them up against the best teams in their age group from Canada. This year Wheeler’s son Drew competed with his North Carolina teammates and got a thrill out of representing his country on the lacrosse field. “The Brogden Cup took the NLC experience and magnified it x10,” Wheeler said. “There’s just something special the first time you walk into a locker room and the USA jersey is there waiting for you. The kids could not get the gear on fast enough.” Team USA and Team Canada proved to be an even match, as they split the series 1-1-1.
Not every player gets recruited to play at a D-I college or gets a chance to play for Team USA, but Wheeler maintains that his players’ experiences at LGS events have all made them better players at the end of the day. “The experience and ability to associate and interact with different players helps round them out and appreciate the game and other players more. Many are top players on their own high school teams and being able to play with your rivals on the same team builds a bond.”
Is there a player in your program that you want to see compete at the highest level? Check out some of our showcase events below!