(Courtesy World Lacrosse)
Team Haudenosaunee has returned to play in the 2019 World U19 Women’s Field Lacrosse Championships after being forced to withdraw from 2015 in Edinburgh, Scotland.
The team withdrew due to passport problems in a stop at the United Kingdom. They were refused entry into the country since the UK would not recognize Haudenosaunee passports.
“It’s just an honour to be back up here, I think not going in 2015 for a couple of girls was hard because of the passports,” said Jalyn Jimerson.
The women had more on their mind than just doing well in the tournament. They are making way for future Haudenosaunee generations to play women’s lacrosse while serving as role models.
“My niece, she plays on the U19 team, she’s always coming to me for advice and I tell her what to do on the field,” said Leini Johnson.
“The younger girls that are watching, they’re looking up to the team,” said executive board director of Haudenosauee lacrosse Kathy Smith. “Some of them are getting to know them in different ways. My granddaughter was here the other day and said she wished she was out there right now and she doesn’t want to wait.”
By paving the way for younger generations, the team believes it will create more skillful groups of players.
“I feel the next generation is going to be so talented,” said Jacelyn Lazore.
“They have more opportunities nowadays to start younger because people are willing to coach and kids are willing to play,” said goaltender Fantasy Jimerson.
The team appreciates participating in this tournament and are making the most of it.
“I think the girls understand the meaning of it (the tournament) and the fact that they weren’t here last time and grasping the whole opportunity, the experience of being here this time,” said head coach Ronnie Davis. “I think they’ve really bought into that. I think it’s great for the kids and it’s fortunate that they’re enjoying their experience.”
“It’s a great opportunity, I know we’re starting at the lowest bracket but it’s more of a challenge for us to show people that we are our own sovereign nation and we can start from the bottom and climb our way to the top,” said Lois Garlow.
It is no secret that lacrosse is an important part of Six Nations’ culture, especially since opportunities are growing for women, according to Smith.
“When lacrosse season comes, you just feel the energy in the community, everyone is excited,” said Smith.
“As girls start to accomplish things, I think it’s great that women have this opportunity. It’s part of the empowerment to have these girls come and have their families come to support them.”
This year, the team had a 3-1 record in pools, defeating Belgium, Israel, and Hong Kong, but lost to Puerto Rico. Haudenosaunee is in the consolation quarterfinals after losing to Japan and beating Mexico.
They faced Hong Kong Thursday after printing in a rematch. Haudenosaunee won the first meeting 24-5.