Israel Lacrosse is one of the finest and best run sports league in all of Israel.
Below is a transcript of an interview I conducted with Jacob Milner on my show Louis Live.
Ari: And we’re back here on Louis Live. Thank you for joining us. We are very excited to have on our guest from Israel Lacrosse. This is very exciting. You know, for those of you who do not know, Israel Lacrosse is having try outs to see who is going to make the national team and they have a few Americans. I have on the line right now a young gentleman who plays forward. He is a freshman at the University of Miami. Let’s give a warm Louis Live welcome to Jacob Milner. Jacob, how are you doing out there?
Jacob: I’m good. How are you?
Ari: Doing great. So did you ever think that one day you would be trying out for the national lacrosse team here in Israel?
Jacob: Absolutely not. I had never even heard of Israeli Lacrosse. I had never heard that there were even tryouts or that there was a service trip. And then, one day, I was approached by my coach who got involved in the program and he said that there is this great opportunity to go out to Israel for a few days and try out for the team and see the country a little bit. It’s been incredible so far and I am so excited for the opportunity.
Ari: That’s pretty cool. So what kind of things are you going to be involved in with the try out? What kind of things are they looking for? Tell us technical stuff. How much do you have to run? How much do you have to shoot? How much do you have to lift? Is it like NFL combine stuff?
Jacob: So right now, up to this point, we have had 2 practices just with the American kids so far. We haven’t joined forces with the Israelis yet. But so far it has been very intense, very pressing. I mean, we are playing lacrosse at a high level here and I think that they want the best of the best, the guys who are going to work the hardest, the guys who are going to train the hardest in the off season. And I think that shows with the coaching style that we’ve seen so far and with the players that we have. We have some great talent and some great coaches, and I think the training that we are going to go through over the next few days and the practices that we have seen so far, it’s clear that it’s a very intense, very enduring process that we are going to go through. So we are all very excited for it in the next few days to come.
Ari: It certainly is. Jacob, I’d like to introduce you to one of my co-hosts this evening, Andy Gershman. Andy, go ahead.
Andy: Jacob, how many Americans are involved right now?
Jacob: Right now there are 35 on our trip, actually. 9 of which are girls and are not trying out for their team because they had their tryouts last year. So they are in the mid 20’s in terms of the guys trying out this year.
Andy: So all of you are Division 1 players? Or how did…I know you can only speak for yourself, but how did you guys kind of come together as a group?
Jacob: So the majority of the kids are actually in high school. A lot of them are juniors and seniors that are looking to play lacrosse in college. I know a lot of them are looking into Division 1 schools or Division 3 schools. I think most of the kids heard about this opportunity from their coaches or some marketing in the U.S. where they saw Israeli Lacrosse but I think that everyone saw this opportunity and jumped on it as soon as they could. And so it’s a great mix of kids. We do have some freshmen in high school and we do have some freshman in college. So there are kids from all over the United States and it’s a great range of kids that we have. And we are all loving it so far. We are all so close already and we are all just enjoying spending time with each other in this incredible country.
Andy: Now are you from the Miami/Florida area originally?
Jacob: I actually am not. I am from right outside of New Haven, Connecticut.
Andy: So that makes sense. I was wondering where the lacrosse thing came from. We need to push a little northeast.
Jacob: Yeah a few of my buddies are here too. So it has been a lot of fun for us.
Andy: That’s great.
Ari: You know, I got to tell you, Jacob, we have worked with a lot of sporting leagues in Israel. Some are not so professional. Let’s just call it like it is. I have never seen something like Israel Lacrosse, such a well-oiled machine. Be honest, when you are going to Israel and you are probably thinking, ‘I don’t know what’s going to go on here. I don’t know how things are going to be run.’ How have you been surprised or not surprised with the way things have been run with Israel Lacrosse?
Jacob: No, absolutely. I agree. Coming into it, America is the hotbed for lacrosse. America and Canada. You don’t really think much of other countries when you think of lacrosse. So coming into Israel, I was definitely skeptical. I definitely wasn’t sure how it was going to be but right off the bat they gave us great gear, the itinerary has been great so far, and then, like I said, once we show up to practice, we see the coaching that we have, we see the talent that they bring. I’m sure that the talent from Israel that they bring is going to be just as good as the talent from America and it has been great so far. It’s very organized, very well done. We have been playing at some great facilities. We have been doing great drills that the coaches of the Israeli teams have been leading us through. So, I mean, it’s been incredible so far and it’s exceeded all of my expectations. I couldn’t be happier right now.
Ari: Alright, last question. The goal, obviously, is to make the team. So let’s assume that you make the team. What are the goals then? What happens? Do you go back to the States and come back to Israel later on, in the summer? Tell us logistically what would happen.
Jacob: So I actually don’t know all of the details and the logistics in terms of after the tryout process but my general understanding is that when you make the team they have a few American spots. Of course the team will be mostly Israeli kids. So if you make the team as an American, I think the plan is that they are going to bring the Israeli kids over to America…over to Canada actually because that’s where the world games are being held. They are going to bring all of the Israelis over to Canada a few weeks before the world games and bring the Americans that do make the team up to Canada to practice with them and meet with them and kind of get acclimated all together as a group and get that chemistry going and basically prepare for the world games in the summer. So I think it will be very exciting. And I am obviously hoping to make the team and I think who ever does is going to have a blast and who ever does is going to enjoy the opportunity and even if I don’t make the team just being out here and, you know, being in Israel and having this opportunity is just incredible. So I’m just excited to be here.
Ari: It really is. It’s really an amazing thing. And a special thanks to Scott Neiss for setting up this interview, we really appreciate it. And, Jacob, we appreciate your time. We know you’re busy. Good luck, man. I hope that you make the team and I hope that we get to interview you as a member of Israel’s national lacrosse team.
Jacob: I sure hope so. Thank you very much. Thank you for having me.
Ari: Thanks, Jacob. Be well.