I started playing lacrosse in seventh grade -- my hockey coach, my favorite coach of all time, was going to coach box lacrosse. Instead of playing spring hockey, my entire hockey team pretty much ended up playing box lacrosse. I was surprised when I realized I didn't need skates -- I thought it was ice.


I was absolutely horrible. I couldn't catch or throw until about ninth grade. The cool thing was even though I was horrid, everyone was just excited I was playing because the sport was new and unique. The focus was on having fun and it was just, "You know what, you're excited about this; I'm excited about this; let's play," instead of, "You're bad at catching." That was enough to draw me in -- the sport's ability to build confidence. Eight years ago, lacrosse was just a town in Wisconsin, and people would ask me if I was going out to catch butterflies. There's so much room for people to own this sport.


After we graduated from college, we came back and ran summer camps. Then in September it's like, "I'm 22, what am I going to do with myself?" I wrote a quick proposal to the head of P.E. in Minneapolis, saying how we'd like to bring lacrosse to P.E. classes. Our No. 1 goal was to introduce lacrosse. Long-term, it was to connect kids to after-school playing opportunities, and we wanted to raise the diversity level in our sport. She said sure, and then in the '08, '09 school year the Minnesota Swarm sponsored the P.E. program. We went from six to 36 programs and it just went from there. Now we organize training programs, league camps and community development programs. We're on the field a lot, and I'm also head varsity coach for the Minneapolis high school boys' program.


The mission of Homegrown Lacrosse is to create a community that empowers players to achieve in life as well as in lacrosse. Our goal is to empower kids and give them confidence, and our game does that naturally by providing opportunities to play. Once they're engaged we teach them how to succeed, what discipline is and how to focus energy and grow. We want to teach kids to be young men of character and to focus on the community.