Raising Great Young Minds Through Lacrosse:
Meet Team Valor
It started as a group of friends, a loosely-coordinated collection of young people. Their fathers arranged for them to play in a few random tournaments over the holidays. They were doing it for the fun of competition and a love of the game. This small group of friends quickly grew into something much bigger. It has evolved into a legitimate lacrosse club with a compelling vision. It is an organization that impacts young minds everyday. There is already a waiting list to join the program.
“We wanted to keep the boys active over the long winter break,” Valor Coach, Chris Goad, explains. “Playing lacrosse was a fantastic outlet, rather than having the kids badger their parents nonstop to play Fortnite. None of the other clubs in the Tampa Bay area were participating in these tournaments, so we put a team together. We are delighted that both the parents and players have asked us to make Valor Lacrosse a regular thing.”
Coach Tom White agrees with these sentiments. He explains that one of the reasons he values the club so much is that it acts as a supplemental club. His kids play on other teams, but this is another way for them to hone their skills and get in practice. The club gives them another opportunity to play at a competitive level, even when their primary clubs are not playing.
What sets the Valor Lacrosse experience apart is that it isn’t just about sports. The young people on Team Valor are taught the importance of humility and service to one’s community and country. These young people do community service. They learn about the sacrifices of our military personnel. They are taught to be focused and goal-oriented. In short, the most important values and skills are instilled in them, through a series of teachable moments.
Over the Thanksgiving break, Valor volunteered at Metropolitan Ministries. This organization works with donors, volunteers, and community members to provide food, shelter, and services to the homeless or those in danger of becoming homeless in the Tampa Bay area. The boys and their parents had proactively collected food to support the operation. They have more plans for community service in the summer. Valor plans to visit different businesses, seeking donations of staples to send overseas to deployed military forces. They’ll be partnering with The Stano Foundation to collect soap, shampoo, toothbrushes, and lots of other requested items.
The players will also have the opportunity to interview Military Veterans. They’ll be doing video interviews and putting them all together into a compilation that will be shared with other young people, to teach them about the sacrifices our military makes to protect our freedom.
Dr. Garrett Soldano, better known as ‘Coach G’, says, “We’re using lacrosse to raise patriotic, respectful and appreciative young men.”
Something else that makes Valor Lacrosse stand out is that everyone gets to play. Playing time is earned through practice and community service. This is a system that gives everyone a fair shot and rewards hard work and dedication. “Players that get game experience get better faster and they have more fun,” parent, and self-proclaimed ‘team gopher’, Rick Narkiewicz states. “I thoroughly enjoy cheering on all of the kids, regardless of their skill level. We are a village.”
Youth sports can be expensive, but Valor has proven that it doesn’t have to be. The club only charges enough to cover the costs of the necessities, the fields, tournament entry fees, and such.
“We are raising better young men, on and off the lacrosse field, with no fear of failure,” says Coach Goad. “A philosophy of greatness and improvement come from a culture of positivity and nurturing the young mind.”
News of Valor’s mission, vision and low costs has spread quickly throughout the lacrosse community. Many lacrosse equipment and apparel providers have sent the club supplies. Valor has even been extended bids to invitation only tournaments. These typically take years to get. But the lacrosse community is rallying around Valor, because they believe in the club’s very worthwhile mission.
Coach G says, “We are going to work these boys hard. They will be pushed out of their comfort zone, and they are going to have a lot of fun doing it, while becoming #1PercentBetter, each and every day.”
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