Training with Team England

The England Women’s Lacrosse team based themselves at Wycombe Abbey over the weekend in their final squad session before the World Cup selection is announced later this month.

In addition to squad training, the players hosted a ‘Train with Team England’ event, inviting aspiring athletes to be coached in a range of different skill stations in order to improve all aspects of their game. The event culminated in a mini tournament with the Most Valued Players winning signed merchandise. The event offered young players a chance to speak to the team about their journey into elite sport and seek advice for their personal game play.

The Rathbones Women’s Lacrosse World Cup is taking place at Surrey Sports Park, Guildford between July 12-22. Order your tickets here to support Team England during the World Cup.

Two members of our PE Department who are gearing up for the World Cup tell us more about their lacrosse history:

Laura Merrifield

You are currently Captain of the Senior England Women’s Lacrosse Team, where did you begin your lacrosse career?

I started playing lacrosse at St George’s School Harpenden when I was 11 years old. I joined my local club at the age of 13.

What has been your lacrosse highlight?

I have several lacrosse highlights and it is hard to single one out in particular. These include winning a bronze medal at the U19 World Cup 2009, being named on the All-World team at Junior and Senior level, winning a National Championship as a member of the University of Maryland Lacrosse Team and having the opportunity to meet Barack Obama.

You attended the University of Maryland and were the first English-born captain. How did this experience of American lacrosse develop your game?

Having the opportunity to train and compete at the highest level of lacrosse day in day out for four years completely transformed my game. I became much stronger and faster and my stick work/game awareness improved immensely. The physicality and speed of the American college game provided me with invaluable experience.

What is expected of a captain at international level?

A captain’s role is to provide the link between the players and the coaches and at the same time to lead and motivate your teammates to develop a strong feeling of self-belief in every player. If you lead by example and do your best to demonstrate selflessness, passion and hard work, the rest should take care of itself.

England have recently been on tour to the USA and Australia. Were these experiences good preparation for the July 2017 World Cup?

These were fantastic opportunities for Team England. Exposure to playing the top countries in the world is invaluable experience. We are a young squad and the only way to prepare to compete at this level is to experience it on the field.

What advice would you give to any of our Wycombe Abbey lacrosse players who are keen to play internationally?

My advice to a Wycombe Abbey lacrosse player would be to grab every opportunity you can. Work hard to improve your skills and enjoy every second when you step out on the pitch, playing alongside your teammates. Dedication and hard work will soon be recognised by both players and coaches.

Ruby Smith

You have captained the Junior England Women’s Lacrosse team and have progressed to Senior level, but where did your lacrosse career begin?

I started playing lacrosse at secondary school when I was 11 years old. I had never heard of the sport until I started Godolphin School but absolutely loved it!

Where on the pitch do you prefer to play?

I have played everywhere on the pitch apart from GK but my preferred position is midfield.

What has been your proudest moment as an athlete?

My proudest moment was captaining the U19 World Championship team andit was there where I was selected to be one of 12 players to compete in the all-star world team.

Having previously played in both the Junior and Senior World Cup amongst other international events, what is your next personal sporting goal?

My next personal goal is to be selected to represent England in the nextSenior World Championships here in England in July 2017. Off the pitch, I aim to encourage as many people to get involved in lacrosse and realise how special the game is. To see the sport grow and be re-selected into the Olympic programme would be a real achievement for athletes across the world.

What advice would you give to any of our Wycombe Abbey lacrosse players who are keen to play internationally?

Never give up! There will be tough moments throughout all levels of lacrosse, from school to national level, but if you have a passion for something then you have to work for it. Do anything you can to improve every part of your game on and off the pitch and you will reach your goals!