By Ashley Ferraro
For more than a decade, Parkland RedHawks Lacrosse has been enriching our community’s lacrosse culture while providing youth with remarkable development opportunities both on and off the field. Participating with the RedHawks means children practice sportsmanship, increase their self-confidence and self-awareness, and gain invaluable insight into the game of lacrosse–one of the country’s fastest-growing sports.
With 380 participants this year, RedHawks Lacrosse is in the midst of a record-breaking season as far as expansion. “It’s huge,” exclaims Parkland Lacrosse Vice President Jamie Bayardelle. “It’s one of our biggest seasons ever!”
Jamie says that retention rates for lacrosse in Parkland speak for themselves. Almost all players on any given team return for the following season, and a large portion of players go on to play travel lacrosse. “I’ve been involved for three or four years down here, and it’s [lacrosse] grown tremendously.”
The recreational league creates in-house teams that play amongst one another and travel locally to play against neighboring cities like Boca Raton, Weston, and Wellington. The Redhawks play under the South Florida Youth Lacrosse League (SFYLL), which includes eleven teams in total.
Parkland RedHawks Lacrosse supports players by providing a knowledgeable coaching staff, some with collegiate coaching experience. The staff works to instill core values like confidence and sportsmanship while building a sense of camaraderie amongst the players and their parents. Jamie, who has two children who participate with the RedHawks, notes that the lacrosse community in Parkland is exceptionally tight-knit and that the families experience as much of a sense of community as the players do.
To further this mission, the league has created the Beginning Players Clinic, a free program for youth ages five to fourteen from all athletic backgrounds, designed to introduce children to the game of lacrosse. The clinic is open to both Parkland residents and non-residents, with the next sessions being held over the summer.
At the clinic, players become accustomed to basic drills and techniques, as well as make new friends. Children are not required to bring equipment to participate; any gear needed is provided at the time by the RedHawks. The program is grateful for the help of local volunteers who make the clinic possible at no cost to players and their families.
“We provide everything,” says Jamie. “They can just come out and see if they like playing.” He continues, “They’re able to learn basic skills and play mini games and get a feel for what it’s [lacrosse] like.”
The RedHawks practice and play between Pine Trails Park and Terramar Park and may travel locally to play at fields of other SFYLL participants. While the RedHawks Lacrosse 2023 season will be wrapped up this month, seasoned players can look forward to travel lacrosse via Stealth in the fall, while newer players can get involved with the summer clinic.
Registration and additional information on the next Beginning Players Clinic can be found