The Jamaica Lacrosse Association (JLA) recently signed a partnership with the Spanish Town-based G.C. Foster College to have a course for the sport included in the institution’s curriculum.
The elective course will educate candidates in the art of coaching, officiating and general knowledge of the sport.
President of the JLA, Calbert Hutchinson, said the partnership will help produce more coaches and officials and increase the number of participants in the high-school league.
“We forged, signed and sealed a partnership with G.C. Foster that will see us getting physical education teachers going through the institution being equipped with the basic skill sets of coaching, officiating and understanding lacrosse
“So, these physical education teachers will be able to start to develop a team, if that school desires to include lacrosse within their institutions,” Hutchinson said.
Currently, 15 schools and 19 teams compete in the local schools league. However, the hope is that students will sign up for the programme and that it will grow and eventually lead to even more schools getting involved in lacrosse.
Hutchinson said it will be an ongoing evolving situation but, if there is a substantial number of applicants, the elective course will be expanded.
“They will look at making it into a stand-alone course in the near future. So this is just a starting point. So, like traditional sports that are included in their curriculum, hopefully, this will become one of them,” he said.
“There is no timeline, but we are hoping to build capacity with the coaches and officials going out into the school system.
“Once we can provide the training for our coaches and officials through G.C. Foster, that will allow us to steer the programme faster than we are doing right now,” he said.
The JLA was also recently accepted as an official member of the Jamaica Olympic Association, and Hutchinson believes their partnership with G.C. Foster will better prepare them for when the sport is included as part of the Olympics, which he anticipates will be in 2028.
“Our inclusion in the Jamaica Olympic Association is going to give us a framework and infrastructure for us to help ourselves more.
“Lacrosse is now fully recognised by the IOC, and the hope is that, by 2028, it will be included. Of the over 70 member associations in the international federation, Jamaica is the first country to receive recognition from their National Olympic Committee,” he said.