Richard Wilson (OS 2007) has been in touch regarding his journey from first playing lacrosse at Stockport Grammar School to playing the sport at university level in the USA.
When I first picked up a lacrosse stick at Stockport Grammar School, who would have thought it would quite literally take me on a journey to the US midwest to play lacrosse for an up and coming NCAA Division II university team over a two year period while studying on a master’s programme?
On completing a BSc at Birmingham University, I researched the postgraduate opportunities in the US to apply as an international student to combine study with sport. I chose Missouri as my destination as I was keen to experience the way of life in the midwest and the culture and values of the people and community I had read about.
I have not been disappointed; the adventure has more than met my expectations.
The Americans live and play hard but with a great respect. The lacrosse team trains for three hours a day with some 6am starts, training at the high intensity training centre on campus as well as on the field and including theory sessions.
The facilities are fantastic, but they are used to the maximum by all sports teams and there are of course many sports represented.
Four coaches and a squad of 35 with a “red shirt” reserve group means competition is fierce and I’m proud to be a part of it all.
I currently start for the Lindenwood University team as a face-off specialist and from August this year although not playing, will continue to be heavily involved in the lacrosse programme for the fall semester before completing my qualification.
I’ve met some amazing friends, spent time with their families, travelled across America with the team (California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas), played lacrosse to the highest standard and level of fitness in my lifetime and all while gaining an MSc.
Living the dream? I sure am and this fantastic opportunity has most certainly been a life changing experience.