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Severn's Loukas Sotiropoulos-Lawrence makes history in Israel

Loukas Sotiropoulos-Lawrence had quite the experience this summer. Playing lacrosse was the easy part.

Sotiropoulos-Lawrence, a rising junior at Severn School, participated in the Federation of International Lacrosse Men’s World Championship in Netanya, Israel, for two weeks in mid-July. While it’s an experience he’ll never forget, it’s also one that nearly didn’t happen.

Sotiropoulos-Lawrence was scheduled to play in a tournament the second day of the two-day tryouts in late fall, meaning the coaches only had one day’s worth of play to evaluate. He was given the OK from the coaches who said they had seen enough after one day. He then received a call to go to Furman University in South Carolina for a round of scrimmages in the winter and was eventually offered a spot on the Greek National Team.

Sotiropoulos-Lawrence, who was born in the United States, is the son of Stacey Lawrence and former longtime girls lacrosse coach at Severn, Renie Sotiropoulos. In order to play for the team, though, he had to obtain dual citizenship. That’s where things got complicated.

“It was a lot of paperwork,” he said. “My grandparents were born in Greece, so I had to get a copy of my grandfather’s birth certificate.”

After a trip to the Greek embassy in Washington, D.C,. and some digging by family members in Greece, the birth certificate was finally found after a roughly two-week search.

“It didn’t look like it was going to turn up, but it eventually did,” he said.

Prior to going to Israel for the tournament, the team spent a few days practicing and sightseeing in Greece, giving Sotiropoulos-Lawrence an opportunity to learn more about the country he was getting ready to represent in the tournament.

“It blew me away, honestly. I always wanted to go to Greece,” he said. “I was finally where my ancestors lived and grew up. It was really big.”

At the tournament in Israel, the Greek National Team went 4-3 and finished 19th out of 48 teams. Sotiropoulos-Lawrence, the youngest player on the team, started in goal in three games, winning two. At 16 at the time of the tournament, he was the youngest goalie to start and get a win in FIL Championship history. He was the winning goalie in victories over New Zealand and Switzerland and finished the tournament with a save percentage of 50.

While not playing in goal, he played some in the field to fill in where needed. The Greek National Team was guaranteed to play at least six games in the tournament, which was eventually won by the United States.

“The experience itself was fascinating for me playing as a 16 year old against high-level competition,” he said. “The experience was amazing and beyond belief.”

While not practicing or playing games, the team enjoyed the local cuisine of both Greece and Israel. While in Israel, the team went on a tour of Jerusalem. There was also an opportunity to enjoy some time on the beach, plus soccer fans on the team took some time to watch the World Cup.

Sotiropoulos-Lawrence, who turned 17 on July 25, plays football and lacrosse at Severn. He’s gearing up for the first day of football practice, which is Monday. Defensively, he’s lined up at various linebacker positions, while on offense he’s been used as a slot receiver and running back. He also plays club lacrosse for the Annapolis Hawks, primarily in weekend tournaments. He’ll use the winter to rehab any nagging ailments before getting ready for another year on the lacrosse team. Following the graduation of Cooper Emmons, he has a shot at earning the starting goalie position for the Admirals.

“Loukas right now is slated as our returning goalie. He’s a freakishly athletic kid who probably could play any position on the field if he put his mind to it, but thankfully he wants to stand between the pipes,” Admirals’ coach Joe Christie said. “He is coming off an amazing experience at the world games.”

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