Kyle Harrison

"We have all been in the situation where we were the only black player on a team," Kyle Harrison said. "It's about celebrating how far the sport has come, and to show young black players that there are other players that look just like them playing this sport at a very high level." (LXM Pro Tour photo / November 10, 2012)

Former Johns Hopkins All-American Kyle Harrison is helping to bring together the world’s greatest black lacrosse players to form the Sankofa Lacrosse Alliance, aimed at promoting academic, professional and social achievement for the next generation of lacrosse players.

“We have all been in the situation where we were the only black player on a team,” said Harrison, a Friends graduate who won the 2005 Tewaaraton Award as the nation's top player. “It’s about celebrating how far the sport has come, and to show young black players that there are other players that look just like them playing this sport at a very high level.”

On Oct. 25, the Ambassadors team – made up of African-American professional and recent college players – will scrimmage against Brown University and Team England in Providence, R.I.

“We’ve each been approached about the idea of starting an all-black team numerous times,” said co-organizer Chazz Woodson, a midfielder for Major League Lacrosse's Ohio Machine. “We decided that we were in a position to really bring it together the right way and with something bigger in mind.”

Instead of focusing solely on competing, their plan is to equally emphasize what the players on that team can do to encourage academic, social and professional achievement among young people.

Harrison and Woodson, formerly teammates on the Los Angeles Riptide and the LXM Pro Tour, will be joined by some of the brightest stars of lacrosse, including Jovan Miller, former Chesapeake Bayhawk Johnny Christmas and Sam Bradman (Salisbury).

“This project has been in the works for at least three years now,” Harrison said. “We have had a number of different ideas and visions for where we want this to go, so I’m proud to see it finally come together.”

The Sankofa concept is derived from King Adinkera of the Akan people of West Africa. Literally translated, it means “it is not taboo to go back and fetch what you forgot.”

Woodson said networking, outreach, and exposure are the three major objectives of the alliance.

“Since the beginning, the consistent focus has been to connect the African-American lacrosse community geographically and generationally, and to utilize the collective experiences and resources of that network to promote academic, professional, and social achievement among all populations."

For further information on the Sankofa Lacrosse Alliance, and the Ambassadors team, please follow them on Facebook at facebook.com/SankofaLax and Twitter @SankofaLax

The tentative schedule for the three-way scrimmage Oct. 25 is:
Sankofa vs. Team England, 2 p.m.
Sankofa vs. Brown, 3 p.m.
Brown vs. Team England, 4 p.m.