Major League Lacrosse announced today that the Hamilton Nationals will move to South Florida for the 2014 season and be coached by former Navy and Towson assistant Stan Ross. The team will be named the Florida Launch and will play in Palm Beach County.
“South Florida has always been a target market for us,” MLL commissioner David Gross said. “After the 2012 All-Star Game and last year’s exhibition we felt the market was ready for a team and we are confident that bringing the professional game there will help with the continuous growth of the sport.”
A home field for the Launch has not been determined, but MLL has been in conversations to use FAU Stadium at Florida Atlantic in Boca Raton for the team's seven-game home schedule, according to the Sun Sentinel of Fort Lauderdale.
MLL used South Florida as a test market in 2012 with the All-Star Game, in which the Old-School Team defeated the Young Guns, 18-17, at FAU Stadium. More recently MLL returned to Boca for a Nationals game against the Rochester Rattlers.
A Florida resident, Ross spent the last three seasons as an assistant coach with the Denver Outlaws, helping the team record the league’s first-ever perfect regular season in 2013.
Before joining the Outlaws, Ross coordinated the Midshipmen’s offense and defense for five years (2007-2011). He was the head coach at Butler from 2004 to 2007 and was an assistant at Towson for seven seasons (1998-2004) under current Outlaws general manager Tony Seaman.
“It is an honor to be named the first head coach in Florida Launch history,” Ross said. “I am thankful to the organization and the MLL for allowing me this opportunity to coach a professional team in my home state. Lacrosse is growing rapidly in Florida, and the addition of a local professional team will be a huge catalyst for expansion of our sport in the area. I feel the Florida Launch will be welcomed with open arms by the Florida lacrosse community.”
The Nationals played in Hamilton for five seasons, winning the league championship in their 2009 debut. No team will play in Hamilton in 2014, keeping the league at eight teams.
On Nov. 4, Chesapeake Bayhawks attackman Casey Powell indicated on Twitter that the move would happen. Powell, the head coach and director of lacrosse at North Broward Preparatory School in Coconut Creek, Fla., and former director of lacrosse and player development at Boca Raton's St. Andrew's School, tweeted: "South Florida @MLL_Lacrosse team coming in 2014. #22easy."
Dons’ Newton commits to Brown
Loyola goalie Acie Newton has committed to the admissions process at Brown. As a sophomore, Newton helped the Dons win the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference championship allowing just 8.2 goals per game and saving 55 percent of shots (a highlight reel of Newton is available here).
A member of Looney's club team, he was an All-Star at Gait Cup, also attending the Under Armour Uncommitted Game and the Maryland Freestate Game. He also considered Yale, High Point and Lehigh.
-- Inside Lacrosse
Roland Park's Mid-Atlantic Showcase aimed at girls interested in D-III
The Mid-Atlantic Elite Lacrosse Showcase, a one-day instructional event open to elite 2015 and 2016 student-athletes interested in exploring Division III opportunities, will be held Jan. 4 at Roland Park. Washington and Lee coach Brooke Diamond O'Brien and Roland Park athletic director and former Dickinson coach Carol Hatton designed the showcase.
Players will take part in three professionally officiated, full-field games in addition to a college practice with their coaches from the following institutions:
Franklin & Marshall
Washington and Lee
The day will also include a college coaches presentation about the D-III recruiting timeline followed by a Q&A, and an admissions and financial aid session. A D-III college professor will have a presentation about what to expect as a student-athlete.
The exclusive showcase is limited to 128 student-athletes, including eight goalkeepers.
For more information and to register, visit midatlanticelitelax.com.