It's a marvelous opportunity, culturally and competitively, and from a business point of view, it could be just as fruitful.
The Anne Arundel County Youth Lacrosse Club again is headed for England, and 14-year-old defenseman John Svec of Cape St. Claire is among the 41 county youths in two age divisions preparing for their July 13-28 journey to Stockport, England.
"I'm excited about playing over there, and I might be able to make a few bucks, too, if I can pack a lot of equipment," said Svec, who will attend Broadneck High in the fall.
Svec's equipment may have a dollar value, but certainly no price can be put on the experience to be gained by the two teams, whose members range from 12 to 15 years old.
"This is a great cultural experience for the kids," said Mike Svec, John's father, who is a coordinator of the program begun in 1978 by Rob Leiwald.
"Rob and Les Grainger, who is a legend in English lacrosse, set up the exchange program, and every odd year we go over there. Mike Wenrich of Cape St. Claire succeeded Rob in keeping the program going, and the
interaction between Anne Arundel County and the Stockport Metros is great," Mike Svec said.
Since 1978, some 300 county boys have played in England.
In the even years, Stockport generally visits the United States in the spring and Anne Arundel almost always goes abroad in July.
The Anne Arundel youths will meet the lord mayor of Manchester at a town hall reception upon arrival and visit the Royal Exchange Theatre. Later, there will be trips to the birthplace of William Shakespeare and legendary Warwick Castle, and
they will take a train to London and a double-decker bus tour.
In between, the boys, who each paid $1,200 for their expenses and will be living with families in the Stockport area, will play games against teams from the host city, Cheadle Hulme, Poynton, Mellor, Timperley, Heaton Mersey and the Stockport Metros.
The Metros is an all-star team with players from all the clubs.
The county 15-and-under team will be coached by O. T. Campbell and Ed Mullen. Rob White and Wenrich will coach the 13-and-under squad. All of the coaches have extensive backgrounds in the sport.
"The kids come from all over the county and have been practicing three days a week," said Svec.
"Our coaches start accepting applications for the team back in September, observe the kids in their youth games and put the team together in the spring."
Seven players on the 15-and-under squad made varsities this spring as freshmen, including Mount St. Joseph twins, Brian and Marc Lachapelle of Berrywood. The Lachapelles are midfielders, along with Jim Hardesty (Friendship), Sean Hogan (Davidsonville), Bobby Lincoln (Glen Burnie), Chris Martin (Cape St. Claire), Josh Sims (Edgewater) and Ben Marchant (Severn, attending Boys' Latin).
The 15-and-under attackmen are Ryan Metzbower (Severna Park), Jamison Mullen, Justin Nash and Patrick Ware (all of Cape St. Claire) and Josh White (Annapolis).
Defensemen are Jason Mullin (Millersville), Jason Langley (Davidsonville), Kevin Schelenski (Severna Park), John von Schwarz (Annapolis) and John Svec (Cape St. Claire), and the goalies are James Carter (Linthicum) and Josh Rudder (Edgewater).
Midfielders on the 13's are Jeff Childs, Conor Hughes and Jonathan Price (all of Annapolis), Cameron Fawkes and Grant Kuchta (Cape St. Claire), Ben Taylor (Arnold), Sean Songer (Tracey's Landing), Randy Newman (Severna Park) and Mike Moraz (Davidsonville).
Fred Hill (Arnold), Brian Messineo (Davidsonville), Justin Mullin (Cape), Jeff Small (Annapolis) and Ben Whitelock (Severna Park) are the attackmen.
On defense, the coaches will call on Mike Donlin and Drew Samaras (Annapolis), Todd Simpson and Andy Walenga (Linthicum), and Mike Garrott (Arnold). Mark Bloomquist (Linthicum) and Andrew Larkin are the goalies.