British lacrosse players Wise and Cohen pose for a selfie

Lacrosse stars launch south west London clinic as Olympics return looms

In the wake of lacrosse’s return to the Olympics in 2028, two British and England lacrosse players launched a clinic in south west London.

The aim for Julie Wise, 27, and Ella Cohen, 23, who created the Golden Goal clinic, is to bridge the gap between young players navigating the national pathway and seasoned England players.

Both acknowledged the absence of a cohesive framework that could easily nurture those players close to the national pathway to the level needed to represent the country.

Wise and Cohen both earned their first England caps in 2022 and, with 16 years of coaching between them, they have extensive experience of the game to mentor the upcoming talent into the elite pathways.

Wise commented: “We want to introduce younger players to the nuances of the Olympic game, from strategic dodging techniques to the physicality inherent in the sport.

“Our clinics have a strong focus on the six-a-side format especially following the Olympic announcement where that will be used.”

Cohen added: “It has given the players we coach so much more inspiration and motivation because, even though they’re young, the Olympics is only four years away so there’s a real chance they could represent the country in Los Angeles.”

The inclusion of lacrosse six’s in the 2028 Olympics marks a significant departure from the traditional ten-a-side format.

This adaptation promises a faster, more dynamic game, with possession alternating after each goal, creating a faster and more exciting game for the global stage.

Men’s lacrosse was last played in the Olympics in 1948, whilst 2028 is the first time in history that the women’s game has featured.

Wise commented: “It would be a dream come true to represent the country in the Olympics.

“We put so much time and effort into this sport without being paid and training alongside our full-time jobs so to now be given the opportunity to represent the country at the highest platform is exciting for our sport.

“Women’s football has changed the status and reputation of the sport for women across the country, and I hope we can follow in their footsteps.

“I think every sportswoman now has a soft spot for the Lionesses because of how quickly they’ve gained popularity for women’s sport and become real role models for young women everywhere.”

Cohen added: “When I was growing up, there has always been a stigma about a girl being good at sport, and I hope we can help change that image.

“We want to be able to show that it’s really cool to be athletic, strong, powerful, and quick, which isn’t always how the media portrays women at all, and we try to cement this to the players during our clinics.”

Whilst both the players and the coaches are currently self-funded, Wise and Cohen hope that the Olympics will give lacrosse the platform it needs to be funded through sponsorship, and be introduced into more schools.

Lacrosse in the UK is traditionally viewed as an all-girls private school sport making it inaccessible to many.

With a global spotlight on the sport, Wise and Cohen are hoping there will be future funding to allow for more schools to introduce it into their curriculums increasing the talent across the country.

Julie Wise coaching a one-on-one clinic at the first Golden Goal clinic. Credit: Ella Cohen

Phil Collier, Head Coach of the British women’s lacrosse team, echoes this sentiment, highlighting the transformative impact of Olympic recognition.

Collier said: “The decision means that young players can now genuinely have the Olympic dream that was denied to players of my generation.

“Top players in the UK prepare like professionals, investing countless hours in training and skill development and Olympic recognition will only strengthen their commitment and hopefully reduce the financial burden on the players as there will be the possibility of this being a full-time career.”

As lacrosse gears up for its Olympic resurgence, the Golden Goal clinic stands as a testament to the sport’s enduring spirit and the determination of its athletes to reach new heights on the world stage.

With the support of sponsors and a growing fan base, the British lacrosse community will be poised for a golden era of success come 2028.

Collier added: “It’s important to recognise that we are genuine medal contenders.

“During the World Games we finished fourth and we were missing a lot of our key players through injury, so it will be really interesting to see how we do when we have all our players at peak performance.”

Looking ahead, Cohen and Wise aspire to expand Golden Goal’s reach, offering one-on-one clinics and summer training sessions.

The next clinic takes place 12th April and more details, including one-on-one clinics, can be found on their website here.

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