Kingston, Jamaica is abuzz as the U.S. Virgin Islands’ lacrosse teams take to the field for the 2023 Pan-American Lacrosse Association (PALA) Sixes Cup starting today. In a notable first, the USVI’s women’s team is making its inaugural appearance at the tournament—an event that head coach Kim Russell describes as “an extraordinary opportunity for growth and learning.”
The women’s squad is poised for its initial matches against formidable opponents from Jamaica, Haudenosaunee, and Peru, with anticipation running high within the team. Ms. Russell emphasizes the team’s eagerness to engage in competition, marking a significant step for the sport’s development in the region.
Meanwhile, the men’s team, which is no stranger to the PALA stage, is preparing to face off against teams from Jamaica, Puerto Rico, and Mexico. Men’s head coach Jojo Marasco lauds this year’s lineup as “a dedicated collective committed to advancing lacrosse globally and cementing its presence in the U.S. Virgin Islands.”
The tournament gains further prominence with the recent recognition of the Sixes lacrosse format by the International Olympic Committee for potential inclusion in the 2028 Olympic Games. This version of lacrosse, as defined by World Lacrosse, promises a dynamic and condensed experience, emphasizing swift gameplay and continuous high-octane scoring. It features six players per team and is played on a smaller pitch, enhancing the pace and intensity of the game.
Amidst the rising profile of Caribbean lacrosse, highlighted by Jamaica’s impressive top eight finish at this year’s World Lacrosse Championships, the Executive Director of the USVI Lacrosse Association, Rich Carter, expresses his enthusiasm about the opportunities ahead. “The prospect of both our women’s and men’s teams representing the Virgin Islands at this prominent event in Jamaica fills me with immense excitement,” he stated.
With the region’s lacrosse community watching closely, the USVI teams are set to demonstrate their skill and passion, striving to make a mark on the regional lacrosse landscape at this year’s PALA Sixes Cup.