Young Americans with Passion for Africa Tabbed to Lead Uganda Cranes
Kampala, Uganda – The Uganda Cranes took another step towards making international sports history earlier today when Maurice Sserunkuma, Secretary General of the Uganda Lacrosse Union (ULU) announced the coaching staff for Team Uganda’s trip to the United States to compete in the FIL World Championship. The ULU is proud to announce a staff of outstanding coaches that have a high level of lacrosse competency, coupled with a passion for unlocking the human potential on the continent of Africa. Sserunkuma has named Andrew Boston (Peace Corps, Delaware) as Head Coach with a strong supporting cast of assistants in Tom Schreiber (Princeton), Tanner Scales (Virginia) and Casey Lavallee (Hebron, CT).
“We had a lot of interest from people from around the world that wanted to be part of this staff and at the end of the day, we decided to go with people that were not only competent and knowledgeable lacrosse coaches, but that had a very serious and sustained interest in uplifting the nation of Uganda and the continent of Africa in general,” said Maurice Sserunkuma, Secretary General of the Uganda Lacrosse Union. “All of these coaches are supporting development efforts in our country that go well beyond the lacrosse field. They have a heart to use education and sports to inspire social change.”
Sserunkuma announced Andrew Boston as the head coach of Team Uganda. Boston, hails from Baltimore, MD, where he starred at Loyola Blakefield before moving on to successful college career at the University of Delaware. He has been working with the Peace Corps in northeastern Uganda for the past two years, prior to that he led recovery efforts at an internally displaced people’s camp in Haiti following the tragic earthquake of 2009. Boston lives in Uganda and has a level of cultural competency that gives him an immediate rapport with the players.
“First and foremost, Coach Boston has serious leadership credibility as a man that cares about the people of Uganda. His efforts to support education and development in some of the most impoverished corners of our country are noble and give him instant respect from our team,” said Sserunkuma. “These experiences, coupled with his knowledge of the game and ability to speak Luganda, make him a perfect fit as the first ever head coach of Team Uganda.”
The assistant coaching staff is very young, and is a reflection of the young lacrosse community in the United States that is responsible for the growth of lacrosse in East Africa. Princeton all-American and Tewaaraton Finalist, Tom Schreiber will serve as the offensive coordinator. Schreiber spent a summer in Uganda coaching, serving and learning with the Lacrosse Volunteer Corps program run by Fields of Growth. He also spearheaded efforts to help build a school for 250 orphans and vulnerable children.
“Tom’s relationship with our players is really special. He has the humble spirit of a servant leader that inspires everyone at Uganda Lacrosse to run through a wall for him. Our players also respect what he has done to support primary school education in Uganda, he is a great role model to our team.”
Heading up the defense for the Cranes will be Denver’s own Tanner Scales, last year’s ACC Rookie of the Year at the University of Virginia. Scales is off to Uganda this winter to run the team’s holiday training camp. While he is there he will also walk 100 miles through rural Uganda and across the equator to the remote rural village of Kkindu, all in an effort to raise funds and awareness for the Dream 2014 Campaign and the HOPEFUL school. Scales follows in the footsteps of UVA alum, John Christmas who has become a hero to many Ugandan lacrosse players after his 2011 visit to the country.
“We have moved some very athletic attackmen and midfielders to defense in recent months and are looking forward to Tanner’s leadership in helping them better understand team defense,” Said Sserunkuma. “Our players are looking forward to the training camp in Kampala, they are also excited to join Tanner on his walk through Uganda.”
The last member of the coaching staff, Casey Lavallee, might just make history of his own this summer as the youngest person to ever coach in the FIL World Championships. Lavallee is an 18 year-old high school graduate that has put college on hold for a year to live in Uganda where he serves with the non-profit organization Fields of Growth as a primary school teacher and lacrosse coach.
According to Sserunkuma, “Great sacrifices earn you great respect. Casey is giving a year of his life to Uganda Lacrosse, and our players love him for that. He is a talented young coach and has been running all of our fall training sessions. Lavallee knows the players better than anyone and is an integral part of our staff.”
The effort to make international sports history, and bring Team Uganda to the World Championships is being spearheaded by Fields of Growth, a US based non-profit organization driven primarily by young lacrosse enthusiasts. The initiative is being dubbed the Dream 2014 Campaign. The theme One World, One Team, One Dream, was crafted by campaign director Aimee Dixon, a dynamic, young leader who played college lacrosse at Louisville and had a stint with the US Olympic Committee before moving to Uganda last year to create a development plan for the Uganda Lacrosse Union and a school for impoverished children. Together with a crew of college and high school students, Dixon is mobilizing a movement that will engage the entire lacrosse community, young and old, to extend the gift and power of a dream to Team Uganda.
For more information on how to support the Dream 2014 Campaign visit www.dream2014.org.