Lacrosse All Stars Network
Naofumi "Udo" Suzuki, Japan Lacrosse - Going Offsides
On the fourth leg of Going Offsides goes overseas, Nick and I sit down with Naofumi "Udo" Suzuki, a college professor and Japan national team staff member. Coach Udo discusses various topics regarding lacrosse in Japan, ranging from his own experiences in the game as a player and coach. We talk about his time traveling to the United States to observe lacrosse practices to his current roles working with the national teams.
His experiences and passion for the game are unlike anyone I've spoken to in the past and it speaks volumes to Japans ability to become a power on the world scene. Membership in JLA (Japanese Lacrosse Association) stands at nearly 17,000 players, a far cry from the 21 players the country had in 1986.
“The history of the Japanese Lacrosse starts in April 1986, when a few students of Keio University, spurred by an interest in the sport of Lacrosse, visited the American Embassy," Udo explained. "Both American and Japanese businessmen and lawyers were introduced to these students and the genuine promotion of lacrosse began.“
"Through lacrosse the interaction of the younger generation in the world will foster friendship which will lead to mutual understanding” was the aim of these volunteers. For the first time in Japan, 10 sticks were donated by Mr.Ross Jones, Vice President and Secretary of Johns Hopkins University, and Mr. Bob Scott, Director of Athletics of Johns Hopkins University, to Keio University.”
Is anyone shocked that the legendary Bob Scott played a pivotal role in growing the game in Japan? The following year Don Zimmerman, again no surprise legends are involved, held the first ever lacrosse camp in Japan (1987).
Lacrosse is huge in Japan and the results are paying off as they consistently press the top countries in the world at international events.