LOGAN – With the popularity of lacrosse rapidly growing on both a local and national level, Northern Utah youth now have an avenue to compete in the sport.
Team Thunder is in its second season, and provides a way for youth to participate in the sport year-round.
“Northern Utah was lacking having a competitive lacrosse team,” said team finance director Nicole Tuttle. So the two founders of the organization decided that they needed to fill that void.”
In October of 2012, Craig Larson and Clay Christoffersen put together a team to travel to compete in a tournament. Following the competition, players and coaches decided they wanted to “make it a permanent fixture.”
Not even a year later, Team Thunder has grown to two teams – a middle school squad and a high school squad – that compete in tournaments against other competitive teams across Utah and other midwest states.
“There were just a lot of kids that wanted to continue playing after our normal rec and high school season would end, which is springtime,” said club director Craig Larson. “The demand was created by kids that wanted to play more than just eight games per year. Every program in the state and even the country is growing. There’s just year-round demand now.”
Larson said the team includes players from all over Northern Utah, including Mantua and Brigham City, and they are hoping to expand the team further.
“There’s that group of kids that want to play lacrosse,” Larson said. “They don’t want to stop lacrosse and go play football or stop lacrosse and go play basketball. It’s those kids that want to play lacrosse. That is their sport. This program is geared towards those kids that they want that to be their game.”
Head coach Clay Christoffersen has been involved with lacrosse for more than 35 years, going back to the late 1970’s where he played on one of the first teams in the state of Utah with Logan High lacrosse head coach Doug Ringle.
“I don’t think there’s anybody that’s more passionate about lacrosse than Craig and Clay,” said Mary Nielsen, a Team Thunder board member and parent of current player Grayden Nielsen. “They love it, and every kid in sports grows and struggles, and these guys are intuitive enough to know when that is and step in and help them get over that hurdle.”
Costs vary, but Larson said there are options for those interested but may have financial concerns, a situation he said 15-20 percent of the team is in.
“There are kids out here that there’s a lot family need,” Larson said. “Whether it’s for equipment or the fees to play different tournaments. The money is there for those kids that are in need, so they can still participate. It’s worked out with their parents, that those costs are covered, covered discreetly, anonymously, so the kid has a good relationship.”
Ages vary from 7th grade and up, and the season runs from late spring to early fall.
“It’s not just about being another alternative to playing in the summers,” Tuttle said. “It’s a competitive team. We want to be strong and competitive with the teams down in Salt Lake, that’s kind of our goal. But we also want to open the sport up to an area where it hasn’t been available. We want to include anyone that wants to come join us.”
More information can be found at www.TeamNUThunder.com, on Facebook, Northern Utah Thunder Lacrosse, on Twitter, @NUThunderLacros, or through email at firstname.lastname@example.org.