Two years ago, Mt. Laurel’s Bryce Reece had never picked up a lacrosse stick.
Now, he’s preparing to play in one of lacrosse’s biggest events.
Just two years after choosing to play lacrosse for the first time, Reece will be traveling with an all-star team to Denver for the 2014 Lacrosse World Championships. Reece’s team will be playing against other 13-and-under all-star teams from around the United States.
Reece has spent the last couple of years playing lacrosse for the Mt. Laurel Indians.
His talent made him stand out and his coaches encouraged him to try out with U.S. Lacrosse for the Denver games.
“A couple of guys I coached with are very avid lacrosse fans,” said Bryce’s father Tony. “One of the fathers told me U.S. lacrosse is putting a team together and they sent out emails to all the teams in the area to nominate their top three players.”
Bryce was one of approximately 70 kids to try out for the all-star team in Hightstown last spring. The majority of the kids selected for the team have at least four years experience playing lacrosse.
Playing at the World Championships could be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity because the World Lacrosse Championships are only held once every four years. Bryce realizes this is his chance to take on some of the best players from around the country in his age group.
“My team is playing against other good teams and I expect there to be good competition,” he said.
While Bryce is new to the sport, Tony played lacrosse for Cornell University in the mid-1980s and was coaching prior to Bryce taking up the sport. For many years, Bryce didn’t play because he wasn’t interested.
“I hadn’t been interested in lacrosse for a while,” Bryce said. “I had been playing baseball and basketball.”
Tony always thought Bryce had the skills and athleticism for lacrosse, but he wasn’t going to force his son to play.
After some time, Bryce finally decided to give lacrosse a try.
“My dad told me ‘I guarantee you, if you try it, you’ll be great at it,’” Bryce said. “And then here I am, two years later, I’m on an all-star team going to Denver.”
Being around the sport of lacrosse as a player and coach, Tony believed Bryce has the speed and skills to play the game. While Bryce isn’t the biggest player on the field, his speed allows him to elude defenders.
“He has a gift that God gave him, his speed,” Tony said. “You can be five feet tall and be a terror. I’ve played the game. I’ve seen it.”
Bryce’s speed gave him an advantage over the competition, however he has still needed time to pick up the fundamentals of the game.
Bryce has dedicated most of his free time to lacrosse to make up for lost experience. Even when he is not on the field, he has figured out ways to improve his weaknesses, such as his ball handling from the weak side.
“Since I’m right-handed, I started doing things with my left hand,” he said. “It’s been pretty useful.”
Lacrosse has taken up most of Bryce’s sports calendar now. He was selected for the South Jersey Shamrocks lacrosse team this summer, meaning he will be playing the sport straight through the summer and fall. He plans to continue playing basketball during the cold weather months as well.
Down the road, Bryce isn’t sure whether lacrosse or basketball will take precedence. However, with his fast start in lacrosse, he believes he can some day reach the same level his father did 30 years ago.