WOODINVILLE — Cole Rogers isn’t a kid who normally gets ruffled. But it was only natural for a 15-year old to feel nerves, as he sat on his cross-country flight.
Rogers had been invited to represent Seattle in the US Lacrosse National Development Program for ages U15 at the US Lacrosse headquarters in Sparks, MD., Aug. 19-21.
He was one of six Washington kids in his age group to get this opportunity. The combine’s purpose was to select the top kids for the U15 and U17 age groups. This would fill out the rosters for the national teams. The plan was to build a pipeline of athletes for Team USA as lacrosse looks to return to the Olympic Games as a medal sport.
“I had a lot of anxiety going into it,” Rogers said. “I ended up realizing that it was a good experience for me regardless if I made the team. I'm still in the top 91 kids [nationally] in my age group.”
Rogers and the other kids would be competing in drills and scrimmages. Mixed in would be recruiting workshops (for college recruiters) and a class on sports psychology. The staff filmed everything for analysis later on.
At the end of the first day, Rogers returned to his room and hung out with roommate James Brands, who hailed from Georgia.
“We had four hours before going to bed,” Rogers said. “And we talked for the entire four hours. We talked about lacrosse, and we talked about dumb things our sisters had done.”
On the second day, Rogers went through the morning session before taking a midday break. He hung out with his friend and fellow Woodinville resident Zayn Patel.
“We had lunch at the national headquarters,” Rogers said. “We went to the National Lacrosse Museum. Zayn and I looked at the uniforms for the '98 team [ILF World Champions] as well as the name of my high school coach, Drew Snider (at O’Dea). Looking at that stuff, in a place I never thought I would be at the age of 15, put it perspective what I'm capable of doing.”
But on the second night, Rogers struggled to sleep. He gazed at the ceiling while his mind raced with thoughts.
“I was thinking about what I could do when I'm on the field that final day,” he said. “It kept me up until 2 a.m. when we had to get up at 7 a.m. and go to the field.”
Rogers felt good about how he played that last day. “I learned to take charge of the opportunities that you have when they present themselves. There were several times where other people were being more assertive on the field. ... That's something I've never really done because I'm used to a slow-paced offense instead of an up-and-down tempo. I learned from that and adapted.”
As of this writing, Rogers hadn’t been informed as to whether he made the cut. But regardless of the outcome, he felt good about the whole experience.
“Playing with all the east coast people, it really puts things in perspective,” Rogers said. “Because those are all the kids that make Under Armour All-America teams and [get offers to collegiate Division I teams] straight out of junior year. Playing with them and doing well with them, shows that you're not very far off.”