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Minority girls lacrosse club opening doors for young people

Posted at 11:32 PM, Dec 27, 2018
and last updated 2019-01-04 14:26:28-05

Six years ago, George Roycroft’s daughters lacrosse team needed a coach.

He had never played lacrosse before, football was his game- but he took on the challenge.

Now lacrosse and his all minority high school club lacrosse team is an integral part of his life.

“They all form a sisterhood a bond,” Coach Roycroft said. “At the end of the season they come to my house and we watch a movie or have a cookout.“

His players only have to pay $200 to join the club team compared to over a thousand dollars most other clubs charge.

They compete with the big dogs and now they are sending players to the next level to keep there careers going.

Players like Dearra Harrison, a Bethany College Freshman, became the player she is because of her time as a Gator.

“I have friends that were into other things not sports, and me and them we’re just on two different pages,” Harrison said. “When I play lacrosse, it helps keep me focused and I see like a tunnel vision.”

Juanmia VanZandt an Edmonson Westside High School Junior said that being on a short list of African American female lacrosse players in the area motivates her.

“There’s not that many of my race so I try my best to stay on top with eating, making sure I’m in shape, making sure my grades are good so I’m able to pursue this furthermore in college.”

The Gators are coached by George, but his wife makes all the jerseys for the players.

His daughter Gemera was the first Gator to earn a scholarship to play at the college level, she plays at Ottawa University in Kansas.

“It makes me so happy to know that my dad is a lacrosse coach,” Gemera said. “Even though he’s never played before he is a terrific coach I think he gives a lot to the girls as they are playing for him.”

Baltimore Polytechnic Institute Junior Skye Brese is looking to translate her on field skills into a scholarship to become a mechanical engineer.

“My mother has seven kids and she’s a lawyer and a teacher,” said Brese. “Her not giving up seeing her go through life being a single mother most of her kids just pushing makes me want to do the same thing.”

Andrea Zempoalteca, one of the Hispanic members of the team, comes all the way from Prince Georges County.

“I like stick tricks, I like being loose with my game,” said Zempoalteca. “I play soccer also and I just love doing little trick it makes it more fun more movement all of that.”

Coach Roycroft gives many of the girls who are growing up in tough areas a challenging but rewarding escape.

“At the end of the day I want you to go pro at something else,” Roycroft said. “Go pro in a field you want to do and get a degree in doing that. “