2017 Heart of Lacrosse Awards


(Guildford, England) On Saturday, July 22nd, Federation of International Lacrosse, English Lacrosse and event organizers named the 2017 Heart of Lacosse award winners during the closing ceremonies of the 2017 FIL Rathbones Women’s Lacrosse World Cup.

Congratulations to all of the 2017 Heart of Lacrosse award recipients!

Each country provided a short write-up for their recipients.

Shelley Maher, FIL Director of Women’s Lacrosse

Australia – Sue Sofarnos

Sue is a constant inspiration to female lacrosse players in Australia. She motivates & empowers everyone to be their very best in every moment. Throughout this campaign she has had a huge impact on the team’s growth & connectedness. While the dynamics of her role have been different throughout, she’s never wavered in her support & team first focus.

Belgium – Séraphine Alterman

Séraphine receives this award for everything she has done and is still doing for women’s lacrosse in Belgium. She was 1 of the first players in Belgium and built everything we can be proud of now! She was the federation’s women’s coordinator, and set up the women’s national team program which participated in the EC and now in its first World Cup. She’s a fantastic umpire and set up the umpire program in Belgium from scratch. She lives and breathes lacrosse and Belgium would not be here if it was not for her.

Canada – Fred Jenner

Fred Jenner has been a dedicated volunteer for the Canadian women’s national team for the past two years. In that time, he has spent countless hours away from his family in order to help us reach out goal of winning the gold medal. His positive attitude and “team first” mentality makes him a pleasure to be around. While his job might not be the most glamourous, he is not one to complain. Fred is the heart of our team and he deserves to be recognized for his hard work.

China – Morgan Banaszek

No other individual has contributed more to the development of women’s lacrosse in China. Her perseverance and dedication to the program is the sole reason this team was able to make an appearance at its first World Cup.

Colombia – Adriana Piernagorda

Adriana has been the fuel for our growing program. With all coaches living abroad, she not only has been a player but also has taken on the roles of both coach and fundraiser. Adriana’s dedication, determination, and passion is evident to all of us involved with Colombia lacrosse. Her indomitable spirit inspires her teammates and coaches alike day in and day out. However, Adriana’s most notable quality is her humility. Although she has never expected any recognition for her contributions, she deserves all the praise we have to give. Without Adriana, we, Colombia, would not be here at the World Cup today.

Czech Republic – Veronika Brychcínová (Beruška)

Veronika is the former and longest-serving president of Czech Women’s Lacrosse. She has been part of the Czech lacrosse family since 1990.  Veronika has been a member of the Czech National Team eleven times and has had a large and crucial impact on the development of women’s lacrosse in the Czech Republic, not only as a player but also as a coach of our young women.  She has served as our primary contact in communication with foreign countries and the FIL.  Because of her fair-play attitude towards lacrosse and to life she is one of the biggest personalities in women’s lacrosse in the Czech Republic.

Czech Republic – Veronika Brychcínová (Beruška)

Veronika is the former and longest-serving president of Czech Women’s Lacrosse. She has been part of the Czech lacrosse family since 1990.  Veronika has been a member of the Czech National Team eleven times and has had a large and crucial impact on the development of women’s lacrosse in the Czech Republic, not only as a player but also as a coach of our young women.  She has served as our primary contact in communication with foreign countries and the FIL.  Because of her fair-play attitude towards lacrosse and to life she is one of the biggest personalities in women’s lacrosse in the Czech Republic.

Germany – Lisa Schulte

Lisa Schulte is an outstanding person in German women’s lacrosse. She started to play in 2000, and entered the national team as a player in 2002. She played also at the European Championships in 2003, 2008, and 2012, and in the World Cup in 2005 and 2009. While playing, she started to coach as an assistant coach at the U19 program in 2006 and proceeded until 2011. With her club team in Munich, she also won several German championships until she retired as an active player and joined the German national team staff as assistant coach in 2014, where you can see her today. She also helps growing lacrosse in German by holding camps for beginners and intermediates throughout the country. And after all, all who knows her know that she is a lovely person.

Haudenosaunee – Kathy Smith

Throughout all of the obstacles in getting to the World Cup, Kathy has remained a very positive and influential part of our program. Her belief and determination were a vital part of The Haudenosaunee being able to represent and compete at the 2017 World Cup.

Hong Kong – Travis Taylor

For this 24/7 dedication to every single player for the past year. His effort to provide us with the best possible training environment as well as recruiting a tremendous coaching and team staff.

His love and affection for our whole team has been heartfelt by every single member of the team.

Ireland – Rebecca Headon

Rebecca has been on the Ireland Women’s National Lacrosse team since 2008. Rebecca has also been a team captain for Ireland in the 2012 European Championships, 2013 World Cup, 2015 European Championships, and this World Cup team. She is a vocal leader who mentors younger players and leads the team in our national anthem and Ireland’s Call. She is always the first to talk to other teams and to recruit fans to join in our post-game singing. As a surgeon in her regular life, she has sacrificed a great deal to be part of this team and a major leader of her club in Dublin. A dedicated teammate and true leader, her legacy will last well past when she retires her boots.

Israel – Sarah Meisenberg

Sarah epitomizes the spirit of lacrosse award. Since making Aliyah five years ago, Sarah has been tirelessly dedicated to spreading the game throughout Israel – developing youth programs and cultivating athletes, including members of the current Israel National Team. This summer Sarah helped facilitate the first ever inclusion of lacrosse in the Maccabiah Games – the world’s largest Jewish athletic competition. In addition to her selfless contributions to the growth of lacrosse, Sarah has played an integral role on the Israel Women’s National Team. She has been a member of every Israel national team since its inception, playing in the 2013 World Cup and captaining the teams for the 2015 European Championships and the 2017 World Cup. She is an outstanding ambassador for Israel and the sport of lacrosse.

Italy – Ludovica Giorgetti

Team Italy would love Ludovica to be awarded with “Heart of Lacrosse Award” because of her infinite patience in managing all the organization for the team through the time we were preparing for the WC17 while being a player too. She’s always been more than passionate on and off the field, extremely punctual and hard working for this event and lacrosse in Italy, in general.

Ludo, remember “You will never work alone.” Thank you.”

Japan – Ryohei Terada

He is our trainer, physio, but more than that, he is our players’ big brother. His smile and funny words always make us relax. This is the third time for him to attend the World Cup. His dedication is much appreciated by Japan Lacrosse.

Korea – Hae-Soo Lee

This time is the third time for World Cup since 2009. She was a captain and is still a captain of the Korea team. She is working hard to make a team and organize the team.

Latvia – Gretchen Lasda

Latvia Lacrosse federation wants to thank you, Gretchen, and inform that you deserved to be awarded of “Heart​ of Lacrosse” award. This is our immeasurable thanks to you about the fulfillment of the dreams and success – Latvian National Women’s Lacrosse Team. For the spirit of sportsmanship, high passion of lacrosse and love of the country of Latvia.

Mexico – Hugo Gerardo Rosales

Thank you for being an amazing support for our team and this wonderful sport. You have been a great example of great generosity for our campaign.

Netherlands – Rianne Oostwoud Wijdenes

As a player and president of the women lacrosse board, Rianne is valuable on and off the field. Rianne devotes her time and energy all year long and is determined to grow the game of lacrosse in the Netherlands. After she tore her ACL before the EC in 2015, she came back even stronger to earn her valued position on the World Cup team.

New Zealand –

Scotland – Emily (Flame) Knight

Emily started playing in the Scotland setup in 2006 and has played with the senior squad in 3 World Cups.  She has distinguished herself as a player in her role as starting attacker, helping the squad achieve #6 world ranking in Canada and the bronze medal in the Europeans competition in 2008, 2011, 2015.  She has served as captain on many of the squads which she has been a part of, and distinguished herself as a motivational and organizational leader, both on and off the pitch.

Beyond that, though she has been invaluable in recruiting players to train and play with Scotland by keeping in touch with them and reaching out to them when necessary.  She has offered her skills to organized events and matches for the squad, helped coaches plan training sessions and strength and conditioning routines, and generally has been the conduit between the coaching staff and the wider community of Scotland lacrosse players at all levels.

Emily’s selfless personality and charming, disarming way of communicating has added so much to the culture of Scotland lacrosse, and for this she truly represents the Heart of Lacrosse.

Spain – Beatriz de la Fuente

For being the first Spanish woman’s lacrosse player and for actively working in the development of the sport, collaborating in the creation of new teams, referee training, establishment of the women’s league and national women’s team, as well as all her contributions to the men’s lacrosse in the country. All of this makes her the reference to which all the players look on and off the field.

Sweden – Teckla Jackson

Teckla’s tremendous passion and love for the game is contagious. She inspires and motivates us as teammates, coaches, and a community to continue to work hard to build and develop our Swedish Women’s Lacrosse program.

Switzerland – Patricia Ricklin

For the endless time she put into organizing the participation of the Swiss National Team at the 2017 World Cup while also being an active player on the national team and the President of Swiss women’s lacrosse.

USA – Jess Wilks

To all who have ever worn the red, white & blue, this person has come to embody what it means to represent the US Program.   She is passionate not only about the game and the US Program, but more importantly about how the game is played.  She always has the integrity of the game in mind and reminds us daily that the game is what brought us all together, and that it is our responsibility to leave the game better than we found it.

More often than not she is a leader with few words, but as a result, her voice then carries much more weight.  She is always guiding us down the right path.  She is the voice of reason and wisdom–always supportive, but critical, constructive, and direct when needed.  She is our fearless leader in huddles and on the sidelines—knowing just what we need at any given moment. Her perspective and appreciation of the game and the experience has been crucial to the culture of our program today.  She has shown us how to respect the game, our opponents, our officials and each other.

She is a legend, not only in the game, but also within the US Program.  The US Program has not been without her since 1991—she has played in 4 World Cups, coached the past three, and coached the US U19 Team in 2007.  She connects the past and the present all the while asking us to look to the future.  She challenges us to be approachable role models for the next generation of US Team players by carrying ourselves with class.

Wales – Raj Rout

Raj Rout has been heart and soul of Wales Lacrosse for many years.  He has coached Wales for 10 years, through 2 World Cups and 3 European Championships and previously coached Oxford University for 10 years.  He is unbelievably dedicated to the team, not only coaching but is also Team Doctor.  He works tirelessly to improve team performance and is always keen to learn from others to better the players.  Not only that he has stepped up when Managers / Coaches have gone on maternity leave – taking on their duties without any hesitation.  He is the most passionate, committed and caring person whose heart really is lacrosse.

Officials – Leadership Team

The Leadership team for this World Cup was led by the Women’s Officiating Chair Stephen Taylor, and comprised Jan Jackson, Women’s Rules Chair, Nancy Madsen (Head Assignor), Wendy Reynolds (Head Mentor/Assessor), and Nancy Coffman and Shoko Noda (Head Clinicians).  The Leadership team were recognized by their peers as the consummate professionals, ensuring that every area of preparation was completed prior to the event and that every in competition area was successfully delivered during the event. We are eternally grateful to the leadership team for their ongoing guidance, expertise and encouragement.