World Lacrosse is highlighting new members by outlining the successes and challenges of growing lacrosse in a new area. World Lacrosse spoke with Ali Heidari, the president of the Iran Lacrosse Association, World Lacrosse’s 79th member which was added in October of 2022.

How did the movement advance to become a recognized entity so quickly?

First of all, I shall acknowledge that the pace of our progress as a recognized institution is rooted in the agility of our mother organization ( World Lacrosse and APLU) and I am grateful to them.

During this year, my colleagues and I worked day and night to launch the Iran Lacrosse Association. One of the reasons for our rapid progress is meritocracy and youthfulness. My mission as the founder of Iran Lacrosse Association is to transform lacrosse into a social startup, which in turn is a unicorn in Iran, and I hope it reaches the structural revolution that is our vision. In addition, I consider ethics and organizational values ​​to be the golden principle of lacrosse development, which should be free from any corruption, conflict of interests, and ulterior motives. And finally, according to the social responsibility of the ILA, we seek to invite the talented and disadvantaged youth of the society to cooperate, which will be a win-win socio-sports approach.

What makes lacrosse an attractive sport to grow in Iran?

Lacrosse is a seed that can be planted in any soil and will bear fruit quickly, and this is rooted in its DNA. I advise young people to taste this fruit. I am sure that this planted sapling will become a giant tree in Iran shortly and until that day we will do our best to keep it safe from any pests.

What are the principles and fundamentals of your organization that will propel Iran to success on the international stage?

Implementation of a systematic training and talent identification process, and cooperation with Iranian lacrosse players around the world is the priority of our programs. Additionally, our motto is “build locally, explore globally” which expresses our international on-field and off-field vision.

What programs are on the schedule to have an impact early in your life cycle?

Various programs are planned, our priority is women in lacrosse and lacrosse promotional workshops in schools and universities. In this case, we are negotiating with related institutions and soon we will begin our activities to grow the game.

What has been the biggest challenge so far in the early days of the association?

Our biggest challenge is the recognition of the Iran Lacrosse Association by the Ministry of Sports and Youth and the NOC of Iran, which we are pursuing related affairs. Our next challenge is further lacrosse education and training in Iran, which will be done soon with the support of WL and APLU.