West coast lacrosse has been on a tear. When Denver won the NCAA DI championships it put a spotlight on our region. But the rise of the West has been accelerating at a rapid pace for several years now:
- The number of NCAA programs attending west coast recruiting events has gone from roughly 90 in 2009 to over 300 in 2013.
- The number of western players on NCAA rosters went from roughly 150 to over 350 from 2009 to 2013.
The Dragons Player Advancement (DPA) program is designed to tap into this trend and to get the most out of it for our families. Dragons Player Advancement is a menu of activities that offers everything from the best recruiting tournaments, to access to the top individual showcases on the west and east coast, including High Rollers, Black Card and Maverick Showtime. It gives families a lot of choices.
The primary building block of DPA is participation in our travel program, which is also a prerequisite for a nomination to an individual showcase. The travel program gets a new schedule format called Core 4. Core 4 includes 4 events per tournament season, and covers the best recruiting opportunities in the west: Vegas, Del Mar, Sand Storm, Denver and Vail.
The bottom line is that our players will get seen!
The elements of Dragons Player Advancement are listed below:
- Dragons Core 4 Travel Team Schedule
- Invitations to individual showcases
- Regional teams
- Invite-only collaboration teams
- ICEE, ACT/SAT test prep, tutoring and college admissions counseling
Dragons Core 4 Travel Team Schedule
The primary building block of DPA is participation in our travel program, which is also a prerequisite for a nomination to an individual showcase. The travel program gets a new schedule format called Core 4. Core 4 includes 4 events per tournament season, and covers the best recruiting opportunities in the west: Vegas, Del Mar, Sand Storm, Denver and Vail. The transition to Core 4 starts this winter. Some of our teams will play 4 tournaments, some will play 3. In the summer, all of our teams will compete in 4 tournaments. And next year all our teams will do the same 4 tournaments in the winter and summer. Having a consistent schedule allows families to plan and allocate resources better.
- OC Fall Brawl - November 20-22 (All teams)
- 2015 Vegas - December 4-6 (All teams)
- Sand Storm 2016 - January 16 & 17 (23/24 - waitlisted)
- Oceana Lax Festival - January 23 & 24 (Team line up TBD)
- NCAA Final Four - May 27-30, Philadelphia, PA
- Denver Shootout - June 17-19, Denver, CO
- Vail Lacrosse Tournament & Showcase - June 20-22, Vail, CO
- All West - July 9 & 10 OR Riptide at Oceanside - (No Dates Yet) OR Summer Storm - (No Dates Yet)
- OC Fall Brawl
- 2016 Vegas
- Del Mar
- Sand Storm 2017
- NCAA Final Four
- Denver Shootout
- Vail Lacrosse Tournament & Showcase
- 4th date same as 4th date in 2016
If you’re a top player, then attendance at individual showcases can open up many opportunities. We are in a position to offer slots at some of the best individual showcases including High Rollers, Black Card and Maverick Showtime. And we may be able to add to our list by the spring. In order to be eligible for showcase consideration, players must be on one of our Core 4 Travel Teams. That is because players are recommended to the showcases by our coaches. So the more our coaches see a player, and the better they know him, the more likely he is to be recommended.
Fall 2015 - Individual Showcase
- SoCal High Rollers - November 21 & 22 - Irvine, CA (2021 and Up) - Best West Coast showcase and the most cost effective way to get in front of top coaches. Over 70 college coaches expected to attend and historically a 75% college placement rate.
Summer 2016 - Individual Showcases
- Black Card - June 10, Philadelphia, PA (2019/18/17) - Invite-only individual showcase for the best 114 HS players in the country.
- Maverik Showtime - June 27-29, Connecticut (2020) - Top 168 rising 9th graders in the nation
- Maverik Showtime - July 5-7, Connecticut (2019/18) - Top 168 rising 10th graders and top 168 rising 11th graders in the nation
Regional teams can provide players with additional recruiting opportunities. We’re taking a collaborative approach to working with other groups so families can do as much as they feel appropriate.
- For this winter, we have synchronized our Core 4 travel team schedule with LA Heat to allow participation in their program.
- Next summer, West Coast Starz is offering a trip to the Platinum Cup on June 11 & 12 in Philadelphia for high school and middle school. The Platinum Cup takes place the day after Black Card and is an invite only tournament featuring the 10 top clubs: Team 91, LI Express, Dukes, Sweetlax, Crabs, Mesa Fresh, Laxachusetts, Primetime and Leading Edge.
Going forward, our Core 4 schedule makes it simple for families to organize priorities, and to figure out how much time and how many resources are available for additional opportunities.
Invite-Only Collaboration Teams
Over the next two years we will be developing opportunities for our players to play with players from other organizations for the purpose of attending a specific tournament, with a specific goal in mind. These teams will be put together directly by coaches and managed by Dragons, but run under different names. There will be no tryouts. The idea is that by joining forces with other organizations we are able to build teams that are stronger than our travel teams, which then allows us to compete at a higher level against stronger teams and put more good Dragons players in front of the right people. And it is very likely that we will be partnering with different organizations at different age levels and we won’t necessarily keep repeating the same partnership. For example, a 2022 team could partner with 1 or 2 other organizations for one tournament, and 1 or 2 organizations for another. We could partner with LA clubs, regional clubs and East Cost clubs, depending on the situation. This project is purposely designed to be very flexible. We will build this project in baby steps to make sure we get the logistics right and achieve a high level of quality.
ICEE, ACT/SAT and college admissions counseling for student-athletes via Vault Prep
Good grades and good test scores are essential to getting into good schools and colleges. This goes hand-in-hand with being a hard working and developed lacrosse player on the field.
We have partnered with a test prep and college counseling company called Vault Prep to offer the best possible services to Dragons families. Vault Prep offers ICEE/SSAT, ACT/SAT test preparation, tutoring and admissions support.
For Dragons applying for middle school this means Vault Prep can prepare your player for the ICEEs with a free consultation, free mock testing every Sunday, individualized tutoring sessions and an individualized study plan that outlines goals for both content and skill mastery (time management, organization, study skills).
For high school Dragons, Vault Prep will be offering a free seminar on "The Four Keys to Elite College Admissions for Student-Athletes” in November in their Santa Monica offices. They support high school families through high school planning, a “right fit” college list, communications strategies and admissions support.