ANNAPOLIS, MD – Greek-American Stephy Samaras is the new head coach for the girls lacrosse team at Annapolis, the Los Angeles Times reported, noting that she “has played and coached lacrosse at various levels during her career.”
The Annapolis graduate (Class of 1996) was on the 1996 undefeated team that won the state championship. “I’m really excited,” she told the Times, adding that “me taking the Annapolis job is something that’s been a long time coming because of the roots I have with the school and the lacrosse program.”
Following graduation, she played for the University of Virginia 1997-2000 and for the U.S. National Team between 1999-2001 and in 2005. As an assistant coach, she worked for Yale University, and as head coach for Quinnipiac in Connecticut, the University of Richmond, and the National Team of Wales and Greece.
“My goal is to not have it run as a team, but as a program. I want to connect with the younger programs in Annapolis that feed to the current program,” she told the Times, adding her commitment to the organization, “This isn’t me taking the job for a year, I’m trying to rebuild a program.”
The Greek National Lacrosse Team was founded in the USA in 2015 by Greek athletes and students, Apostolos Katsiaounis and Bob Vlachakis, who searched for players of Greek descent in the United States to form the first Greek national team and take part in the World Championship. The response was great and enthusiastic, laying the foundations for the spread of lacrosse to the next generations of Greeks.
Among the 23 players of the Men’s National Team, is Greek-American Anthony Katagas, who plays goalkeeper and represented Greece in the 2018 World Lacrosse Championship. The award-winning Hollywood film producer is perhaps best known for 12 Years Slave, produced with Brad Pitt, among others, which won the Academy Award for Best Picture in 2014.
The Women’s Greek National Team, in addition to Stephy Samaras, also features her mother, Cathy Samaras, in a key role as the president of the sports federation in Greece.
Anatolia College also has an important role for the dissemination and development of lacrosse in Greece, with its tertiary department for graduate and postgraduate studies, the ACT-American College of Thessaloniki, organizing competitions and free training for coaches, athletes, and anyone interested.
Lacrosse is currently the fastest growing sport in the U.S., according to statistics from the newspaper Sports Business Daily. With a faster growth rate than swimming, bowling, water polo, ice hockey, and football, and 36,000 Lacrosse college players in the U.S. counted since 2015. From 2009 to 2014, the growth rate of the sport was 28% .
Lacrosse began as a Native American ritual sport, which was played before they went to war. After many additions and changes, it took on the form in which the audience and the players enjoy it today.