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The Greece Lacrosse Association (GLA) was established in 2014 by Apostolos “Paul" Katsiaunis as a way to promote the game of lacrosse both in Greece and in the United States. Greece was first represented by a lacrosse team in the International Showcase Cherry Hill, NJ (2014), Philadelphia, PA (2016) & Providence, RI (2017). Bob Vlahakis joined the GLA in 2016 as the General Manager and spearheaded the effort for GLA to become the 57th member of the Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL) in May 2017. Wanting to take the GLA to the next step, the “Boots on the Ground” program was set in motion. Jason Pereles was hired in January of 2017 to lead the program and moved to Thessaloniki, Greece to direct those efforts. During the four-month program, lacrosse was introduced to over 1,000 elementary, middle, and high school aged children at Anatolia College. Stepan Partemian, Coordinator of Athletics and Student Activities at neighboring American College of Thessaloniki also helped introduce lacrosse at the university level. In June of 2017, the first annual “Thessaloniki Lacrosse Clinic” was held and featured 24 participants. Between the success of “Boots on the Ground” and the summer camp, lacrosse has since been added to a second and third program at school in Thessaloniki. More recently, the Greek National Team, which featured Greek-Americans and one local Greek (Ilias Zacharopoulos), competed in the 2018 World Championships where they placed 19th out of 46 countries. Prior to traveling to Israel for the competition, the team first traveled to Thessaloniki where they conducted the 2nd annual lacrosse clinic and put on a scrimmage hosted by Anatolia College and the American College of Thessaloniki. We, the GLA, believe that these programs will serve as a catalyst for the rapid development of both men’s and women’s lacrosse programs as the sport continues to grow in Greece. “With the tremendous role that Greece played in the Olympic games,” says a beaming Vlahakis, “and with all their famous Olympians, we now can proudly watch as young student-athletes of present-day Greece embrace the fastest game on two feet and make lacrosse the next major sport in Greece.”

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