THESSALONIKI - "Boots on the Ground" Program
Lacrosse was introduced to over 1000 elementary, middle and high school aged children in Thessaloniki, Greece in Spring of 2017 during a five-month program called “Boots on the Ground.” The program was presented to and endorsed by Anatolia College in Thessaloniki, Greece. Stepan Partemian, Coordinator of Athletics and Student Activities at Anatolia College and the GLA’s Regional Director for Thessaloniki carefully arranged physical education classes at all levels to be available. Coach Jason Pereles, who was hired by the GLA in January of 2017 as an intern, directed the efforts of the “Boots on the Ground” program. The success of the program led to a second and third school adopting the sport of lacrosse.
Bob Vlahakis, co-founder of the GLA, believes that these on-going programs, along with FIL membership and an appearance in the 2018 World Championships, will be the catalyst for the rapid development of both the men’s and women’s lacrosse programs as the sports catches on 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.”