Aug. 5—Three years ago, Fallston resident Jake Snyder began planning a trip to Ireland to play on USA Lacrosse's U19 team.
The COVID pandemic forced postponements, but after all this time, Snyder is still excited and ready to finally take the trip next week.
"I'm really just thankful because there were points and times during COVID where we thought it might get canceled," Snyder said. "Definitely thankful to World Lacrosse and USA Lacrosse for helping to make it happen and make the experience possible. The anticipation's been, it's like three years in the making, but definitely, really looking forward to it."
Snyder, a senior defender at Ohio State, and his now U21 teammates are headed to Limerick, Ireland, for the 2022 World Lacrosse Men's U21 World Championship. The tournament runs Aug. 10-20.
"The process started back in May of 2019," Snyder recalls. "I was a part of an over-100 person player pool and invited to try out in June."
That took place at USA Lacrosse headquarters in Sparks, where Snyder says the roster was cut down to 50, who were invited back in July 2019 for more tryouts and the roster was trimmed to 30-32 players.
That summer followed Snyder's graduation from Calvert Hall and led to his freshman year at Ohio State.
An event was held at Ohio State for the 32-player roster in the fall. Snyder says the team scrimmaged two private high school teams and the team was then cut to 25.
The team met again in January 2020 in San Antonio, Texas, for more scrimmages against club/all-star teams. After which Snyder says the roster was finalized at 23 players.
"That was the roster that was supposed to go to Ireland in 2020, but COVID happened," Snyder said. "So, it was originally a U19 team, but once COVID hit, everything got put on hold."
There was hope the tournament might get pushed back a year. But the team was informed later that year it was pushed back again to 2022.
A training session in June 2021 brought the team back together for the first time in a year and a half.
Some months later, with the team reconvening in November at Ohio State, Snyder says they basically opened the tryouts back up. A small number of players were added, but the roster was paired back down to 23.
"We actually scrimmaged Ohio State, so I played against my own team, which was actually pretty fun," Snyder said.
Snyder says the team had another session in June and will meet in Baltimore this weekend before heading to Philadelphia for the flight to Ireland.
"Priority number one, we're going over there to play and compete, so obviously want to come back with a gold medal and a championship," Snyder said.
In addition to his teammates, Snyder will also have his family on the trip, too. His mother, Debbie, father, Tim and older siblings Kevin and Sarah are making the trip.
"I think also, to have an incredible experience while I'm over there," Snyder said. "It is my first time over in Ireland and my whole family will be there, so just being able to experience it with them as much as I can as well as my teammates. I just want to dive myself into the culture and learn as much as I can. I'm looking forward to seeing some things, trying meals that are specific to that area."
As for the competition, USA will be in Pool A playing teams from Canada (Wednesday), England (Thursday), Haudenosaunne (Aug. 13) and Australia (Aug. 15).
Championship bracket play begins Aug. 16 with semifinals slated for Aug. 18. The medal games and championship are scheduled for Aug. 20.
Twenty-two games will be broadcast globally via ESPN digital platforms, with the semifinals and championship match also airing in the U.S. on ESPNU. The men's U21 championship is the second event in a historic multiyear partnership between World Lacrosse and ESPN.
The last men's junior-level championship in 2016 ended with a classic gold medal match, as the U.S. overcame a 6-0 deficit to defeat Canada, 13-12, in British Columbia. The win continued the Americans' unblemished gold medal streak in the championship, dating back to 1988.