Teen lacrosse star headed for championships

Liam Harari (centre) is in training for the 2017 Asia-Pacific Lacrosse Championship.

AT just 17 years old, Victorian schoolboy Liam Harari is “excited and honoured” to have been selected to represent Australia in the under-23 lacrosse team that will play in the Asia-Pacific Lacrosse Championship in South Korea in June.

“It’s going to be a great experience and a great opportunity,” said Harari, who plays for the Caulfield Club Lacrosse team and trains every day by himself, as well as three times a week with the team.

“My family were excited when they found out, and my friends are happy for me. And I’ve never been to South Korea, so that will be a good experience.”

Originally a cricket player, Harari became involved in lacrosse through an open clinic that was held during his training with the Caulfield Cricket Club.

“Lacrosse is a fast, fun game,” he explained. “It’s a game that requires athleticism, skill and intelligence. You are always in the action, and the game flows quickly between offence and defence which creates a lot of opportunities to score.”

Lacrosse, which is one of the oldest team sports, is played professionally in the US and Canada, and is also a popular college sport in America.

“It’s getting bigger in Australia,” Harari said. “When I started, none of my friends knew what [lacrosse] was, but they all know now.”

Like every sport, there is a rivalry between the defenders and attackers on the team. “The defenders like to think they’re the most important, but the attackers score the goals and you need to score to win,” said Harari, who plays in mid-field.

Harari’s extensive cricket training has helped him; the hand-eye coordination and athleticism that he learnt from cricket training translates to lacrosse, as well as the -mental toughness and training routine required in any sport played at an elite level.

So what’s next for the youngest member of the Australian under-23 team?

“To develop my lacrosse, I’d like to play at collegiate level in the US, but locally in the short term I’m playing in the National Under-18 Championship for Victoria in April, and of course playing for my club.”

Harari also has his eye on the lacrosse world championships. After the Asia-Pacific Lacrosse Championships ends, he hopes to represent Australia at the under-19 World Championships in Ireland in 2020.

“I’d also like to try for the senior men’s team that will compete in the 2022 World Championship,” he said.

“I encourage people to get involved in lacrosse. There’s something in it for everyone.”

BY YAEL BRENDER