Switzerland Names 2014 FIL Championship Roster

from press release

ZURICH, SWITZERLAND -- Swiss Lacrosse has announced the final roster that will travel to Denver, Colorado for the 2014 FIL World Championships in July. Switzerland will be one of 38 teams that will compete July 10th-19th in the quadrennial world-wide lacrosse tournament. Led by head coach Eamon Thornton, the team has completed the long selection process to meet the 23 man active roster requirements of the tournament. The selection process started last summer with multiple training camps and scrimmages with the final selection tryout taking place in Wettingen a week ago. Coach Thornton and his staff had to cut from roughly 50 players down to 23 plus three alternates in the final training weekend.

"The biggest difficulty with making the final cuts to any team is just how close most people are to making it or not making it." Thornton said, "For this last cut, however, everyone is "good enough" to make the team. Instead it comes down to choosing the players that fit into certain slots. Who's going to be able to make this kind of play when I need it in a game? Who can I rely on when something has to happen? These final cuts are made on much less tangible criteria that's often hard for coaches to explain and equally hard for players who are being told that they're "alternates" to hear."

The team includes a mix of players with different strengths and weaknesses.  This mixture will help all of the players grow as they prepare for the tournament.  Players with higher lacrosse knowledge can pass that along to other players, while the more athletic players will help push the conditioning of others.  It is this mixture that has already helped the growth of the team over the past few months.

Coach Thornton went on to say, " Guys are really starting to buy into our system. The transition from their previous coach to me has not been an easy one in some ways. Having worked with him for so long, many of our returning players seemed hesitant to run things differently, but during this last training session, I think we were able to make some good strides. As I learn more what they can handle, they are also opening up to trying some new things. As always it's a process, and we hope to peak this July in Denver."

The team will continue training throughout the spring to gear up for their trip to Denver.  They will travel to Stuttgart for a tournament that will feature Team Germany, Team Austria, Stuttgart, and Munich, among others.  To prepare for the altitude (1500m) of Denver, the team will play Team Austria in Davos followed by the Berlin Open.

Swiss Lacrosse is responsible for managing the Swiss Lacrosse League (SLL) and the growth of the sport in the country.  The newest expansion of the sport was the formation of an U19 team about six months ago.  Before the formation of the team, younger players were forced to play against players 5-10 years older than they.  The ages in the SLL range from 15-32 and with that comes the physical difference of these players as well as trying to make the league safe and competitive with the large spread of players.

Swiss Lacrosse President Daniel Hagnauer stated, " For any sport it is of utmost importance that one has a solid base of young players, a youth program that provides both the elite level of the sport and the depth of the Lacrosse community. Through the youth program we seek to solidify the tremendous progress we've had in the past years and reach level in terms of size that allows us to get support (infrastructure and capital) from the government. "

The major factor that will set this team apart from other European teams attending the FIL World Championships is that this team is made up of only players that play in the SLL.  Many other countries will use American or Canadian players that have ties to country but may not have played in their home league.

It is this policy that Hagnauer attributes the growth of the sport in Switzerland, "Denver 2014 will be the fourth major event where we've followed this policy and it has contributed greatly to the growth of the sport as home grown players that got exposed to the high level of play at those events return to their respective clubs with a backpack full of experience that they share with their team mates." 

The other bonus to this policy is that local players feel  that they have a true chance of representing their country without someone coming from overseas to take their spot.

Team Switzerland competed in the FIL World Championships when it was last held in Manchester, England in 2010.  The team was in the orange division that included Ireland, Slovakia, and South Korea.  They went 1-2 in group play and went on to go 2-3 in bracket play.  They finished with an overall record of 3-5 which ranked them 23 out of 30 teams.  The team will look to improve on their showing in Manchester and the growth of the SLL over the last four years will be a major contributing factor to their success this summer.

Final Roster

17 - Juan Schmid, KSC Chur
21 - Luis Zurkirchen, Zurich Lions
13 - Phillip Sponagel, Zurich Lions
22 - Felix Stutz, Zurich Lions
20 - Emmanuel Moser, Wettingen Wild^
40 - Jonathan Schreiber, Olten Saints

87 - Rolf Hirt, Bern Titans
91 - Thierry Frei, Wettingen Wild
4 - Paul Schneider, Wettingen Wild
14 - Dominik Kaiser, Zurch Lions^
2 - Attila Trosch, Zurich Lions^
8 - Daniel Hagnauer, Zurich Lions^
9 - Ian Schoch^
12 - Patrick Schar, Herzogenbuchsee Iroquois^

27 - Stefan Zweifel, Zurich Lions^
44 - Andreas Knechtle, St. Gallen Sunnyboys

18 - Jakob Buhmann, Zurich Lions
10 - Hans Fluhmann, Zurich Lions^
5 - Michael Haller, Wettingen Wild^
7 - Jesse Glover, Herzogenbuchsee Iroquois
3 - Dino Crameri, Wettingen Wild

19 - Tyson Ehinger, Olten Saints
85 - Dominik Guntensperger, Wettingen Wild

16 - M - Martin Joho, Wettingen Wild^
88 - M - Benjamin Schreiber, Olten Saints
24 - LSM - Magnus Wolf, KSC Chur
25 - Wynand Lauwrens, Wettingen Wild

^Played in Manchester in 2010

To learn more about Swiss Lacrosse, please visit www.swisslax.ch