Usually, new people arriving from the U.S. spend their first few days in Germany recovering from jet lag, buying some wheels or trying to find a house, but not Regan Miller.
On a Thursday, when she arrived in Kaiserslautern, she typed “Kaiserslautern Lacrosse” into the Facebook search engine. By that Saturday, not only was she participating in a lacrosse skills camp with members of the German national men’s team, but she was also the new coach of the local women’s team: the Kaiserslautern Lumberjacks.
She had instantly found a slice of home here in Germany, she said.
As a human resource specialist with the Regional Director’s Office at Kleber Kaserne, Miller hails from Columbia, Md., a city popular with lacrosse.
The ancient game of lacrosse is native to North America. It is played on a football field, but is similar to hockey, and is played with sticks that throw a hard rubber ball into a hockey-like goal. The sport has enjoyed tremendous growth worldwide over the past two decades.
Miller said she knew big cities like Berlin had teams. (There are now 21 women’s teams throughout Germany.) What she didn’t expect to find was one right here in Kaiserslautern. Plus, she certainly didn’t expect to become the coach. But with more than 20 years of experience, including four at Salisbury College, a Division III national championship contender in her senior year, Miller knows what to do and what she’s looking for in a lacrosse team.
“I want us to be able to compete with every team in Germany,” she said.
Miller said she also wants to instill a better understanding of the game’s style, strategy and finesse into new ladies who join the team. Numbers of team members are critical to her.
“I want to have so many women join us that we have to make a second team,” she said.
Beyond equipment and sponsorship issues, recruitment is one of Miller’s biggest challenges.
“Finding girls with a sense of athleticism, finding the right people who can fit lacrosse” can be a difficult task, she said.
Lacrosse requires women who can “be aggressive, willing to get dirty and willing to take a bruise,” she said.
Currently, the K-Town ladies combine with players from Saarbrücken to compete in league games against Munich, Heidelberg and Karlsruhe, among other locations. The team practices twice a week at both at Kaiserslautern University and in nearby Hochspeyer.
If interested in either the men or women’s lacrosse team, search for “Kaiserslautern Lacrosse” on Facebook.
(Article and photo courtesy of Jeff Strickland)