DLAXN: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your lacrosse career? What do you do and why does lacrosse mean so much to you?
Jacob Silberlicht: Growing up I always thought I was going to be a hockey player. Ended up playing a lot of lacrosse in the offseason with my older brother, and the rest is history. After college I used the sport as a tool to travel the world where I was able to gain perspective, have life experiences, and build new relationships.
DLAXN: What does your training week looks like? What have you done in the past to reach such a high lacrosse level?
Jacob Silberlicht: Honestly, as of lately my training schedule has been full of cardio. I recently got into triathlon and I can’t get enough of it. Not to mention running, cycling and swimming are the best ways to enjoy Israel’s natural beauty. In the past, I guess training diligently has always given me a bit of an edge on the field, feeling prepared.
„We’re never the popular ones. We always just play for the guys in our huddle, ביחד in hebrew means ‘together’.“
DLAXN: You played for the Israel National Team both indoor and outdoor. What do you prefer box or field?
Jacob Silberlicht: Great question. As an ex hockey player, the easy answer is to say box. I do feel like it’s faster, and you have to think quicker. The flow of the game is so unique. It’s fun to watch the best players in the world. They see plays develop on the floor before they even happen.
DLAXN: Israel seems to be a field dominated country. Is there a competitive box league?
Jacob Silberlicht: Living in the middle east, we don’t have a lot of hockey rinks. And where you don’t have a lot of hockey rinks, you don’t have a lot of Box lacrosse either. That being said, Israel Lacrosse is passionate about both games and there is plenty of box development going on. Our box trainings are typically held on a basketball court next to our field, but we make it work! Actually we currently have Israeli-Canadian MLL player Jean-Luc Chetner living here in Israel, running high level practices here on the ground for all of our athletes.
DLAXN: You played along some NLL and MLL stars. What makes them so good? Is there something you can learn from them besides their stickskills?
Jacob Silberlicht: I mean, like I mentioned before, those guys who play at the higher levels really do see things develop much easier than others. I love watching them off-ball, to see where they are moving and how they are positioning themselves. For them, it almost seems instinctual. You also have to respect the amount of confidence these guys play with. Whether they are the best or not, they certainly play like it.
DLAXN: You have won the AHM with Tel Aviv. Describe that feeling!
Jacob Silberlicht:Heaps good. Great tournament with an even better staff. Naz Dravi to Ondrej & the Custodes!
DLAXN: What do you think about trashtalk?
Jacob Silberlicht: Watch Gary Payton [NBA], one of the best to ever do it.
DLAXN: Israel always belongs to the top Nations internationally. Could you explain the Israeli lacrosse approach and concept to us?
Jacob Silberlicht: We’re never the popular ones. We always just play for the guys in our huddle, ביחד in hebrew means ‘together’. It’s also important for us to be the voice for any Israeli kid who has ever picked up a lacrosse stick. They are the true pioneers of the sport.
DLAXN: In Germany, national players have to finance everything themselves. How does that work in Israel?
Jacob Silberlicht: The core athletes from our National Teams are also the people that work tirelessly on the ground, developing the sport, and we have been fortunate that our community is extremely tight knit. Everyone from players to coaches to parents to volunteers to fans are all so passionate about the sport and the country that we are always able to raise the appropriate funds to “keep the lights on”. When national teams go to events, each player is required to fundraise his or her own way there. We also just recently ran our annual ‘Giving Tuesday’ campaign. Our entire Israel Lacrosse family comes together and raises money. We do our best to reachout to every single person in our community on one single day in November. This will go directly towards our youth players and youth development. We have also been fortunate enough to receive scholarship money from our local municipalities. Ashkelon for example, has been extremely generous in helping us fund Israeli student-athletes to represent abroad. (Shout out to Marcelo Burdman!)
„We don’t have the luxury of having people who only focus on one particular task. We truly are; by the players, for the players.“
DLAXN: How do you rate the North American influence on european lacrosse?
Jacob Silberlicht: I think it brings the overall level of play up, ultimately benefiting everyone. Not to mention I think it brings a great deal of recognition to European Lacrosse, which also helps. In Israel’s case, North American influence has had a huge impact on our youth development. We have increased exponentially in player participation and quality because of all the coaches who have come from abroad to coach/play here on the ground.
DLAXN: How do you perceive the development of lacrosse in Germany as an outsider?
Jacob Silberlicht: I think the future is bright for lacrosse in Germany. Those guys hustle so hard. I remember dropping by to coach in Köln a few years back (shout out to Ryan Wallace). They had like 30 guys at practice, pouring rain, just beating the crap out of each other. Very passionate and driven. I was even more impressed watching their U19 National team in Prague. All their guys were big, athletic, and played extremely well together, not to mention they had some great shooters.
DLAXN: You have many different programs in Israel (Gap Year, IPLL, youth programs etc). Are there full-time employees behind them? In Germany almost everything is done through volunteer work, which often makes it very difficult to set up long-term programs.
Jacob Silberlicht: As I mentioned earlier, the core of the staff for Israel Lacrosse also serve as athletes and the core of our National Teams. We are asked to do things from youth development, to programming, to facility upkeep, and everything in between. We are also expected to perform at a high level on top of all this. We don’t have the luxury of having people who only focus on one particular task. We truly are; by the players, for the players. We are also extremely fortunate at the overwhelming support from volunteers. So many people, both in Israel and abroad, volunteer their time and efforts to make Israel Lacrosse continue to grow and thrive.
DLAXN: Israel is often criticized for having many Americans and not having homegrown players. What do you think about this?
Jacob Silberlicht: People are certainly entitled to their opinions, but it doesn’t really bother us. Ori Bar-David, who plays for the Men’s National Team, was born and raised in Netanya, Israel. He played in front of his hometown friends and family in the 2018 WLC. He is the first of many Sabras (native-born) who will continue to fill spots on our National team rosters. Not to mention the u20 National Team I coached in Prague, consisted of 19 (out of 23) native born homegrown Israelis. You have to remember Israel Lacrosse is still young. We haven’t been around as long as some of the other countries like Germany and England. We’ll continue to develop young men and women into the next generation of Israeli Lacrosse, but until then, those players deserve the right to be represented on the International stage, and acknowledged for their hard work. We know we are making a positive impact on both the sport of lacrosse, the youth, and the country of Israel. This motivates us to pull in the right direction despite criticisms and what other people’s opinions.
„Not to mention the u20 National Team I coached in Prague, consisted of 19 (out of 23) native born homegrown Israelis.“
DLAXN: How can we grow lacrosse in Europe?
Jacob Silberlicht: It’s all about youth development. We need to get more kids involved. We need to focus our funds and our money on youth lacrosse, quality youth coaches and overall exposure. Getting lacrosse into the primary and middle schools. The Youth Development model is sustainable and will yield incredible results with time, both from the perspective of quality of players as well as overall amount of players. Our generation loves instant gratification, but we need to trust the system, and invest time/money in the future.
DLAXN: How do you see your future in lacrosse?
Jacob Silberlicht: I’ll always be a fan, and I hope to continue to coach youth lacrosse, in some capacity, for a long time.
DLAXN: You are currently working as the Head of Youth Development for Israel lacrosse. What do you tell young lacrosse players to become successful in lacrosse?
Jacob Silberlicht: PLAY WALL BALL!
DLAXN: When we asked you to be part of this series you weren’t sure whether you belong to the best european players. Who is it in your opinion?
Jacob Silberlicht: Matt Flapan (ISR)
DLAXN: Do you follow the NLL? Do you have a favorite team?
Jacob Silberlicht: Yes, whichever team Doug Utting is playing for that season (Rochester Knighthawks)
Posted by DLAXN