Eagle named to Swedish national lacrosse team

February 2, 2010

By Bob Taylor

Kevin Powers, a midfielder on the Issaquah High School lacrosse club, battles against a Skyline player in a game last spring. By David West

Kevin Powers has always been proud of his Swedish heritage. This summer, the Issaquah High School junior will show his pride as a member of the Swedish national men’s lacrosse team.

Powers qualified for the team because he was born in Sweden and spent the first five years of his life as a resident of the Scandinavian country.

He was selected for the Swedish national team from a tryout in October. Powers, who also plays on the Issaquah High School club team, and Sten Jernudd, a student at Seattle’s Lakeside School, were the youngest players to make the Swedish national team. More than 40 players tried out for the team, ranging mostly in age from their 20s to their 40s.

“I was happy to be selected for the team,” Powers said. “It’s an honor.”Team Sweden will compete in the World Cup of Lacrosse in July in Manchester, England. The team, which will play in the B Division, will not play the United States, which competes in the higher A Division. Nevertheless, Powers said he is looking forward to the experience of playing in the tournament.

“I really hope we represent Sweden well in those games,” he said. “I think it’s really special for me to be selected to play at the World Cup games this summer, being only 17, and having the chance to represent my home country is huge.”

Powers and his family have often spent their summers in Sweden. Usually, he visits relatives or tours Swedish cities. Last summer, through Jernudd, he learned there would be tryouts for the Swedish National Team.

“Until last summer, I didn’t even know Sweden had a national team,” Powers said.

Lacrosse has lacked the exposure of more popular sports, like ice hockey and soccer, in Sweden.

“Lacrosse is fairly new in Sweden, but it is gaining in popularity,” Powers said.

He said he believes his experience in lacrosse helped him earn a spot on the team. He has been playing lacrosse since the fifth grade. Prior to that, he was a hockey player. When a group of friends, also hockey players, decided to try lacrosse, Powers went with them. He fell in love with the sport and has played ever since.

“I felt I had a good shot at making the team,” Powers said. “I had a little more knowledge of the plays and positions. I had a lot of experience playing lacrosse and that helped me.”

Powers admitted he was a little nervous at first when he saw some of the other players trying out for the team.

“The first thing that I noticed when I scanned the field the first time was the size of the defenders. All them had to be at least 6 feet, and these were big guys, too,” Powers said. “There were a good group of athletic and fast midfielders, and the attack group was solid as well.”

Swedish National Team assistant coach John Sagrelius said Powers and Jernudd impressed the staff by the way they could “run, shoot and play defense.”

Powers credits Issaquah head coach Brandon Fortier with helping develop his game, too.

The past two seasons, Powers has been a midfielder on the Issaquah High School lacrosse club, which has won two straight Division I state titles.

Powers scored 16 goals and had seven assists last season. He also had 35 groundballs.

“He is very good on groundballs,” Fortier said. “He is strong and physical, and can power through checks. He keeps the ball in his stick very well. He is improving his shooting on the run and becoming a good goal scorer.”

Fortier said Powers should be one of the top midfielders in the state this spring.

“He definitely ranks as one of the 10 best midfielders in the state. He will be a preseason all-state pick,” Fortier said.

One of the other top midfielders in the state is Jernudd.

Fortier said Powers is receiving interest from NCAA Division I schools. Powers, in fact, hopes to play collegiate lacrosse one day.

Powers has some other goals he wants to attain. The most immediate one is helping Issaquah win a third straight Washington High School Boys Lacrosse Association Division I title. Powers said he likes Issaquah’s chances this spring.

“We have some talented players on the team,” Powers said. “We feel we have a good chance at winning state.”

Bob Taylor: 392-6434, ext. 236, or bobtaylor@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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