The Warrior World Series of Youth Lacrosse was the vision of founder Jake Steinfeld. Through the combination of Jake’s achievements as a fitness pioneer, founder of Major League Lacrosse, NY Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling author and Chairman of the National Foundation for Governors’ Fitness Council Jake saw the need to provide the youth lacrosse player with the premier experience in youth sports. The idea came to him as he was watching the Little League Baseball World Series in the summer of 2014. His goal was to create a platform for the best U13 lacrosse players in the world to compete in the top facilities on a national stage and create an unforgettable experience for both the players and their families. His first call was to his longtime friend and founding partner of Major League Lacrosse, Dave Morrow. In addition to a great experience, Jake wanted to be geared up in the best apparel and equipment in the game. His challenge to Dave, the founder and CEO of Warrior Lacrosse, was to create ‘fashion week in Paris for the 13 year old lacrosse player’. Dave was up to the challenge and the Warrior World Series of Youth Lacrosse began.
Jake knew that the World Series of Youth Lacrosse needed to separate itself from the myriad of events in an already crowded lacrosse market. To achieve that goal he dialed up longtime friend and business partner, Steve Bornstein. Steve had previously served as the President of ESPN and the NFL Network. His question to Steve was, ‘How can we get this on TV?’. Steve made that happen. The Warrior World Series of Youth Lacrosse was to be broadcast live on ESPN 2 on July 4 to over 100 million homes.
The next step was to find someone to run the operations of the World Series. For that Jake reached out to Ray Schulmeyer. Jake and Ray worked together during the formation of Major League Lacrosse as Ray was one of the founders of the Baltimore Bayhawks, one of the original teams in MLL. Ray also had tremendous experience in the youth lacrosse market as one of the founders of Aloha Tournaments, one of the nation’s largest purveyors of youth lacrosse events. Jake and Ray worked continuously on developing ideas to make this the best event in the history of youth lacrosse.
Jake then reached out to his friend, Pat Bowlen, the owner of the NFL Denver Broncos and MLL Denver Outlaws. It was imperative that this event have the perfect venue. Pat immediately agreed to host the event at Mile High Stadium on July 4, 2015, prior the Denver Outlaws’ MLL game. The Outlaws’ 4th of July game generally draws crowds over 30,000 – the perfect stage for the inaugural World Series of Youth Lacrosse Championship.
The final piece of the puzzle was to bring in partners that would help facilitate the critical needs of the World Series of Youth Lacrosse. Without hesitancy, The Coca-Cola Company, MET-Rx and Wheels UP all signed on as sponsors of the inaugural event.
The inaugural event was a 10 team invitational held in Denver, CO. Just as they do this year, the players checked in on July 1 and saw “fashion week in Paris for a 13 year old lacrosse player” become a reality. New sticks, bags, shirts, shorts, pins and other gear awaited every player. Play began the following morning at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. Following the first day’s games all players competed in individual skills competitions. The player with the fastest shot, most accurate shot and fastest 40 yard dash time were identified. After the second day’s games, all players and their families gathered for a banquet at Mile High Stadium. Semifinals and consolation games were played the following morning then all teams moved from Dick’s Sporting Goods Park to Mile High Stadium for the Inaugural Championship Game. The two Championship teams dressed in NFL/MLL locker rooms. After an Olympic style team march in of all World Series participants, Team 91 Crush took on the Baltimore Crabs in a tremendous display of lacrosse ability. Team 91 Crush prevailed and was crowned the Inaugural Champion of the World Series of Youth Lacrosse.
Following the game select players and coaches from both teams proceeded to a post game press conference. This was followed by the Denver Outlaws/Boston Cannons MLL game and a tremendous fireworks display. The vision of founder Jake Steinfeld had become a reality, and a very successful one, in its first year of operation. On July 5, it was time to begin preparation for the 2016 Warrior World Series of Youth Lacrosse presented by the Coca-Cola Company and Nissan.