Former Major League Lacrosse player Chris Rotelli has one major tip for all lacrosse coaches and organizers out there.
“You gotta be able to evolve, man.”
In 2003, Chris led his Virginia Cavaliers to the NCAA Championship while capturing the Tewaaraton Trophy as the nation’s top lacrosse player. He was also awarded the McLaughlin Award as the nation’s best midfielder, the ACC Player of the Year, and was a first team All-American. He has since been named to four MLL All-Star teams.
But if you ask Chris, it’s the work he is doing with ADVNC Lacrosse in northern California that he is most proud of. After starting other youth lacrosse initiatives to grow the game in the state, Chris founded ADVNC in 2012.
Chris and ADVNC joined with LeagueApps in early 2016.
He had “an itch” to move to California in 2004. Over the last 12 years, he has seen the game grow exponentially in the state. Now, there are much more players and they are much more talented. And like players from his home state of Rhode Island, California players have something to prove.
— ADVNC_Lacrosse (@ADVNCLacrosse) September 19, 2016
“It’s like we all have a chip on our shoulder,” he said.
Growing up in Rhode Island, I was always told that only people from Baltimore or Long Island got to play at the top programs. It’s the same here. When lacrosse programs think ‘hotbeds,’ they don’t think of California. The players love playing with that chip.
Aside from the overall growth in numbers, Chris has noticed that the game has changed in another way since his college days in 2003.
“The game has changed and evolved. Suddenly, you see a lot more picking, which looks a lot like basketball and indoor lacrosse.”
There was less of that when I played. Defenses are better. Teams are better. It’s way harder to beat someone one-on-one now so you have to use the team. Whereas 10 years ago you had one guy scoring all the goals, now you have a lot more guys that are capable. It really makes the game more fun as a fan, but a little more challenging for coaches.
Chris and ADVNC know what it takes to evolve. Since 2012, nearly 90% of all players that play through ADVNC have gone on to play at the college level. To put that in perspective, roughly 13% of all high school lacrosse players continue to play in college.
2013 Adrenaline Challenge Champions! "That's the best team I've seen from California in the 5 years I've been covering western lacrosse." -Geoff Shannon, Inside Lacrosse Players in this picture have gone on to play at Michigan, Bryant, Penn State, Tufts, Navy, RPI, and Bellarmine. Not a bad line up! #advnclacrosse
“We are constantly learning and evolving as the game has evolved. As we teach our players on how to improve, we ourselves have to improve and learn. We then teach our coaches these new drills and philosophies.”
Chris and his staff recently created the ADVNC Training System in order to create the ideal learning environment for young athletes. ATS consists of up-tempo practices designed to increase awareness, decision-making, athleticism, and overall enjoyment of the game.
“The game has changed a lot in the last five years. You gotta be able to evolve,” he said. “We’re pretty excited to evolve with LeagueApps as well!”