WATERVILLE, Maine – Thomas College Women's Lacrosse Coach Peri West will lead Team Colombia as their head coach in the 2017 FIL Rathbones World Cup held in Guildford, England.
West began her journey with Team Colombia in 2016, as they were searching for a head coach to build a new program that had never competed at the World Cup level. "I was scrolling through my email one day and opened the weekly IWLCA (Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association) newsletter," said West. "There was a post saying the Colombian National Team was looking for a coach. Knowing that my father had traveled to Colombia several times, as he does business there, and speaks very highly of the country, I thought why not apply. I didn't really know what would happen."
A few months after a Skype interview, West traveled to the nation's capital of Bogota for the team's first training and to start building a roster for the World Cup in June of 2016. At the training session, the team officially named West as their head coach. While at home in the states, she communicated with the team via "What's App" and Skype to go over plays and workouts. She also traveled back to Medellin in January of 2017 for their second team training and to finalize the World Cup roster.
It has been an experience like none other for West as she prepares for the big stage. "This experience is and has been so different than anything I have done in the U.S. The team has to work harder because the game is not known in Colombia," stated West. "In a country where soccer is the national game, lacrosse hardly exists, and girls and women are steered more towards beauty pageants than sports, breaking out of this stereotype is a struggle for them. The team is so passionate about the game and this opportunity. I am honored with the chance to coach them in their first World Cup."
West and Team Colombia will join 24 other nations beginning with pool play on July 12. The top placing teams from Pools B, C, D and E will play off to decide which two nations qualify to play in the Championship Division. Colombia has been placed in Pool E along with Ireland, New Zealand, and Sweden. Their first game will be held on Thursday, July 13 as they take on Team Sweden.
You can follow the team's journey on Twitter and Instagram: @ColombiaLax. For more information and a complete schedule click HERE. Games will also be live online HERE. All games from the quarterfinals and beyond will be broadcasted by BBC starting on Saturday, July 22.