Despite its best efforts to develop alternatives, US Lacrosse has announced it is officially postponing its National Team Development Program (NTDP) for 2020.
“We really wanted to continue to build off of the positive momentum we established last year with the NTDP,” said Natalie Wills, senior manager of the National Team Development Program. “In the end, the safety and logistical challenges presented by COVID-19 prevented us from giving the athletes the type of high-level experience we wanted to provide. We’ve decided to shift our focus to ensure a great platform for our aspiring national team players in 2021.”
In the planning stages in recent years as a pipeline for the U.S. national team program, the NTDP had its first full schedule in 2019. More than 1,300 players competed in regional tryouts in the spring and early summer of 2019 with nearly 300 invited to US Lacrosse headquarters for a national combine that August.
From the national combine, 88 players were named to the inaugural boys’ and girls’ U15 and U17 USA Select teams. The USA Select teams competed at the 2019 Team USA Fall Classic, sweeping a series of games against competition from Canada in the Brogden Cup.
In February 2020, US Lacrosse had announced a series of 26 regional tryouts to be held in conjunction with the Premier Lacrosse League and the Women’s Professional Lacrosse League, but the COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of those events.
US Lacrosse had initially planned to move to a virtual application process to bypass the regional tryouts to select players for the national combine, but safety concerns, testing capability and travel restrictions led to the decision to cancel the national combine for this year.
US Lacrosse expects to launch the process for regional tryouts in early 2021. The organization is looking at restructuring the age parameters so that no high school athlete misses the opportunity to be considered for the program. More information is available at teamusa.uslacrosse.org/NTDP.