Category Archives: Zebras

Introducing Austin Heaton, Director of Player Development and Operations

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I am pleased to announce that Austin Heaton will be joining our Team as Director of Player Development and Operations.  Austin is a US Lacrosse Level 1 certified coach and will also be the Offensive Coordinator/Goalie Coach for Dunwoody High School.

Austin Heaton began his lacrosse career during the 4th grade with Atlanta Youth Lacrosse. He found his niche early on playing both Attack and Midfield at the youth level and in turn, played both Attack and Midfield as he grew into the competitive level.  Austin played for The Lovett School for 3 years at the Varsity level.  Injuries forced Austin to switch to the Goalie position for his senior year.  In 2009, Austin was voted as 2nd Team All-State as a Goalie for his lone season at the position.  Austin is a Two-Time State Champion, winning Championships in both his Junior and Senior seasons.

Continuing his studies at The University of Mississippi, Austin played for the Ole Miss Club team for his freshman year in 2009-2010.  Beyond his day-to-day duties, Austin acts as provisional Director whenever Lou or Mary Jo are away from the fields. He is also the Head Coach for the Regional Coyotes.

Austin’s long-standing passion for the game and developing Atlanta’s youth into both players and young men is what makes him show up day in and day out. “Growing up, I always thought that the young men and counselor’s teaching me in the sport were the coolest guys around.  I always looked up to them.” Austin now reciprocates that feeling of appreciation and gratitude by helping teach and guide those younger than him with his vast IQ of the game.

Mary Jo and I have known Austin and his family since he was a young player and I am thrilled that we will be working so close together developing players for Atlanta Youth Lacrosse.

See ya on the field…Mary Jo and Coach Lou

Pretty Cool Stuff

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I recently received this letter (see below) from the Atlanta Blaze and former Atlanta Youth Lacrosse Alumni Scott Ratliff.  I am thrilled to be mentioned in the letter as the author Scott Ratliff holds a special place in my heart.

I have coached thousands of players over the last 35  years and many of them are truly remarkable people.  Some went on to be be great college players some became doctors, teachers, chefs, business owners, attorneys, writers, lacrosse coaches, officials and many have and are currently serving in the military.   I think about them all often and some of them have become close friends and colleagues.

Scott is someone that I point to all the time as it relates to his work ethic and desire to improve every day.

To now have a pro-team in Atlanta with a young man that started in our program as a forth grader is quite the accomplishment.

I had the pleasure of coaching against Scott a few weeks ago and the student took it to the teacher in a convincing victory.  Losing is never easy but to lose to someone who you respect and admire and honors the game all the time and has a passion for teaching it to young men…well it made the loss a little more bearable.

Good luck to Scott and the Blaze and lets bring a Championship caliber team to Atlanta.

So come out next week and support Scott and the Blaze on April 23 at Fifth Third Bank Stadium.  Click on the Blaze Logo and I hope to see you there.

See ya on the field…Coach Lou

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In one week, Saturday, April 23rd, my dream of playing professional lacrosse in front of my hometown fans will come true when I take the field for the Atlanta Blaze.

My name is Scott Ratliff and when I was 4 years old I moved to the Camden Place subdivision in East Cobb, Georgia. That same year, my dad put a lacrosse stick in my hands and almost instantly I fell in love with it.  I remember running around my backyard, dodging the pine trees and branches to score the game winning goal countless times.  I would call out “Scott Ratliff, from Atlanta, Georgia, takes the shot and scores!” By the time I entered middle school, being a lacrosse player was my identity, but as I grew older and the sport began to take me in different directions, my identity changed. I went from Scott Ratliff the kid who plays lacrosse, to Scott Ratliff the lacrosse player from Georgia, and I could not be more proud of that.

My official playing days started in the Atlanta Youth Lacrosse Organization where Lou Corsetti, Chris Kelly, and my father Randy Ratliff coached me. From there I moved on to play for Tim Pritts and John Holthouse at Walton High School and for Rich Wehman and Ed Solar with Trident Lacrosse in the summers. All of these coaches had one thing in common, they loved this sport and they gave back to it by helping grow the game here in Atlanta.

I moved on to play college lacrosse at a small liberal arts school in Baltimore called Loyola University. Surrounded by players from Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, and Maryland, I was proud to represent a city and a lacrosse community that I knew was special.  In 2012 we made a run and won the Division 1 National Championship in front of 30,000 fans at Gillette Stadium. The support I received from former teammates, coaches, and friend’s back home was overwhelming. Suddenly I was being celebrated for playing a sport that hardly anyone in Georgia even knew about just a handful of years earlier. This experience motivated me to return to Atlanta and give back to the sport the same way my coaches had, by promoting its growth and sharing my passion for it with kids.   LB3 Lacrosse gave me the opportunity to do that two years ago and I have not looked back since. The sport here has blossomed and participation has sky rocketed, you can’t drive anywhere in this city without seeing a goal in a driveway or a lacrosse bumper sticker on a car. This explosion has not gone unnoticed; owner Peter Trematerra decided to put a Major League Lacrosse franchise, the Atlanta Blaze, right in our own backyard.

On January 20th 2016, just minutes before the collegiate draft, the Atlanta Blaze made my dreams become a reality when they acquired me from the Boston Cannons. Now my Blaze teammates and I will have a chance to represent this lacrosse community on the biggest stage. The Blaze is a team full of guys, who like me, are so passionate about this sport that we will sacrifice countless hours to try and reach our maximum potential in hopes of inspiring a future generation of lacrosse players. Major League Lacrosse is not the NFL or the NBA, we don’t get paid millions of dollars and we don’t show up on SportsCenter on a nightly basis. We do this for the love of the sport and we could not be more excited to do this for a city that has proven it loves the sport as much as we do. The passion of the lacrosse community in Georgia is what brought the MLL here, and that same passion is what will inspire this team to accomplish what many people don’t believe is possible. To bring an MLL Championship to the South, specifically to Cobb County Georgia, where this journey all started for me.

April 23rd the Blaze will kick off our Inaugural Season. The Blaze opener will be a celebration of Lacrosse and a tribute to all the people who have grown the game to where it is in Atlanta now; people Like Lou Corsetti, Rich Wehman, Tim Pritts, Liam Banks, Frank Daniels and many more. Through this celebration we will attempt to reach the masses, to continue to grow the game and showcase it in front of people who have never been exposed. The Blaze will play with energy and with passion and we will give everything we have to represent this community the way it deserves. And when we do that, we will not fail.

Please join us, on April 23rd when the Atlanta Blaze kicks off our 2016 Inaugural Season at Fifth Third Bank Stadium, the celebration is on! See you there.

Putting it in perspective

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I came across this wonderful article (see below link) a few days ago and thought it would be a good time to post it.

Kate Leavell from US Lacrosse,  wrote this this very thoughtful piece which puts things into perspective when talking about youth sports.

I have been coaching for over 35 years and I have seem many things.

Some things make me scratch my head and others make me smile ear to ear.   I was having a conversation with one of our parents a few weeks ago and we were

talking about the pressure for kids to play year round sports or if they miss a season their child will fall behind.  She said her husband was told if their son missed baseball this spring

he would be way behind his peers.  Her response was classic and made me crack up “He is freaking seven for Pete’s sake”.

All to often we feel the need to push our young players into something that they:

  1. Don’t want
  2. Don’t get enjoyment out of

While it is important to guide our young people it is also important to make sure they are having fun and developing.  We should embrace the fact that they are passionate about something that is bigger than they are.

I highly recommend that you read this article.  It may give you a fresh meaning on another aspect of sports that we sometimes miss as parents and coaches.

Parents enjoy the moment article

See ya on the field!

 

Coach Lou