The Growth of Lacrosse in The UAE

(photo Credit: James Baba)

Lacrosse is truly everywhere now days and so are dedicated people who love this game and want to see it grow and develop far and wide. One of these places where lacrosse has just started to grow and develop over the past few years is the United Arab Emirates (UAE). I was able to catch up with James Baba who is doing a lot to grow lacrosse over in the UAE.

The UAE is fairly new in lacrosse as they just started in 2016, but they do have a competitive league in the Emirates Lacrosse League (ELL) that has helped garner growth and development. There are also men's and women's international travel teams that play in exhibitions and tournaments.

Photo Courtesy of Ben Downton

The UAE may be a young lacrosse country but good people like James are doing a lot to  help the game grow and develop. Personally, I can't wait to see how far lacrosse can go in the UAE and am excited about the future of lacrosse in the middle east as a whole. 

Q&A With James Baba

Q: If you could, could you talk about how lacrosse got started in the UAE?

A: Lacrosse was founded in early 2016 by a group of lacrosse players and enthusiasts from around the world eager to bring this great sport to the UAE. We have grown from a small core group to a thriving club and now a groundbreaking multi-team league that has been created in partnership with our good friends. The ELL is comprised of teams across adult (men’s and women’s) and youth (boys and girls aged 8-18), with pre-season training and a full schedule of competitive matches
The ELL is also home to men’s and women’s international travel teams, and exhibition games and tournaments are behind.

Q: How has the development of the Emirates Lacrosse League helped the sports grow?

A: The Emirates Lacrosse League (ELL) is proud to bring the first competitive lacrosse league for men, women, boys and girls to the United Arab Emirates! With roots in the Native American Iroquois tribe, the modern game of lacrosse is fast, fun, physical and can be enjoyed by anyone interested in a dynamic, competitive sport.

Q: Personally, how did you get started in lacrosse?

A: I started loving lacrosse from my home country Uganda then here I have joined group of lax organized by Ben Downton and he always encourage & supported me lax skills and where to shop lax equipment from.

Q: What efforts are being made by yourself and others to spread lacrosse in the UAE?

A: At the moment I am encouraging everyone to support, join me and the team to growth of the game.
I myself at the moment I have bought and order my lacrosse equipment at from USA to be use especially for training/ playing lacrosse in Emirates of Abu Dhabi. I have 17 Men complete lacrosse sticks, 6 women lacrosse sticks, 2 portable lacrosse goal sets, 24 pieces of lacrosse training vest, 80 pieces of lacrosse dish cones and,1 STX Challenger Wheelie Lacrosse Equipment Bag We have just started playing lacrosse in November 2017 from Khalifa Park in Abu Dhabi city and it was awesome & amazing. Many people were so into playing lacrosse and this marked our first time playing lacrosse in Abu Dhabi and everything went successful and is organized by Ben Downton and myself plus teams. Before we started playing lacrosse in Abu Dhabi Emirates I have been playing lax with my team/groups in Jabeel park Dubai and I used to travel there every Friday of the week to attend a lacrosse session event. I always encourage my friend's, & workmates to support growth of lacrosse because is the world fastest growing game.

Photo Courtesy of James Baba

Q: In what city has lacrosse grown the most?

A: We are playing lacrosse in Jabeel park in Dubai city. Every Friday of the week we attend a lacrosse event. At the moment in Dubai we are not playing lacrosse until October during the winter session because now is very hot.

Q: What do you feel the future of lacrosse in the UAE is? 

A: Emirates Lacrosse League (ELL ) is proud to bring the first competitive lacrosse league for men, women, boys and girls to the United Arab Emirates. Lacrosse will just grow further from there.

Q: How can people in the US, Canada and elsewhere outside the UAE help the growth of Lacrosse there?

A: -To open school for lacrosse and to provide lacrosse stadium purposely for lacrosse players
-Through sponsorship lacrosse equipment such as lacrosse complete stick for both women's and men plus youth, -Need to Providing lacrosse scholastic material to help to grow the game. - To provide Protective gear such as helmets, goggles, gloves, cleats, and chest/ shoulder protection for all levels. - To provides transportation to facilitate lacrosse players, trainers and coach. -To provide coaching for both men, women and youth. There is need to support the indoor lacrosse game because during summer we don't play lacrosse as it's very hot, especially from June to September.

If you would like to learn more about lacrosse in the United Arab Emirates or the Emirates Lacrosse League check them out on Facebook.