Hot Take: Does the Faceoff Have a Place in International Play?

(Photo Credit: FIL)

*Disclaimer*: I do enjoy a great faceoff battle and I very much respect guys that have revolutionized the position like Greg Gurelian and Trevor Baptiste. I also do feel there is a place for the faceoff in        lacrosse and that it should, and will, always be part of the game.                                                          

To start off I just want to state that I am strictly talking about lacrosse at the international level here. I still believe that we need to keep the faceoff as is from pro all way down to the youth level. International is the only level I am making an argument for removing or limiting the faceoff.

Did you all watch the World Championships in Israel this summer? If you did watch the games, did you watch more than the Blue Pool teams? If you didn't then first off you are out of your mind, and secondly, you may not see the full extent of this argument but should still understand what I am saying here.

If you have ever watched the FIL World Championships or really any other international field tournament you may have noticed that rules are a little different than college, MLL, and HS in the United States and Canada. Many of the rules that the Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL) has in place because it suits the game at an international level. Let's face reality here, the USA, Canada, and Iroquois are the best in the world and no other country has the talent or experience of those teams. That is the highest level of lacrosse and so rules are different, in some cases much different.

Because of these rules the International game is more of a possession based game. You will notice that in some games the team that wins the faceoff battle wins the game. I saw this multiple times in the World Championships this past summer. This is not ideal but it happens due to the fact that lacrosse is still developing across the globe.

Because we have so many newer countries playing lacrosse now there seems to be a bigger gap between the top, middle, and bottom. Now, that gap is closing every year but we still have a gap in terms of talent. So, if a talented team were to play a less talented team they might win all the faceoffs and thus win the game with ease if the opposing defense is not that tough. Now, this is where my argument comes in.

I feel that we should shake up the faceoff at the international level. There are two options that I see as "working options" to help the overall competition and even the playing field at the international level.

Argument 1: No Faceoff at all. The FIL should take the faceoff completely out of the game in international rules. Instead of a faceoff they could flip a coin for who gets the ball first, like in football. That team would start at the midfield line and that would be the case for half's and quarters too. After a goal the team would just start from the end line. Now what would this do? first off it would give teams more opportunities at possessions which could even the playing field a lot. Secondly, it would create a more interesting ride and clear game as after every goal your team would have to get it from one side of the field to the other. It might also speed up the game more as well.

Argument 2: Limt the Faceoff. International play should introduce a new "limited" faceoff rule. In this new rule the faceoff would only happen at the beginning of each quarter. This would speed the game up and give more teams opportunities to have good possessions. Also, they could implement the faceoff at the start of each quarter and on certain penalties. For instance when there are two penalties, one on each team, instead of just saying they cancel each other out and the team with possession retaining possession they could have a faceoff battle near the spot of the foul. For this rule they would have to add dots on each end of the field like in hockey. I don't think that would ever happen but it would be interesting to see.