Brock Jung is getting an early jump on his field lacrosse season and it only happens to be on the sport’s biggest stage.
The 16-year-old McMath Secondary student will be suiting up in goal for Team China at the upcoming FIL U19 World Field Lacrosse Championships — July 7-16 in Coquitlam.
Jung wasn’t even aware of the possibility until his dad Mike received a phone call back in January at the family’s Ironwood sporting goods store — Ice Level Source for Sports.
“I was actually working at the time and my dad was on the phone talking to this guy for a while,” recalled Brock. “When he told me (China) wanted me to play for them, I was ecstatic. Not only was I surprised to get the call, I had no idea the Worlds were even being held here. I’m so excited.”
Chung can play for China since the Federation of International Lacrossse (FIL) considers it developing nation in the sport and is more flexible with its player eligibility. Each team can have up to four non-passport players who parents or grandparents were born in that country.
He is aware of two other non-passport players on the roster — one from Delta and the other from Nanaimo. He won’t know the rest of the team until it arrives in Vancouver in preparation for the championships. Twice-a-day training sessions will be held at SFU.
Chung is currently winding down his box lacrosse season with the Richmond Intermediate “A” Roadrunners where he suits up as a runner. It was about five years ago he decided to try playing goal in the field version of the sport and he hasn’t looked back since. He was recruited for Team China based on his play for Richmond at last season’s provincial championships.
Field lacrosse goalies wear little in the way of equipment, especially compared to their box counterparts, despite the ball being fired at high speeds.
“You can’t be afraid of the ball, that’s for sure,” laughed Jung. “I could pass and catch the ball as an out player but I didn’t really standout. I wanted to be a bigger part of my team and being a goalie was the best way to do that.”
Jung also plays hockey for Seafair Minor but says lacrosse has now surpassed the winter pastime as his favourite sport. Not only does he play both versions of the game, he is also an official with Richmond Lacrosse and was busy working several games at last week’s annual RMLA Novice Salmon Fest Tournament.
“It used to be all about hockey but it’s more just for exercise now,” he continued. “I had to make a greater commitment to one over the other and felt there were better opportunities in lacrosse for me.”
China is part of the Green Division at the U19 Worlds. Round-robin opponents include Mexico (July 8), Korea (July 9), Scotland (July 11) and Ireland (12:30 p.m.). The tournament draw is set-up that China wouldn’t see powerhouse teams unless it happens to win its pool group. The favourites include Canada, USA, Iroquois Nationals, USA, England and Australia.
“I know we are not (at those teams) level but it would be great to have a chance to play one of them,” smiled Jung.
Regardless, it’s going to be a summer he won’t soon forget.