Lacrosse can be an expensive sport to play, but Joe Nocella, the owner a local bike shop, founded a club that will host free lacrosse clinics each Saturday this August.
Nocella, whose owns in Gowanus, is an architect at HOK and teaches at Pratt, founded the Brooklyn Battery Lacrosse Club in March 2012 to bring the sport — which was first invented by the Native Americans and now is synonymous with affluent Ivy Leaguers — to kids throughout the city that may not have the means to play.
“I founded the BBLC to bring kids the opportunity to play lacrosse who may not have had an option to play in school,” Nocella told Patch. “I wanted to bring a sport to kids that may not have seen it otherwise.”
Nocella has been playing lacrosse for over 30 years. He started to play Division I as a midfielder in 1988 while attending Drexel. He then transferred to City College of New York where he currently holds the record for most goals in one game, 10, and was inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame this past April. City College has been playing lacrosse for 120 years and no one has ever scored as many goals as Nocella did in its entire history playing the sport.
Playing lacrosse since he was a 10-year-old living in Westchester, he knows that the sport can be expensive, so his free clinics will provide sticks and other equipment for every kid that shows up thanks to pending grants and partnerships with US Lacrosse and the equipment manufacturer Warrior.
“The barriers to entry are huge with this sport and with grants we are hopping over these obstacles so city kids can play,” Nocella explained.
The free clinics will take place every Saturday in August (Aug. 4, 11, 18 and 25) from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Field 4 in the Parade Grounds of Prospect Park. The clinics are open to boys and girls ages 5 to 15. If you’re interested in the free clinics, click here.
The summer clinics will be followed by a full fall and spring season. Registration for the fall season is now open, if you’re interested, click here.
“No kid will be turned away because they don’t have equipment, we will provide it all,” Nocella said. “That’s the goal.”