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From Cypress Bay to the NLL – Anthony Courcelle Keeps Striving – Part 1

by Anthony Courcelle

Thanks to Anthony for contributing a multi-part series about his lacrosse career, which spans from my covering him at Cypress Bay High School, all the way through to his signing a contract with the NLL’s Vancouver Warriors. The first part covers his career up to his senior year of high school. FLN hopes you enjoy this as we go along.

The reader will be given the path that Anthony took to where he is today, a member of the National Lacrosse League, with a college career at Division I Marquette. Anthony earned a good deal of playing time with the Golden Eagles (interesting that Marquette used to also use the name Warriors!) and appeared many times in FLN articles. He kept his dream going after graduation and has been working hard to make the game-day roster.

Part 2 will pick up the High School senior season and in Part 3 we’ll look at his Marquette career, leading into his NLL tryout.

Part One

When asked to write about my lacrosse journey I didn’t really know where to begin, how to do it or even if I really wanted to do it. I’ve always struggled to talk about myself; I feel there is a fine line between bragging and being proud of your accomplishments and speaking about lacrosse, I have been fortunate enough as a player that I feel proud of my journey, so far.

I’m still not at the stage I would like to be and am far from the player I want to become but I am still proud. While it may be uncomfortable to talk about my journey, I felt that growing the sport of lacrosse in my hometown was more important and my route could be valuable for other young players looking to play at the next level too.

Lacrosse has opened so many doors for me that frankly I could only dream of. Ever since I was little, I dreamed of playing in the NFL. I’ve always loved sports and when I was younger football was my first love. I thought I was going to play football as long as I possibly could, hopefully make it to college but my life took an unexpected turn. A teammate of mine at the time, Connor Cullins, who has been a good friend of mine since my first year playing football with the Weston Warriors, asked what I was doing in the off-season. This was late middle school and at the time I would always find a sport to play, basketball, run track, flag football, soccer, etc. but he told me to come try Lacrosse. It was a sport I had never heard of, let alone seen played. But I decided to give it a try and thank goodness I did; even though Connor ended up not playing that year.

First day of lacrosse practice I played for Rich Barba, a Florida lacrosse legend and overall awesome guy for the lacrosse community of South Florida. On occasion he will still suit up to teach the young guns they still got plenty to learn. Anyways coach asks me on my first day after seeing me struggle with catching and throwing if I played football. I perked up because it meant he was going to try and relate to me in words I would understand instead of the other coaches saying bottom hand on your butt end and me looking at them like they were cracked. After I said yes, he asked “you like to hit people?” which I followed up with, “yes sir” he takes my short stick out of my hands and hands me a 6-foot pole and says, “go hit people” . . . from there on lacrosse became a lot more fun!

As time went on, I became more of a lacrosse player and less of a football player with a pole. I began learning the game a little more and making lacrosse plays. It became a lot more fun and with my dad at my side when playing for different travel teams I began getting told I need to go to showcases to be seen by college coaches. My dad coaching football in a hotbed area he was extremely familiar with how college recruiting worked for football. Unfortunately, unlike football, this was not a hotbed area for lacrosse. I began trying out for different teams and showcases we could afford because it was so expensive. I tried to pick the most worthwhile ones to do that were as close as a possible with not much luck because I tried not to leave Florida.

My Senior year was special. I got to play with my brother, my dad as our New Head Coach; alongside my friends with all my family watching our season. Every athletes dream.

It was my last year for high school lacrosse and for a lot of my friends the last year they would ever play lacrosse. So, this was a cool and special time in my lacrosse career. Playing on the football team I had always tried to get more guys to try lacrosse. My senior year they finally listened, so not only did we recruit a football coach (My dad) but also a bunch of my friends who had never touched a lacrosse stick before that season. It was the most fun I’ve ever had playing lacrosse. I got to take on an even bigger leadership role that year because my dad was still learning the game of lacrosse along with me. So, I helped coach the defense and we learned together how to get it done.

Part 2 coming soon