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Coaches Corner: Building a New Team with Cannons LC Coach Quirk

By Josh Barrow | Mar 17, 2021

On building a new team and championship caliber culture:

When the 2020 season was complete, we (The Boston Cannons) hoisted the MLL Championship. You relish this moment, but begin to think about the next season quickly. The first thing you think about is repeating as champions the following season, and what it will take to maintain and continue to build towards that next championship. This off-season was quite different, though, instead of re-signing players and continuing to build for 2021, we had an even greater challenge ahead. Announced in December, only four months since hoisting that trophy, the Boston Cannons would become the Cannons Lacrosse Club, the 8th PLL team and newest expansion team in the Premier Lacrosse League. The challenge of repeating was an exciting goal, the building of a brand new team is extremely exciting and challenging, and an opportunity I have been thrilled to be a part of. The goals you set in life are ever-changing, and the building of a Championship Caliber Culture is surreal when provided the opportunity.

When hired as the Cannons Lacrosse Club head coach, I immediately began to do what I have done before when building teams – surround myself with the best leaders and people who have a similar vision of accomplishing the mission of winning a championship. This vision: A championship caliber culture, which has to be sustainable and long living. Having the core standards of Accountability, Respect and Trust is paramount in every coach, trainer, player, and team member in the organization. This allows for times of failures, adversity, and success to all come together and learn, grow and flourish as a cohesive unit on and off the field. There is no greater lesson than learning through adversity,  which every team hits over the course of a season, and the teams that thrive off of that adversity and get better throughout the season are ones that are typically hoisting the trophy at the end. Our Cannons Lacrosse Club will build and thrive off of our core standards and one another. We will have a ton of talent in our locker room but as a Cannons Lacrosse Club family we will go way beyond just having talent.

The building of the Cannons Lacrosse Club to this point with Assistant Coaches, John Klepacki (Defensive Coordinator) and Sean Kirwan (Offensive Coordinator) has been a process of acquiring high character players, leaders, mentors and incredibly well-respected athletes through trades and the expansion draft. We set out to obtain the rights of a champion and leader in every facet in Paul Rabil. We as a staff spent countless hours and days looking at players that not only fit into our systems on the field, but equally if not more importantly, how they will fit in the locker room and culture of the Cannons Lacrosse Club. The 18 players we drafted in the 2021 PLL Expansion draft check every box, and we look forward to continuing to build our training camp roster of 30 with the Entry draft and Collegiate Draft.

The building of a new team is a process, a journey to the end result which begins with culture and our core standards of Accountability, Respect and Trust. WE the Cannons Lacrosse Club (coaches and players) are ecstatic about the opportunity and challenges to compete in the Premier Lacrosse League. True champions don’t have opportunities handed to them, they accept the opportunity as a challenge and thrive with one another to reach the pinnacle of hoisting the trophy at the end of the season as a collective group through the culture in which they believe and live by.

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