Team USA's Jess Wilk Among FIL Spirit of Lacrosse Honorees

PHOTO BY MIKE WALLIN

Jess Wilk receives congratulations from fellow assistant coach Amy Bokker (left) and U.S. team manager Wendy Stone (right) after being honored with the FIL Spirit of Lacrosse Award during closing ceremonies of the World Cup in Guildford, England.


Jess Wilk, a four-time U.S. World Cup goalie and three-time assistant coach, was among 25 recipients of the Federation of International Lacrosse’s Heart of Lacrosse Award. The honorees were announced Saturday during closing ceremonies of the FIL Women’s World Cup in Guildford, England.

 

 

Each of the record 25 nations participating nominated an individual who has:

  • Made an outstanding individual contribution to the group selecting them.

  • Made an excellent and professional contribution to the event.

  • Made a difference to someone in the group, or to the whole group, which has significantly enhanced their ability to participate in the event.

Wilk, a National Lacrosse Hall of Famer, certainly meets the criteria. She has been an integral part of the U.S. national teams program for 26 years. Wilk qualified for the U.S. Elite team in 1991 and played on World Cup squads in 1993, 1997, 2001 and 2005 — one of only a handful of U.S. players to appear in the event four times. After retiring as a player, she remained a fixture in the program as a coach, serving on gold medal-winning staffs in 2009, 2013 and 2017. Wilk also was an assistant coach on the world champion 2007 U.S. under-19 team.

“She connects the past and the present, all the while asking us to look to the future,” the current U.S. team wrote in its recognition of Wilk, the edited text of which appears below. “She challenges us to be approachable role models for the next generation of U.S. team players by carrying ourselves with class.”







To all who have ever worn the red, white and blue, this person has come to embody what it means to represent the U.S. program. She is passionate not only about the game and the U.S. program, but more importantly about how the game is played. She always has the integrity of the game in mind and reminds us daily that the game is what brought us all together, and that it is our responsibility to leave the game better than we found it.

More often than not, she is a leader with few words, but as a result, her voice then carries much more weight. She is always guiding us down the right path. She is the voice of reason and wisdom — always supportive, but critical, constructive and direct when needed. She is our fearless leader in huddles and on the sidelines — knowing just what we need at any given moment. Her perspective and appreciation of the game and the experience has been crucial to the culture of our program today. She has shown us how to respect the game, our opponents, our officials and each other.

She is a legend not only in the game, but also within the U.S. program.  The U.S. program has not been without her since 1991 — she has played in four World Cups, coached the past three, and coached the U.S. U19 team in 2007. She connects the past and the present, all the while asking us to look to the future. She challenges us to be approachable role models for the next generation of U.S. team players by carrying ourselves with class.  

We could not be more proud to honor Jess Wilk with our Heart of Lacrosse Award.

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