Canadian Nathan McKenzie would have been willing to cross the border to play in the Philly Lacrosse Showcase. The snowy roads in Canada wouldn’t have deterred him and neither would the 480-mile drive from his hometown of Guelph, Ontario. Nothing was going to stop McKenzie from getting to Philly, not even showing his passport.
The fact that he doesn’t have to is simply a bonus.
McKenzie, one of the top young defenders from Canada who is in his first year at Brewster Academy (Wolfeboro, N.H.), will be one of the more than 460 players attending the third annual Philly Boys Showcase from Nov. 19-20 at Episcopal Academy (Newton Square, Pa.). The sophomore said he would have gone to the event even if he was still living in Canada because he’s heard this is the best fall showcase for players to get noticed.
“A friend of mine, Austin Shanks, who’s also from Canada, told me that it’s a really good showcase,” McKenzie said. “I’ve heard there are a lot of high end college coaches who go to it and I’m hoping I get a look.”
He’s guaranteed to.
In three years the Philly Lacrosse Showcase has gone from a local event to one of the hottest fall showcases in the nation. It attracts some of the best college coaches and gives players the opportunity to impress them either in Saturday’s morning triple-header game session or by getting selected to play in the Fab 40 All-Star game for either the class of 2013 or 2014.
There’s also a game on Sunday specifically for all the uncommitted seniors to get a look and every player who attends the event gets an indexed set of video clips from the showcase, which can be used in a highlight tape.
Some of the best up-and-coming players are scheduled to play this year, including Sam Bonafede of Chaminade (Mineola, N.Y.) and Riley Peters of Georgetown Prep (North Bethesda, Md.), ranked No. 4 and No. 10, respectively, in the Inside Lacrosse Class of 2014 rankings. But there are also players from California, Texas, North Carolina and, yes, even Canada, making the trip to Philly.
That’s how big it’s become in three years.
“It’s grown into the premiere recruiting event in the fall, maybe in the entire year,” event director and Episcopal Academy head coach Andrew Hayes said. “Kids know that if they’re very good and want to play against other great kids and get noticed by the best college coaches in the nation, there’s no better place to do that than the Philly Showcase.”
Peters is one of those kids. Even though the versatile midfielder/attackman is the No. 10 ranked sophomore by Inside Lacrosse, he still feels he has to make a name for himself. That’s why he’s headed to Philly. He wants to prove his ranking is justified.
“I love going out to play in these tournaments because it’s always great to get your name out there,” Peters said. “I’ve always loved playing the sport, it’s been my favorite since I was a kid, and anytime I can play and compete against other kids it’s a great opportunity.”
An opportunity worth crossing the border.