In the summer of 2020, a group of parents gathered on Alivian Jorgensen’s Central Park front porch to sip coffee and discuss their daughter’s futures in lacrosse. Many of the girls had played together—some since kindergarten—on a neighborhood recreational team called the Electras.
Now, in fifth grade, they were ready to take their game to the next level, but that meant going their separate ways on their respective middle-school teams.
“The girls wanted to stay together, and we thought maybe these girls need a bridge between rec lacrosse and highly competitive club lacrosse,” said Jorgensen, whom the girls affectionately call “Coach J.” “We knew we had talent, so we started entering them in local tournaments—sometimes putting them up against older girls—and we started to develop a reputation as a strong team.”
In July of 2021, the girls—rebranded the Urban Elites Club Team—decided to travel to the East Coast to see the best of the best.
“On the East Coast, lacrosse is really big,” said Stacy Neir, whose daughter, Morgan, plays attack and midfielder. “We put ourselves in a highly competitive bracket, and it was good because it allowed us to see the ceiling of what the absolute best lacrosse in the country looks like
“But we got our butts kicked,” Stacy Neir added.
“It humbled us in a good way. We got beat just enough to not be broken. The experience showed gaps in our game, and it sparked a new culture.” Inspired, Jorgeson hired more coaches, kicked up practices from one to five a week. They started doing stick training, agility training, shooting practice. An intensive program.
But improving wasn’t just about sweat equity. They bonded as dedicated young women on and off the field with dinners, pool trips, a little/big sister program.
“We’re giving them a purpose which is so instrumental for young women,’’ Jorgensen said. “None of this has felt alone. We’re all in it together.”
“We competed in a parents vs. kids pick-up game,” said Sophia Cordova, who plays attack. “The parents cheated and still lost!”
A primer: In lacrosse two teams use long-handled, racket-like sticks (crosse) with an oval triangular net on the end typically made of leather or nylon to catch, carry or throw a ball down the field or into the opponents’ goal; field is 110 yards by 60 yards. According to USA Lacrosse, it is one of the fastest growing team sports in the United States. Youth participation in the sport has grown over 500% since 1999 to nearly 250,000.
By autumn 2021, Jorgensen knew the girls were ready for a big tournament, the Santa Barbara Showdown. It proved pivotal to their game.
”That’s when we really clicked as a team,” Morgan Neir said. “Everyone was doing their part. Everyone was catching. Everyone was passing.
“I started thinking we’re really good, and we’re gonna win this tournament.”
She was right. They went undefeated. They also scored 65 goals while only failing to block 15 over the course of five games, earning them the largest goal differential in the tournament.
“We were very proud of that,” Cordova said.
Now considered contenders, the girls returned to California three months later to compete in the largest tournament in the west, the Sand Storm in Palm Springs. Not only did they go undefeated for a second time, they also clinched a sudden death victory in overtime earning them the number one spot—and only top ten ranking—in the west and the number seven spot in the nation.
“It’s honestly kinda scary,” said Cordova who assisted Abby Kiely for the winning shot. “It’s nerve-racking. It forces you to put a lot of trust in your teammates and yourself.”
So, what does a relatively new, nationally-ranked, 6th-grade girls’ lacrosse team do next? For one, they never stop challenging themselves. “We’ve started scrimmaging the boys,” Cordova said.
“And we’re going back to the east coast,’’ Jorgensen said. “We have gaps to close, and this time we have the skills to do it.”
The Urban Elites serve 4th through 6th grade and are expanding through highschool. They are sponsored by The Neir Team at Kentwood Real Estate, Urban Renovators, and Nova Home Loans. To learn more visit urbanelitedenverlacrosse.com.
Photos courtesy of Urban Elites