Over the past four months, Ahwatukee Lightening Lacrosse has been offering young children the opportunity to get involved with a sport that incorporates the fundamentals of all sports.

President of Ahwatukee Lightening, Mike Dale, has been coaching the program for the past year, and believes it offers a great way for children to involve themselves with a new sport.

He first fell in love with the game during his college years at Florida State University, and began coaching a team when he moved to the Valley in 1992.

“I always wanted to get my kids to play, so when they got old enough they wanted to learn the sport,” Dale said.

He began coaching small groups on Sunday afternoons and later decided to join Ahwatukee Lightening.

His two sons are involved with Ahwatukee Lightening, which he said was a “dream come true.”

“I’ve always wanted them to play it, and they both have picked up the sport quickly,” Dale said. “It’s been a lot of fun.”

More than 100 players, from kindergarten to eighth grade, are affiliated with Ahwatukee Lightening.

Dale primarily coaches the K-4 team that is made up of 30 different players.

The season began in January and ends in April.

Dale said the season had been going great in terms of the number of players being introduced to the sport, which is usually the goal.

“We’re really trying to rebuild our team in terms of numbers,” he said. “It’s a fun, fast-pace sport that combines a lot of the best of some of the other sports that are out there.”

Ahwatukee Lightening also allows players to learn the fundamentals before entering into the high school level.

“Our program supports both the Mountain Pointe and Desert Vista lacrosse teams. We combined youth programs this year into one, but once our players reach high school level, they will play for either of the local high schools,” Dale said.

For now, Dale and the coaching staff are focused on finishing the remaining eight games on a strong note, and preparing for both the Arizona Youth Lacrosse League (AYLL) and American Lacrosse League (ALL) tournaments.

“Our doors are always open for new players and any young kids who want to try the sport. We offer a great opportunity to get involved and have fundamental programs all the way up to the competitive teams,” Dale said.

For more information about Ahwatukee Lightening, visit www.ahwatukeelax.com.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-4903 or dochoa@ahwatukee.com.

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