The First Academy girls varsity lacrosse team will play its 2022-23 season under the guidance of its new head coach, Lindsey Keenan.
“Our coach resigned over the summer, so we needed somebody, and it was a long search,” Sports Information Coordinator Bo Burgess said. “We honestly couldn’t find a ton of people. We found people here and there, who just weren’t a good fit, and Lindsey came into our radar at the last minute. We brought her in, interviewed her, and she just did a great process (and) said all the right things.”
Keenan is looking forward to using her knowledge of the sport to help the Lady Royals.
“I love how fast-paced (the sport of lacrosse) is and how it’s growing so fast, especially in Florida,” she said. “It’s a newer sport (here), so it’s exciting to see the girls play and come (to the team) and just get the hang of it right away.”
Senior and midfielder Ella Currey, 18, is excited to train under Keenan and waiting to see what she will be able to teach her and her teammates.
“I really like her ideas from both a schematic standpoint and a team-bonding standpoint,” she said. “In our discussions so far, she’s had so many great ideas about how to build the program, and I’m so excited to lay a great foundation as one of her first seniors.”
Keenan said her coaching philosophy involves both sacrifice and commitment.
“A lot (of it) is having that sacrifice and be willing to buy in and to be a good team, and that (would be) on and off the team,” she said. “So (making) those commitments to the team, to each other and to yourself and kind of growing that way.”
Burgess said TFA also hopes to bring lacrosse to its younger students. Doing so would bolster the Royals program long-term.
“We are really hoping that with a younger coach, and being a newer sport, we can really inject some life into the program and see it grow,” he said. “We do Lower School clinics multiple times a year for every sport, so we want to get the ball rolling with girls lacrosse.”
A Maine native, Keenan began playing lacrosse when she was in third grade. Before making the decision to moving to Florida to coach at TFA she coached as the varsity coach for her hometown school.
Of course, a move of this magnitude was a big decision, but TFA’s culture made it a perfect fit for Keenan.
“It’s a Christian school, so that lines up with me and who I am,” she said. “It was just the best fit.”
Her years of experience will help the players see Kennan as a guide who can provide a smooth transition when introducing her new coaching style to the team.
“Having a coach who is experienced will provide a fresh dynamic to our team,” Currey said. “But, because she is young, I think she will be able to build great relationships with us and relate to us in a unique way.”
And that is exactly how Keenan expects to instill confidence among the girls — and herself — this season.
“It’s definitely building that one-on-one relationship with the girls,” she said. “Especially because they are going in transitioning to a new coach, so just building that relationship and being that motivator on and off the field.”
Having graduated only five seniors last year, the team — which has 12 of 17 players returning this season — is excited to begin its 2022-23 campaign and improve on a few tools that can be useful to them on the field this year.
“Continuing our strong bond and high energy,” Currey said. “Also, we struggled defensively last year, so we need some improvement there.”
The Lady Royals began practicing this week and will open the season against Bishop Moore in a non-district game at 5 p.m. Friday, Feb. 17, on the road.