SPIRE’s Director and Head Coach of Lacrosse, JD Harkey, is a man of many talents. As an experienced leader in the lacrosse world, the sport has provided him with a number of opportunities across the world. His latest endeavor was being named to the coaching staff for the 2022 PALA Men’s Lacrosse World Qualifiers for the 2023 World Lacrosse Championship. The event was held in Medellín, Colombia, from July 17 to July 27, 2022. Six countries––Colombia, Jamaica, Mexico, Peru, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands––competed in the event. Five teams are eligible to grab the four spots available in the 2023 World Championships. The US Virgin Islands will not qualify due to the timing of its start with World Lacrosse.
The opportunity came Coach Harkey’s way via a long-established friendship with Colombia’s head coach. “I first built a relationship with Javi when he was the Executive Director of Lacrosse the Nations,” he explains. “During my time in South Carolina, our team participated in several fundraisers for LtN. As our friendship grew, Javi asked if I would be interested in helping the Colombian team. I was thrilled to accept.”
Harkey’s leadership, on and off the field, has enabled him to coach in some of the most renowned lacrosse tournaments around the globe. Those experiences and his mission to mentor and coach tomorrow’s leaders at SPIRE fuel his passion for athletics. “I coach and travel to be a part of a diverse group with a shared interest––lacrosse. It allows me to broaden my worldview to bring that feeling home to SPIRE Academy students to do the same. I think that intentionally developing worldly mindsets is important to make a better world a better place.”
The four teams that emerge victorious will join 21 other countries who have earned their place to compete in San Diego, including three qualifiers from the Americas by way of their top-10 finishes at the 2018 Championship: Canada, Haudenosaunee and the United States.