ROME, Ga. — This past July, Berry College alumni Andy Kurila (14C) and Jim Kurila (17C) played in the World Lacrosse Championships held in Israel and represented Slovakia. The Kurila brothers were eligible to play for Slovakia due to their grandparents having been born there.
"The experience over in Israel for the world games was an amazing one," Andy said. "We spent two weeks over there representing Slovakia, learning the Slovak culture, the Israeli culture, as well as the culture of all the other participating teams."
The Slovakia team finished the quadrennial competition at 4-3 in the tournament and finishing 23rd out of 46 countries, the best finish in a world games for Slovakia since they joined the Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL).
Both Jim and Andy were four-year standout players at Berry College and were fortunate enough to earn a spot on Slovakia's 23-man roster.
"We made a bunch of good friends from both Slovakia and the other participating countries," Jim said. "The guys were very welcoming as soon as we got there and made us feel like a part of the team. It was a once in a lifetime experience both playing in the games and being in Israel."
The Kurila brothers both credited their four years of lacrosse experience at Berry College in helping to prepare them for the experience.
"It was an honor to be able to represent not only my heritage but to represent Berry as well," Andy said. "If it wasn't for the path I took in my lacrosse career, both high school and Berry, I would never have had this chance to go over there and play."
The World Lacrosse Championship (WLC) is the international men's field lacrosse championship organized by the Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL) that occurs every four years.
The WLC started as a four-team invitational tournament which coincided with Canada's centennial lacrosse celebration in 1967. Canada, the United States, Australia, and England participated. Seven years later, Australia celebrated its lacrosse centenary and another four-team invitational tournament was held between the same countries. After that tournament in 1974, the first international governing body for men's lacrosse was formed, the International Lacrosse Federation (ILF). The ILF merged with the women's governing body in 2008 to form the FIL.
The USA has won the championship ten times and Canada the other three. The 2014 tournament in Denver featured a record thirty-eight competing nation's. The 2018 WLC in Israel will be the first championship held outside of Australia, Canada, England and the United States.