A former member of the Semiahmoo Rock lacrosse association will be playing the game on the world stage this week in Langley.
But Ivan Rojas Jr. won’t be playing for his home country of Canada, but rather Costa Rica, where his family is originally from.
The 17-year-old – who will be one of the youngest players to play at the World Lacrosse Indoor Championship, which is set to be hosted at the Langley Events Centre – qualified to play for Costa Rica through the ‘Heritage program’, his father, Ivan Rojas Sr., told Peace Arch News.
After graduating from the minor-lacrosse system, the younger Rojas – who is a goaltender – moved on to play in the BC Junior ‘A’ Lacrosse League. He was drafted by the Delta Islanders in the 2018 BCJALL draft – an event that saw a total of six Semiahmoo players selected. The well-travelled teen has also played for the Burnaby Lakers, Maple Ridge Burrards and Richmond Road Runners throughout his young career, his father noted.
However, his move to the Costa Rican national program was his biggest move yet. And it hasn’t simply been a case of driving from the Semiahmoo Peninsula to Langley, slapping on a new jersey and hitting the floor with his new squad. Instead, Rojas has been in Costa Rica since early August, where he’s been training with his new team.
He isn’t the only Canadian import on the team, either. In fact, the team’s coaching staff is entirely Canadian – head coach John Mouradian, offence coach Pat Differ, defensive coach Chris Rudge and goalie coach Dave Evans.
The international tournament runs from Sept. 19-28, and will feature 20 teams from across the world – from Australia to England to Finland and Serbia. Canada is hosting the tournament for the first time since 2007, and the team will be looking to capture its fifth consecutive Cockerton Cup trophy as tournament champions.
The first five days of the events feature round-robin play, before teams are split into an eight-team championship bracket and 12-yeam consolation bracket.
Costa Rica’s first game is Sept. 19, 10:30 a.m. against Australia, at the LEC Arena Bowl. On the 20th, at the LEC Fieldhouse, Costa Rica plays Austria.
Canada, meanwhile, opens play Sept. 19 at 7:30 p.m. against the United States.