Star athlete, coach and now general manager — Krystin Porcella has pretty much experienced all facets of women’s lacrosse.
Her philosophy is to empower athletes to make the right choices at the right time. “This applies on field and off field,” she says. “If we can develop each player to reach their potential for leadership, we have a whole team of players who have bought into the mission and are focused on the goals.”
In March 2017, Porcella was named general manager of the Baltimore Ride, one of four teams in the United Women’s Lacrosse League. She handles all aspects of running the team, including working with coaches, players and league officials, and managing the draft in selecting players.
The league is entering its third season; the other three teams are in Boston, Long Island and Philadelphia.
“Women’s professional sports is a hard concept. Our goal is to grow, but grow the right way,” she says. “As support grows for women’s professional lacrosse, we will have more options. Right now, we have tried to put the games and teams in the larger markets.”
Porcella graduated from Loyola College in Maryland, now Loyola University, and served as assistant coach at her college alma mater and head coach at her old high school. She has served as president of Top of the Bay Lacrosse since 2004 in Maryland.
She was a member of the U.S. developmental team, then assistant coach and eventually head coach of the under-19 national team that won the world championship in 2011. She called that “an honor I will cherish my whole life.”
“To coach the best athletes in lacrosse at their age group has so many unique and fun opportunities that, as a coach, you can’t wait for the next training or competition. I recall standing on the stage with the medal around my neck and thinking, ‘For this moment in time, we are the best in the world,’” she says. “Those athletes deserve so much credit for dedicating themselves to our mission and carrying out our goals.”
Porcella also coached the Welsh national lacrosse team, which she says was a very different experience, but just as rewarding.
“In Wales and other countries, athletes play because they simply love to play. They pay their own way, pay for their own equipment. The Welsh athletes do not have the youth programming that we have here in the United States, so they set aside one weekend a month to come together to train, again, covering their own expense,” she says. “It was also nice coaching a group of athletes that were so eager to learn new skills and concepts.”
Porcella, who mostly played softball growing up, started playing lacrosse when her cousin gave her an old stick. Lacrosse wasn’t offered for girls until high school, so her freshman year, Porcella and her by then “ancient stick” tried out for the team and made junior varsity.
“Sophomore year, I tried out for lacrosse, but then saw the softball team practicing and felt sad that I had put so many years into playing softball and my dad coached me all those years. So I left lacrosse tryouts and went over to softball tryouts the next day,” she recalls. “After one day of tryouts, I crawled back to the lacrosse coach, Mr. John Hughes, and asked for a second chance to try out for lacrosse. Mr. Hughes gave me that second chance and I have never looked back.”
Porcella says she wishes people knew that there are so many opportunities in lacrosse, including for travel and college scholarships.
A second league, the Women’s Professional Lacrosse League, is supposed to launch this summer. Its director is a colleague of hers, Porcella says. “I wish her the best of luck in starting her new league. My hope is that we can one day bring both leagues together under one name to benefit all of lacrosse.”
The above appeared in the March issue of the print version of Fra Noi. Our gorgeous, monthly magazine contains a veritable feast of news and views, profiles and features, entertainment and culture. To subscribe, click here.