The Rhode Island Youth Lacrosse league recently named Pete Kelleher as its president as the spring season approaches.
The RIYLL currently hosts over 3,000 athletes from areas all throughout the state, as well as a handful of teams from Massachusetts. Kelleher, who was recently in charge of the boys leagues, was excited to get his opportunity to lead the state’s biggest youth lacrosse program.
“I have been on the executive board for about six years in one form or another. It just kind of happened. They voted me in and I wasn’t going to say no. I have a lot of time, effort, energy, passion invested in this sport and the state. It’s an opportunity for me to lead and help continue to grow the game,” said Kelleher.
Kelleher, a Cranston resident, is also the head coach at Providence Country Day. He has also served as the president of the Cranston Lacrosse Club, a coach at the US Marine Core Leadership Academy, and has coached various travel teams as well.
Kelleher has loved the sport since an early age, and looks forward to adding another title to his resume.
“I was originally a soccer player but eventually my passion became lacrosse. Back when I was growing up, we would fool around with wooden sticks in the back yard, I joined a couple youth programs back in New Jersey where I grew up. When my oldest son showed an interest, I jumped right back into it, it’s been a lot of fun,” said Kelleher.
Lacrosse has been a fast-growing sport throughout the country over the last decade. The RIYLL expects to see record numbers this upcoming season, and is looking forward to seeing the girls side develop as well.
“It’s king of two-fold. It’s been called the fastest growing sport in America over the past five or six years, it’s constantly chipping away at other sports, the numbers have consistently grown. We have over 3,000 kids and this may be the first year that the girls numbers could be even or even surpass the boys numbers. You’re constantly pushing the sport,” said Kelleher.
More than anything, Kelleher and company hope to teach the sport the right way, and help demonstrate the values that lacrosse teaches from the youth level to the professional level.
“Lacrosse is very family-oriented,” said Kelleher. “It’s the only sport that I’ve been involved in where the two teams shake hands before the game starts, so while it can be a physical sport, it’s a game played by people who respect each other.”