Vail Valley Lacrosse Club (VVLC) is a community of athletes from the Vail Valley (Gypsum, Eagle, Edwards, Avon, Eagle-Vail, and Vail). VVLC aims to be respected in the community and region as one of the leading youth sports development organizations through hiring professional coaches and providing a safe and healthy learning environment for youth after school is out.
Lacrosse is a game that originated in the Iroquois nation nearly 1,000 years ago. Over the centuries, thousands of Native Americans played games lasting days trying to score on goals that were miles apart. Young tribal members watched their elders compete and bond while playing a game that was gifted to them from the Creator. Lacrosse has always held significant cultural and spiritual importance for the Iroquois. Over the past few decades, lacrosse has grown from the six nations of the Iroquois to over one million players competing worldwide. While the game has changed dramatically since its creation, the culture of gratitude and giving back to the sport still exists to this day.
Fifteen years ago, a group of dedicated parents came together to support and grow the game of lacrosse in Eagle County. Mike Miner, a devoted parent and passionate sports enthusiast who played midfield at Delaware, was one of those parents. Mike wholeheartedly believed then, as he does now, that lacrosse is a special game in which there is an inherent culture about giving back to the sport. He also believed that lacrosse should be available to all who want to play it. Other parents agreed and they organized the Vail Valley Lacrosse Club. Mike became the director of lacrosse while another parent, John “JC” Cole, brought his organizational skills and strength and conditioning expertise to get the club off the ground. Several other parents volunteered countless hours to make the club a success. Former director of lacrosse, Chris Bivona, an All-American at Skidmore College, gave back to the sport by becoming a VVLC coach before becoming the director of lacrosse. His efforts contributed to him winning the 2017 U.S. Lacrosse Colorado Athletic Director of the Year. The club’s current director, Brian Welch, was a First Team All-State midfielder and captain at Cherry Creek High School before signing with Division I Butler University where he led the team in ground balls and was nominated as a team captain senior year. He was a VVLC coach and contributed to several successful seasons before becoming the director of lacrosse. Several parent volunteer coaches, many of them former collegiate players, continue to generously give back to the sport by coaching and mentoring local young athletes.
Through the generosity of others, the VVLC has been able to affect thousands of lives through the game of lacrosse. Through mentoring, coaching and cultivating a culture based on fun, integrity, respect, and sportsmanship, the club has positively impacted the futures of countless Eagle County children. The VVLC celebrates all of the kids, past and present, that have been a part of the program. Several young men and women played in the club’s early days and credit the sport, along with the club, for helping guide them through high school and beyond. Many of these athletes have come back to coach for the club, truly fostering the culture of giving back.