An interview with Matt Bagley
by B Thornton- Harwood
Hailing from Manchester, New Hampshire, Matt Bagley started playing pop Lacrosse at the age of seven when he fell in love with the sport; in 2004 he moved to the UK, joining Walcountian Blues and last summer represented his adopted country in the World Championships, at the age of 32 he says frankly “my international career is at an end” but has sights set on top level coaching.
Matt came to this side of the pond when he applied for a classroom teaching job in Surrey: “When I was hired for the position, I began exploring lacrosse opportunities in the U.K. and stumbled across Blues who impressed me the most. I immediately felt at home with the members of the club. I have now played for them for 6 years, and hopefully will do so for many more!”
On his international career began three years whilst playing for Blues “England coaches scouted me during a South of England exhibition match when we played in Birmingham. They approached me after the game and asked if I would try out for Team England!”
Playing in last year’s Lacrosse World Championship was a dream come true, and I can’t even begin to relate all the wonderful memories I have of the experience. The actual tournament was an emotional roller coaster to say the least – with the Iroquois team not coming and then two overtime games against Japan and Australia – but I also made some life-long friends that I am still very close to, even though I live in London. Donning the England jersey was one of the greatest feelings in the world!”
When it comes to his future in the sport Matt has is very positive and has high aspirations; “years of lacrosse are starting to take their toll on my body, and while I will still lace up the boots for club games, my international career is at an end. So, I will continue playing for the Blues during the club season, but my focus will now shift to coaching at the international level. I may need to start at the bottom, but I would love to be the head coach of Team England at some point in my coaching career”.
Despite the growth of lacrosse within the UK over the past few years Matt explains why it’s not seeing the attention it perhaps deserves: “It is folly to think that we will steal kids away from football and rugby, which are monstrously funded and have constant exposure in the media, I understand that it is traditionally a winter sport, but I believe that we must move lacrosse to the summer if we are serious about growing the sport in this country.
“While the university lacrosse boom is fantastic, we will struggle to produce international-type players if we put a stick in their hands at 17 & 18-years-old. Move the club season to the summer, then you will begin attracting more kids at a younger age, who wouldn’t normally play the sport because they are already committed to other activities.”
When he’s not on the pitch Matt enjoys reading and spending time with his fiancée and and confesses “I have an unhealthy obsession with Ancient Greek history. I want to write a book about it one day – one that’s geared towards the age group I teach – but that’s a long term goal that will take a while to finally realize!”