On June 24th, Colin McSharar (Indianapolis, IN USA) was hired as the Head Coach of the first ever Uganda Senior Women’s Lacrosse Team. Since then, he has been busy helping lay a solid foundation for Uganda’s newest international team. The Uganda women will be making their international debut next summer at the World Championship held in Towson, MD. The World Championship was supposed to be held in Rome, Italy, in 2020 but were cancelled, then pushed back one year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. “Our path to the World Championship will be atypical,” says McSharar. “But I know that through prayer and determination, the impact we leave on the international lacrosse community will be as captivating as it will be impressive.”
Though a native of the United States, McSharar is familiar with lacrosse in Uganda. In December of 2019 along with seven other volunteers from FCA Lacrosse, he helped lead a lacrosse camp for 300 local youth. Along with the camp, they were able to donate 18 full bags of equipment to FCA Lacrosse Uganda, which has recently merged with the Uganda Lacrosse Association. McSharar regularly keeps in contact with Uganda locals in the lacrosse community, and has even asked Nakato Dorothy to help with training of the team.
McSharar is no stranger to start-up programs. McSharar started playing lacrosse while at Bishop Chatard High School (Indianapolis, IN USA). His freshman year was Bishop Chatard’s second ever season. He then went on to play at the university level at NCAA DIII Mount St. Joseph University (Cincinnati, OH USA). His freshman year there was also their second season as a program.
After graduating from university, he coached his alma mater, Bishop Chatard for one season. Then, he got back into coaching at the University level at Butler University for their men’s and women’s club team for two seasons. His experience in starting programs took him to Franklin College (Franklin, IN USA) to help their women’s team transition from a club to a NCAA DIII varsity sport in 2015. Then in 2018, he was tasked to start the first ever women’s lacrosse program at Anderson University (Anderson, IN USA).
Due to increased budget and other restrictions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, McSharar left Anderson University in June of 2020. He has since been involved in growing the girl’s lacrosse game at the high school level, and has also become an official. Currently, he is the head varsity lacrosse coach at Brownsburg High School (Brownsburg, IN USA).
With unique experiences comes a unique way of team formation. McSharar’s lacrosse experience has been almost exclusively in new programs, which gives him a unique skillset and mindset on team development. “The most important quality of a team is it’s culture,” says McSharar. “My #1 goal as head coach is to create a culture rooted in love of each other, selflessness, and personal improvement. Teams that are the most successful have a locker room of humans that all love and respect each other. Talent only gets you so far. For us to succeed, we need to be unique. We need to train uniquely. We need to push each other in a positive way.”
Uganda will be one of very few countries in the World Championship that will not contain any American players. Uganda will also be one of, if not the only team that puts faith at the core of both player and coaching development. “Growing up and playing in Catholic schools from kindergarten through college, as well as coaching with faith-based institutions like Anderson University and the FCA have really shaped who I am,” says McSharar. “Within any role in athletics, either as a player or a coach, there will be a limit as to how far one can go. Eventually, our bodies will give out or opportunities will go away, and we will no longer be able to play the game at the level we want. There will also come a time where coaches will step away from the game. So to me, my identity cannot be as just a coach. I need to be a disciple of Christ first. That role will never end. And since God does not operate within limits, there will be no limit as to how far our individual relationships with Christ can grow. That’s why the slogan for this team is ‘Tewali Komo,’ which translates to ‘No Limits.’ I cannot promise that we will be the fastest team, most talented team, or most experienced team. But, I can promise that we will be the tightest knit team, and the only team that also plays to glorify God,” says McSharar.
While the staff is in America, the team plans to host weekly and bi-weekly calls to bond as a team, and also to do Bible studies as well as other team building exercises. “It will be a good learning experience for us as American coaches to learn more about the Ugandan way of life,” says McSharar. “I have been there once already, but the other two coaches have not. The World Championship is in the United States, so we will then return the favor to our players and get the privilege of showing them our way of life. We want to be able to grow spiritually and mentally together, even if some of us are thousands of miles apart,” says McSharar.
Tryouts dates for the national team is still TBD, but most likely will be in mid-December. Right now, the plan is to conduct them in December. A team camp will be later in 2022. “It’s not just about finding the best players,” adds McSharar. “It’s about finding the right ones. We need dedicated leaders, selfless role-players, and all need to be great teammates if we are to be successful.”