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4 Mar 2022

An icon coaching Eyekonz

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March 4, 2022 Category: Sports Posted by:

ABOVE PHOTO: (L-R) Councilmembers Curtis Jones and Isaiah Thomas present Tina Sloane Green with a proclamation from the city for her work with the Black Women In Sport foundation and her contributions to the sports of lacrosse and field hockey. She has come out of retirement to serve as an assistant coach for Jazmine Smith’s Eyekonz lacrosse team this summer as it competes in the 2022 Women’s World Lacrosse Tournament in Towson, Maryland this summer.   (Photo courtesy Denise Clay Murray)

For the first time since 1992, former Temple University Lacrosse coach Tina Sloane Green will be preparing young girls for lacrosse victory.

By Denise Clay-Murray

As she jogged around the Fox and Gittis Room at the Liacouras Center on Temple University’s Main Campus, Tina Sloane Green showed that she hadn’t lost the spirit that made her an icon in women’s lacrosse.

Sloane Green has a hall of fame impact in the sport, first by becoming the first African American head coach in the history of women’s intercollegiate lacrosse and then by compiling a 207-62-4 career record that included leading the Owls to three national lacrosse championships and 11 consecutive NCAA Final Four appearances. 

She is also a member of the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame, Women’s Sports Foundation Hall of Fame and the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame.

Now, Sloane Green is about to make an impact in the lives of a group of young lacrosse players by returning to coach the game for the first time in 30 years. 

At a press conference held Monday night at the Liacouras Center, Jazmine Smith, the founder and head coach of the Philadelphia-based Eyekonz Lacrosse, announced that Sloane Green would be coming out of retirement to coach the team at the 2022 Women’s World Lacrosse Tournament this summer. The tournament, which will be played in Towson, Maryland from June 29-July 9, brings teams from 30 countries to the field to compete.

When the students at Eyekonz decided that they wanted to participate in the World Lacrosse Tournament, Smith felt that the best person to help both her fellow coaches and herself get the most out of their young charges was the woman who had mentored her, she said.

“As my team decided to play at the highest level of youth worldwide lacrosse competition, I thought that it would be an honor to have Mom Tina come out of retirement and assist myself and my coaches to victory as Eyekonz lacrosse plays in The World Lacrosse Tournament,” she said.

During the press conference, Sloane Green — whose Black Women In Sport Foundation celebrates its 30th anniversary of introducing young people to non-traditional sports this year —  spoke about what she hopes to bring to the young people she’ll be working with this summer.

As a young person growing up, Sloane Green found herself in situations where she was alone. The support she received from her parents helped her push through, she said. 

It also gave her confidence, one of the main things she hopes to instill in the Eyekonz groups she’ll be working with.

“That’s part of it,” Sloane Green said. “Having confidence in yourself. I want the best for [the Eyekonz team], which is why I’m here. [Smith] has the same type of philosophy. I’m thankful that I’m here to support you.” 

Eyekonz is a field hockey and lacrosse program serving Black and Latino boys and girls that provides them with not only the ability to play sports that they might not be exposed to normally, but also requires them to expand their minds. Eyekonz members are also taught Hispanic and African American history, yoga, financial literacy, and coping skills, among other things. They’re also required to do eight hours of community service within their neighborhood to remain in the program.

Because many of the young people in Eyekonz were at the press conference, so were their parents. At a time when parents are concerned for the safety of their children when it comes to recreation, Eyekonz provides them with a safe space to play, said January Washington of West Philadelphia. 

It’s also provided her daughter, Zora Bradford, with a group of friends she might not have gained otherwise, Washington said.

“This is really her social outlet,” Washington said. “[Eyelonz]” really just became her hub of friends. So even the days when she doesn’t want to do it, it’s like, ‘No, those are my sisters. That’s my family, I’m not going to quit.’ It has definitely created that family, that kinship, that she was looking for being a sister of three brothers. It’s just a positive situation for her.”

If you know someone who might be interested in participating in the Eyekonz program, go to:

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