Lake Oswego standout gets call to play in championship tourney

Adam Norgaard's prowess in lacrosse earned him first team all-state honors while playing for Oregon Episcopal School in 2016. Now he is making the jump to the world stage.Adam Norgaard is feeling more and more Irish every day.

That is because the 18-year-old Lake Oswego lacrosse star will be wearing the green national colors of Ireland at the 2016 FIL Under 19 Men’s World Lacrosse Championships, handily enough, in nearby British Columbia, July 7-16.

This is a great opportunity that came totally out of the blue, and it happened because Adam’s father Steve Norgaard was skimming over the Internet one day and noticed a most interesting item: Ireland was planning to send a team for the first time ever to the lacrosse world championship, even though the nation’s experience in lacrosse is virtually nil, and was putting out a clarion call to all good Irish lacrosse players.

The Emerald Isle found a great prospect in Norgaard. At 6-5 and 195 pounds he is awesomely rangy and, even better, he earned Class 6A all-state honors this year as a senior at Oregon Episcopal School.

And, oh yes, Norgaard is an Irish citizen. He was born in Ireland and lived there for 2 ½ years while his parents Steve and Karen were hop-scotching around the world. Irish law now holds that you cannot be an Irish citizen just by being born in Ireland. Fortunately for the Norgaards, this law didn’t pass until after Adam was born. He leaped through the loophole.

“This is a great way to take advantage of being Irish,” Norgaard said. “It’s a great opportunity to play for the Irish national team.”

Actually, half of the Irish lacrosse team is made up of Americans like Norgaard, and they are badly needed for Ireland to make a respectable showing on the world stage. Norgaard practiced with the team for the first time during tryouts in Dublin last summer, and he thinks his teammates are a great bunch of guys. But they will need a lot of work and a few breaks to do well in British Columbia.

“From the tryouts it was obvious that the Americans were the most skilled players,” Norgaard said. “It’s such a new sport in Ireland. But the Irish kids are all playing on the same teams near Dublin. They have good team chemistry.”

Along with chemistry, there is the luck of the Irish and also the pride. Nations around the world, as lacking in lacrosse history as Ireland, are jumping on the lacrosse band wagon.

“Lacrosse is spreading like wildfire,” Steve Norgaard said. “It’s such a fun game.”

However, if Ireland wins only one match in the world tourney it will be a huge upset.

“There are only five club lacrosse clubs in Ireland,” said Norgaard, who will be heading to the University of Washington in the fall. “There are 50 high school lacrosse teams in Oregon.”

Norgaard has been immersed in lacrosse ever since he moved to Lake Oswego 11 years ago. When he sprouted to 6-5 he was briefly tempted to take up basketball, but his love for lacrosse won out.

Norgaard possesses all the physical skills needed to be an outstanding player, but he says, “It’s a great sport, but it’s more about the team and guys that really care about the destiny of their team.”

Whatever happens, the young Irish team will have fervent fan support, none more so than from Steve and Karen Norgaard.

“Karen and I are absolutely thrilled,” Steve said. “It’s exciting that Adam is going to be on the global stage and rubbing shoulders with the best young players in the world.”

Still, the best could be yet to come for the Norgaards and the Irish world team. Lacrosse might be added to the sports held at the 2020 Olympic Games held in Tokyo.

If that happens and Ireland earns a lacrosse berth at the Olympics, then Irish eyes will really be smiling.