It is with regret that the NZWLA have accepted the resignation of the New Zealand Senior Women’s National Team (NZBLAX) Head Coach, Dave Simpson.
Coach Dave was appointed as Head Coach in 2019 to take the NZBLAX to the 2021 World Lacrosse Women’s World Championships in Maryland, US.
The COVID-19 pandemic has made it increasingly challenging to coach a national team from overseas. Coach Dave has therefore made the difficult decision to step down.
As Dave is based in California, pandemic-related border restrictions have meant he has not been able to work in person with the NZBLAX players since January. There is continuing uncertainty as to when/if he will be able to return to New Zealand prior to the World Championships. Because his coaching style is uniquely immersive and experiential, working directly with the players is critical for him in preparing the team. Coach Dave and his staff worked to mitigate these challenges through an innovative live-streamed coaching program, but in the end it proved too challenging for a remote Head Coach to make the cultural and tactical development needed to effectively prepare for Worlds.
“This is a very talented team with hard working, motivated players, and it would have been an honour to take them to World Championships,” said Coach Dave. “However, the best path to NZBLAX success at Worlds is for me to step aside and let the New Zealand-based coaching staff establish their culture and tactics so the players have a consistent and cohesive build-up to the tournament. I’m very invested in their success, and I fully hope and expect them to accomplish their performance goals at Worlds.”
“I want to thank NZWLA, my coaches and staff, and most especially the players for my experience with NZBLAX. Despite the challenges, I have formed deep and meaningful relationships and thank everyone for their support, trust, and hard work on my behalf.”
The NZWLA acknowledge Coach Dave’s hard work and the impact he has made in his time with the NZBLAX Team and thank him for all of his efforts.
Assistant Coach Casey McLain will step up as Interim Head Coach allowing the NZWLA to work through a selection process to confirm a permanent New Zealand based Head Coach shortly.