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"European referees are more than happy to welcome you and support you in your development".

Santiago Aranguren is the best example that with dedication and motivation you can achieve big goals in a sport like Lacrosse.

Knowing the impact on the development of a minority sport and encouraged by his two sons, both Lacrosse players, Santiago decided to make the leap onto the field and also enjoy the sport.

This adventure that began 6 years ago has led him to become the first Spanish referee to participate in a World Cup (MEN'S U21 WC2022 LIMERICK - IRELAND) after obtaining a Level 3 referee title (highest qualification at European level), allowing him to become an Official WL1 by the international federation.

We want to thank him for taking the time to do this interview and share his story with our sport.

AEL: How did you learn about Lacrosse?

Santiago Aranguren: I got to know lacrosse when my son Martin studied highschool for a year in the US. When he came back to Spain, we discovered that lacrosse was also played here and he signed up for Madrid Lacrosse.

AEL: And what did you like most about this sport?

S.A.: As a spectator I found it to be a very fast and dynamic sport, which allows for lots of changes in the score and means the game can keep you on your toes up until the last minute.

AEL: What made you take a step further and want to be part of lacrosse in Spain?

S.A.: Lucas, my second son, also studied highschool in the US for a year and he encouraged me to sign up for an online referee course. I decided to do it because I thought it could be interesting, and since then I have continued training and traveling to keep learning.

AEL: Why did you choose to become a lacrosse referee?

S.A.: Like I mentioned before, my son Lucas suggested that I do a referee course to be able to help develop the sport in Spain. Without referees there can be no games and he told me that new referees were needed, especially referees that were not also players. When I was my children's age I played a sport that was a minority sport in Spain. That encouraged me because it gave me the opportunity to be part of the national team and represent Spain in international competitions. With lacrosse in Spain you have even more possibilities as a player or referee, because it is more of a minority sport than the one I played.

AEL: You have just been appointed as an Official WL1 international referee. Congratulations! How did you prepare to achieve this qualification?

S.A.: The fundamental preparation has been to read, read and read the rules many times along with the manual on the mechanics and interpretation of the game and refereeing. From there, the preparation has been essentially to travel outside of Spain and take the next step to referee at the international level, first in Europe and then at the international level. My experience has been that if you are eager to learn, European referees are more than happy to welcome you and support you in your development.

On the other hand, there is the physical part, which is nothing more than going to the gym, running, etc., basically making sure to keep generally fit.

AEL: How long did it take you to prepare for it?

S.A.: I took my first course 6 years ago.

AEL: What competition are you particularly looking forward to refereeing?

S.A.: Once I passed level 3 in England (in Spain I could not get it because there was no referee who could examine me), my first goal was to participate in the European Qualifiers for the 2023 World Cup. Once I achieved that, my main goal was to participate in a World Championship which I did by participating in the U21 World Championship.

AEL: What is your next goal as a referee?

S.A.: My big challenge for the next few years is to participate in the Senior World Championship. I didn't make it for the one that will be held in San Diego this year, I am an alternate referee. So I hope to make it for the one in 2027.

AEL: What advice would you give to our young players who are starting out in Lacrosse?

S.A.: As a player, I don't know if I can give much advice because I haven't played. But as I said before, lacrosse is a very fast and dynamic sport where there is a lot of respect among the players and for the referee, despite being a contact sport. There is also a great team atmosphere, friendship and desire to help each other.

AEL: What advice would you give to those who are considering whether or not to become a lacrosse referee?

S.A.: Refereeing is an essential part of the game. The referees are the “third team” and are responsible, first and foremost, for maintaining the safety of the game. A very important message for anyone who wants to be a referee is that in lacrosse the referee is highly respected. Thanks to the fact that he has the tools to nip any complicated situation in the bud, without throwing a team off balance for the whole game.

Secondly, in Spain there are very few non-player referees, so there are many possibilities to develop quickly because you can referee as many games as you want.

And thirdly, as I said before, in Europe everyone is more than happy to help the development of referees and will offer you all their support so that you can participate in as many tournaments as possible in Europe.

AEL: What would you say to those who don’t know what Lacrosse is to encourage them to learn more about our sport?

S.A: I would encourage them to try it a few times because I’m sure that if they want to play a sport, lacrosse will get you hooked because of its speed, physicality, camaraderie, respect and enormous possibilities of being able to represent your country in international competitions, which is something that has always motivated me a lot.



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