- Title: U.S. teens bring lacrosse to Russia as countries spar
- Date: 7th August 2017
- Summary: (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) RUSSIAN LACROSSE TEAM PLAYER, VALERY SEVERUKHIN, SAYING: "As a team we see that they are professionals in this sport. They start playing from an early age. We have also organised our children's team. I can see they are nice guys, fun and open. And we have fun together. I hope it is interesting for them also to visit us and to see our culture." TEAMS POSING FOR GROUP PHOTO ON PITCH PEOPLE WALKING INTO RED SQUARE VARIOUS OF AMERICAN TEAM WALKING IN RED SQUARE TEAM POSING FOR PICTURES HOLDING RUSSIAN FLAG RUSSIAN FLAG WITH RUSSIAN EMBLEM TEAM HOLDING FLAG, KREMLIN IN BACKGROUND RUSSIAN GIRLS TAKING PICTURES TEAM PLAYING BALL IN SQUARE CARS IN SQUARE AND KREMLIN TOWER IN BACKGROUND
- Embargoed: 21st August 2017 15:50
- Keywords: Russia U.S. relations Russia America Russia lacrosse lacrosse in Russia Americans in Russia
- Location: MOSCOW, RUSSIA
- City: MOSCOW, RUSSIA
- Country: Russia
- Topics: Sport
- Reuters ID: LVA0066T5R9ZB
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: As ties between Russia and the United States sank to new lows, a sport played with bouncy rubber balls and sticks with mesh cradles unexpectedly brought the countries a little closer.
American teenagers from the Mercer Island High School lacrosse team, located outside Seattle, descended on Russia last month to play exhibition games with local teams, an initiative both sides have hailed as an opportunity to forget about the political tensions between their countries.
Long popular in the United States and Canada, lacrosse has only begun to develop in other parts of the world including Russia, where it has gathered a small but loyal following attracted by the speed and physicality of the game.
Ioulia Howard, the president of the Mercer Island Lacrosse Club said the tumultuous times in Russian-American relations since the election of US President Donald Trump last year did not dissuade the group from embarking on a two-week trip meant to help forge ties between players and develop the Russian teams.
"Lots of things happened in the world as we were planning this trip. But we continued," she said.
The trip marks the first time a full American lacrosse team has travelled to Russia to play exhibitions, according to Russian lacrosse player Valery Severukhin.
Unheard of in Russia until about a decade ago, the men's version of the game requires two teams of ten players to pass and shoot a small rubber ball into the opposing side's 1.8 metre-square goal.
This month Trump reluctantly signed into law new sanctions against Russia after Congress had overwhelmingly approved the legislation, which clashes with the Republican president's pledge to improve ties with Moscow.
In retaliation Russian authorities ordered that the United States cut about 60 percent of the diplomatic staff in Russia by September 1, among other measures.
But on a sunny weekend afternoon in a Moscow park, the mistrust, sanctions and alleged Russian meddling in the U.S. election were put aside.
"We're just here to play," said 17-year-old lacrosse player David Hicks. "There's nothing really different about us. We're just people trying to have some fun and play a game."
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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