This Felt Different: How Nigel Vital Made His Family Proud


The historic Brogden Cup, which originated in 1988 with competition between top players from Canada and the U.S., has evolved in recent years to bring together top high school players as part of the Fall Classic and this year included teams from the Haudenosaunee Confederacy.

The USA Select U16 and U18 boys’ and girls’ teams went undefeated Oct. 16-17. More than 1,600 players participated in tryouts for the USA Select teams, with 88 ultimately representing the country.

We asked U16 player Nigel Vital to journal about his experiences.

Playing in the Brogden Cup as member of the USA Select U16 boys’ team was one of the most memorable and fulfilling experiences in my relatively young life. It was a cool feeling picking up my USA gear at the hotel the Friday before competition, trying it on in my room and ultimately wearing it the next day to compete against the Canadian and [Haudenosaunee Confederacy] teams.

To be certain, I have competed with my SweetLax and Pine Crest (Fla.) teams in other high-profile events, but this felt different. The difference was having the USA jersey on and representing our country. I felt a sense of gratitude and excitement running out to the field with my boys getting ready to compete.

I also felt a sense of excitement for our families. As I looked in the stands, I could not help but wonder what my parents, Haitian and St. Lucian immigrants, were thinking about me, their son, representing our country, the USA, in a sporting event.

How I wished my granddad, Fritz, was alive to witness the weekend. He was the one who made the trek from Haiti to America in the late 1960s with my dad. My granddad was a big fan of any and every sporting event involving the USA. It was a sobering yet very uplifting feeling.

It was a fantastic weekend where I got to play some lacrosse, meet and befriend some really talented players and get coached by Adam Ghitelman and Jamison Koesterer. It was particularly good to be teammates and to become friends with players such as Matt Han and Parker Love, who previous to the Brodgen Cup were always opponents.

It was also meaningful to become friends with Justin Brown, my hotel roommate and the other African American player on our team. It is not lost on me and others the significance of us not just representing the USA, but also serving as ambassadors and role models to other young players who look like us. My hope is that 6-year-old boys or girls seeing me and Justin competing and having success at this level believe they can do the same.

I would encourage others to try out for the team and to support USA Lacrosse. It really was fun. I’m looking forward to months and years ahead following my USA teammates. I appreciate the opportunity to share my experience.


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