Although it has been eight years since our first event, we are not slowing down anytime soon. Every single person involved with each event has helped bring us to new heights and new milestones. We never would have hit our first million if it weren’t for every player, spectator, volunteer, sponsor and donor.
It’s because of the lacrosse community and the communities surrounding each of our events that were are able to be here today and say that we have successfully raised over $4 million for wounded American veterans.
So from the bottom of our hearts, thank you for all of your dedication to not only our organization but to all of the veterans and military personnel who are out there fighting for our freedom every day.
In 2012, a group of boys from Boys’ Latin School of Maryland had an idea to use lacrosse to make a difference. Since then, what started as a project by students in a community service club has developed into an event spanning 16 cities around the country and millions of dollars raised.
The first Shootout for Soldiers event took place on June 12, 2012 led by founder Tyler Steindhart alongside Brendan Owens, Geron Brooks, R.J. Kaminski, Brett Roberts, Gabby Steinhardt, and Brink Van Horn. After 24 hours of play, volunteers presented the first SFS check for $105,000.
Shootout for Soldiers returned in 2013 to become an annual event and featured new highlights such as a Major Lacrosse League All-Star hour and the addition of women’s games. 2014 saw the first Adaptive Lacrosse hour and the first expansion to a new location: Massapequa, Long Island.
Since that first game, the Shootout for Soldiers community has only grown and reached new heights. Over 100 applications poured in to host an event in 2015 and Shootout for Soldiers saw its largest expansion yet: the event returned to Baltimore and Long Island and added Boston, Ohio, and Southern California to the roster.
2016 saw even more milestones: U.S. Army Cpt. Ben Harrow played lacrosse for the first time since an IED explosion in 2004.
“My wife was there to see me play,” Harrow said. “It really was a storybook ending to the Ben Harrow lacrosse career as a college player… I feel like Hollywood couldn’t really write that any better.”
The 2016 Summer Tour also saw the addition of Atlanta, Houston and Colorado, but the biggest milestone of all: Shootout for Soldiers had officially surpassed $1 million.
“We came up with the idea, but the lacrosse community has run with it,” said Founder and CEO, Tyler Steinhardt. “For us, we wanted to give back to those who serve our country because we were lacrosse players, high school kids, [and] we could do whatever we want in our lives because people are out there fighting for us.”
In the following years even more locations were added: Hudson Valley, Philadelphia, Canandaigua, Utah, Raleigh, Seattle, Washington D.C., and new to 2019: Jacksonville, Florida.
In addition to the physical expansion, the creativity of each event began to skyrocket. What started out as an event only played by high school boys quickly skyrocketed into an event for all ages, all genders, and all abilities. New games are introduced each year such as father-daughter, mother-son, stick swap, wheelchair games and more.
Even with all this change and expansion, one thing has remained consistent over the years: the hard-work and dedication that goes in to every single event.