John Christmas is one of the most accomplished lacrosse players in the game, at every level, both on and off the field. His current focus has been on growing the game and diversity of the sport world-wide, as well as coaching youth and high school lacrosse.
Christmas is originally from Ardmore, Pennsylvania (born August 16, 1982), where he played for Lower Merion high school. As a high school player, he was one of the greatest players in Pennsylvania lacrosse history, where he was a 3x All American.
Christmas attended the University of Virginia from 2002-2005, where he was a two-time USILA All-American and two-time All-ACC selection and helped lead the Cavaliers to the 2003 NCAA Division I Men's Lacrosse Championship. He was also selected Rookie of the Year by Inside lacrosse for the entire nation.
After college, Christmas played professional indoor lacrosse for the Philadelphia Wings in the NLL, where he was selected in the fifth round (49th overall), and played professional outdoor lacrosse for the Boston Cannons, where he was selected in the first round of the 2005 MLL Collegiate Draft, and also played for the Chesapeake Bayhawks. He won the MLL Most Improved Player honors in his second season in the league and appeared in the 2006 MLL All-Star Game.
Christmas was named to Team USA in the 2007 World Indoor Lacrosse Championships.
In 2009 Christmas stopped playing for the Wings to instead focus on establishing a non-profit organization in Philadelphia called L.E.A.P.S. (Lacrosse, Education, Attitude, Perseverance, Success). During that time John worked as an assistant coach at University of Pennsylvania, and also funded and ran 141 lacrosse training to handle lacrosse camp counseling. He also coached Lower Merion HS for two years. During this time, Christmas also co-founded Dukes HHH Lacrosse, an east coast club powerhouse travel lacrosse club.
John also played professional lacrosse in the LXM Pro where he was one of the most popular and talented players. He played in his last professional game in 2014.
In 2011, Christmas moved to the San Francisco Bay Area where he immediately had an impact on the sport at the youth and high school level where he coached for the
Firehawks Lacrosse Club and Sacred Heart Prep, where he was instrumental in establishing those programs as regional powerhouses.
In 2013, Christmas coached Southern Marin Lacrosse Club for two years before departing to become the head coach at De La Salle High School in Concord. Christmas has built the De La Salle program into a top program in NorCal where they have been to 4 straight NCS finals and have won 2 NCS titles. This past year Christmas was the 2019 EBAL Coach of the Year and was selected as the 2019 Northern California Coach of the Year.
In 2013, Christmas founded ACES lacrosse club, top youth travel club in the Bay Area. He also was the founder of Alcatraz Outlaws youth teams. He currently coaches the Dukes Nationals in the summer. Other coaching accomplishments include:
In 2017, Christmas founded Silver City with the mission to train, develop and mentor the most competitive lacrosse players in Concord, California and the surrounding East Bay towns.
In 2015, Christmas founded the Pinnacle ACES with Frank Resetarits, Albany lacrosse legend, to create a team that brought together the toughest most coachable kids from Sacramento, East Bay, Marin and south bay to compete in recruiting tournaments back east. Since its inception the program has been fortunate enough to get dozens of kids recruited.
In 2007, Christmas founded Access lacrosse website, which was the first site dedicated to giving players, coaches and parents access to full length games for free. This including professional, college and youth games.
As impressive as his accomplishments have been as a player and as a coach, Christmas has perhaps had a bigger impact on the sport through his work spreading lacrosse around the world.
In 2012, Christmas helped start the Colombia national lacrosse team by helping to run clinics, fundraisers and marketing, adverting support as well as supplying uniforms for their participation in the 2014 World Games in Denver.
In 2010, Christmas helped start the Uganda national team, which competed in the 2018 world games and John was their co-offensive coordinator. He has also traveled to Uganda to teach and coach lacrosse and has helped raise more than $20,000 to help the national team out.
In 2015, Christmas helped start the Ecuador national team by traveling with high school lacrosse players to train, travel and expose the game in both northern and southern Ecuador. After 3 years the FIL awarded
In 2017, Christmas traveled to the Philippines a helped create history and a critical FIL tenant for incorporation by participating in the first ever lacrosse game at Manila University with a group of high school players.
In 2010, Christmas founded Encore lacrosse, which is a lacrosse company whose mission is to inspire action through lacrosse culture. Their vision is to share lacrosse culture with the global community, and in turn, help make it better through those very same multicultural experiences and values that transcend the sport. Their motto is “Action is Character”, which Johnny Christmas certainly espouses in everything he does in the sport of lacrosse. Christmas/Encore promote lacrosse culture through destination tournaments in San Francisco, Las Vegas, and Hawaii – including well-known tournaments such as Battle of the Bay, Impact10 Recruiting Showcase, Hawaii Youth Lacrosse Classic, Las Vegas Lacrosse Showcase, and Kings Classic. Christmas and Encore also run project-based international, urban, and non-profit lacrosse development, including locally in the Bay Area where he is an advisor for the Oakland Lacrosse Club. In addition to running events and growing the game, Encore manufactures high quality team wear, uniforms and lifestyle clothing products.
In 2019 John founded LET (Lacrosse Education Training - Let Them Play!) to help foster the growth of lacrosse all world. In the fall of 2019 John was also the director of the Riptide SF lacrosse boys fall ball program.
In 2017, Christmas inducted into the US Lacrosse Hall of Fame / Pennsylvania Chapter, where he was recognized as a truly great player and contributor to the lacrosse.
Kristine has been fortunate enough to be part of the growth of Bay Area womens and girls lacrossesince 1998. In the past two decades the friendships that have been cultivated, the lessons learns and the fun had (even emptying trash cans at tournaments) is something that she is beyond grateful for.
Kristine started out with the womens game back in 1998 as a club player for St. Mary's College of California. The team transitioned to D1 status and were blessed to work with Diane Whipple. She was a coach ahead of her time in understanding training dynamics, movement plays, camaraderie and building a positive team dynamic. It is because of her guidance and a woman, coaching a womens game, that Kristine even thought and considered to play any part in lacrosse after college.
After college Kristine began coaching at both the junior, high school and collegiate levels all over the bay area. Kristine looks back at how the game has evolved since then. In 2003 when she started her first coaching job with the NCJLA, at the time there were only 8 girls teams TOTAL across the entire bay area! She worked as a club representative with the other girls side club reps to really begin building the infrastructure necessary to grow the girls game over the following ten years.
While coaching and attending graduate school Kristine received an MA in Kinesiology focusing on enjoyment of sport and commitment. She began working with the NCJLA as a their Girls Director. What an amazing opportunity. Working along side the girls representatives from all the clubs, the umpires association, and the NCJLA board they really created something special. They added age divisions, levels of play, and over 100 teams in my time with the NCJLA. Along with that all the guidelines, tournaments and junior umpire training opportunities. When Kristene sees girls carrying their sticks to school for practice she can't help but be proud of the efforts and the hard work it took to get to this point.
Growing up on the San Francisco Peninsula in the 1970s, lacrosse was a sport that not many had ever heard of, let alone played. So, it was in 1980 when Rick attended the University of the Pacific in Stockton California that he was first introduced to the sport that would forever be part of his life, and so the story begins.
Right away, he fell in love with the game--the fast-paced nature, the contact, the team camaraderie, and the competitiveness. Rick started out playing long stick defense for the UOP Tigers club lacrosse team in 1980, and after three years of club experience he was hooked.
After graduating from UOP in 1982 he moved back to the Bay Area to start a career in the construction industry. In the spring of 1984, he was invited to try out with the Marin Lacrosse Club, and he jumped at the opportunity to get back on the field. He spent the next 10 years playing great lacrosse, meeting lifelong friends, and making unforgettable memories. To this day (almost 40 years since starting the sport), he has maintained friendships with many of his teammates from UOP and the Marin Lacrosse club. Like most sports, building lasting friendships has been one of his favorite parts of the game.
During his club playing days, he met his wife Patti, and shortly thereafter they had three beautiful daughters (Paige-1992, Erin-1994 and Nicole-1996.) Moving to Danville in 1994, your typical youth sports consisted of soccer, CYO basketball and youth dance teams. In 2001 a group of East Coast dads started the Diablo Scorpion lacrosse program. It started with boys lacrosse but quickly added a 4th/5th grade girls team in the spring of 2003. He immediately signed up his oldest daughter, Paige (who really had never thrown a lacrosse ball around) and now he was back in the game. Through the years, Rick ended up coaching all three daughters and was an integral part in helping grow the girls’ side of the Diablo Scorpion lacrosse program.
Simultaneously, he assisted coach for the San Ramon Valley High School boys JV team as defensive coach along with long time fellow club team friend Steve Reyda. In 2006, eldest daughter Paige was off to high school at Carondelet in Concord California. The Carondelet (varsity only) lacrosse program needed a coach, so he volunteered to help out the school, adding a JV team to the program just one year later. Carondelet won multiple division 2 league championships prior to being added to the EBAL division 1 league in 2009. In 2011 Carondelet won its first of three D1 titles from 2011 to 2013.
In the off-season from high school lacrosse, Rick coached the Berkeley-based club team BearLax, where he led his daughter Erin’s team to playoffs and championships in tournaments on the east coast every summer from 2008-2013. He took great pride in his team's ability to hold their own against the highly talented east coast teams.
Rick coached for the BearLax/Tenacity lacrosse club until 2017 where he helped many girls reach their dreams of playing in college. Whether it was a top ranked D1 or D3 University or a highly recognized College with a solid club lacrosse presence, Rick always had the players interest first and foremost making sure they were prepared to take their game to the next level.
Rick continues to coach at Carondelet High School on “Jeffery Field” where he will be in his 15th year for the 2021 Spring Season.