- Johnny Esfeller
Top Canadian attackman Ben French enrolls at IMG Academy
IMG Academy has announced that Ben French, a Toronto, Canada native among the top lacrosse prospects in the Class of 2016, has enrolled at IMG Academy. The 5-foot-11, 185-pound impact player was one of only two Canadian attackmen selected to play for Team Ontario in both the upcoming U-16 National Box and Field Lacrosse Championships.
“For me, becoming a better lacrosse player means becoming a better athlete, and I know IMG Academy can help me with that,” Ben French said of his decision to attend IMG Academy. “I grew up playing box and field lacrosse in Canada so I'm excited about playing both at IMG Academy and working with Coach Shatz and his staff."
A native of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, French started at left attack as a freshman on the defending Ontario high school champions, St. Michael’s College School, while playing alongside his brother Joe, who played on Team Canada’s U-19 National Team in 2012, and who will be attending the University of Virginia this fall. The younger French led St. Michael’s in points last year and went on to win the Ontario U-16 Provincial Field Lacrosse Championships with the Brampton Excelsiors, and also played on the Brampton box team that won the Midget Championships during the 2012 Ontario Summer Games. A perennial all-star, French was selected to the All-Star squads at both the 2013 All-Canada Games and the 2012 and 2013 Denver Shoot-Out.
“In addition to his extraordinary talent, Ben is a young man who possesses the qualities and intangibles that we look for in our student-athletes. His passion and commitment align well with IMG Academy’s tradition of success and he will most certainly benefit from our school’s commitment to innovation and excellence,” remarked Bill Shatz, Director of Lacrosse, IMG Academy. “Ben has the potential to be among the very best players at the next level, and we’re excited to have him on our team where he will join a host of other outstanding student-athletes who have chosen to advance their skills at IMG Academy.”
Dean French, father of the 2016 prospect and Chairman of Team Canada Lacrosse remarked: “Our national team players are so much more than just box players who play field lacrosse. They are some of the best athletes in the world, and IMG Academy provides a unique advantage in that they combine box and field lacrosse with leading edge sports science, and I know my son will really benefit from that.”
“Ben is so much ahead of where I was at the same age and is a real leader. I'm excited to watch him develop at IMG Academy and take his game to the next level,” commented Joe French, Ben’s older brother and University of Virginia signee. “During my senior year and Ben's freshman season at St. Mike's, we played attack together and went all the way to the Ontario High School Championships. He finished third in team scoring that year just behind two Division I commits.”
French joins an incoming class that already has a distinct Canadian flair and includes the likes of fellow countrymen Cougar Kirby, Shakohawi Kirby, Marc-Antoine Pion-Fregeau, Taylor Boyd, and Turner Allison. The incoming class will add firepower to a team that saw incredible success in its first season, finishing with an 11-1 record, including three exhibition match wins against top national programs and a major university’s junior varsity team. The IMG Academy lacrosse program is the first in the U.S. to integrate box and field lacrosse training, and is also one of the first in the world to tailor its training regimen based on data and analyses collected by IMG Academy performance staff and partners. Last year, IMG Academy debuted ‘DoubleCrosse,’ an innovative offensive system based on the integration of box lacrosse skills and concepts with the principles of the field version of the sport. Using the system, which is designed to generate defensive confusion by attacking the goal with non-stop creative read-and-react movement, IMG Academy’s offense led the country in scoring for the 2013 high school season. Statistically, the team was a model of efficiency, scoring on more than a third of its possessions (33.8%), while limiting its opponents to a meager 12.2% scoring efficiency