SU Student Teacher Participates in Lacrosse Tournaments with Swedish National Team
SALISBURY, MD---Salisbury University senior physical education major Nick Siok hasn’t played competitive lacrosse since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He wasn’t planning on playing any this semester, either, as he finishes out his academic career prior to a May graduation. That is, until he received an invitation to play with the Swedish national team.
Siok, of Germantown, MD, is one of two SU students completing their student teaching through the study abroad program at the Arena Skolan school in Sweden, teaching physical education to students 13-16 years old. On his first day of class, he introduced himself - where he was from and some of his hobbies, including lacrosse. One of the students in the class, who was born in the U.S., happened to be the daughter of the general manager of the Swedish national team.
When the student told her father about her new teacher, Siok received an invitation to come to practice. He expected it to be just a chance to spend a fun afternoon observing Sweden’s best lacrosse players in action. It turned into an invitation to join the team for its next practices and play in two upcoming tournaments.
“I just thought it would be cool to go to the practice and watch,” he said. “I expected to just meet the guys and see how they practice. And after the first practice, the general manager asked if I was interested in playing the two tournaments.”
Having played four years of high school lacrosse at Watkins Mill and Clarksburg high schools and a few seasons with SU’s club lacrosse team – including a time when the club team was ranked No. 1 in the nation - Siok has plenty of experience. However, he’ll face a new level of talent in the upcoming tournaments. The countries involved take the top players from club teams to play for the national teams.
“There’s definitely a little bit of nervousness,” he said of facing some of the top players in the world, “but I think the excitement will overrule that. I’m excited to get back out there.”
Siok brought no equipment with him for what he planned to be just an eight-week teaching stint, but the team was able to provide him with gear and will fly him to Prague, in the Czech Republic, for the upcoming tournaments as its players prepare for the Euro Cup tournament — in which Siok would not be eligible to compete and which falls after his return to the U.S.
The upcoming tournaments for the national team will be box lacrosse, meaning the game is played in a smaller area, similar to a hockey rink, with just six players on the field for each team. Along with Sweden, the tournaments include top teams from around the world, including the United States and Canada.
Siok spent eight weeks of his internship teaching at Fruitland Intermediate School before the second half of his internship period in Sweden.
“I’m really enjoying it here,” Siok said. “The majority of people are so friendly, and I was amazed by how almost everybody speaks English.
“I enjoy the school system here. It’s a lot different. The schedule varies each day, and the students are really well behaved.”
He is part of the second group of SU students to intern in Sweden. The first cohort of four students were in Sweden in spring 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic cut their time short.
Able to work with his school mentor, he’s adjusting his schedule, allowing him to play with the national team while still completing the internship. Siok returns to the U.S. on May 17, just in time for SU’s graduation events the following weekend.
Learn more about how SU students and faculty make tomorrow theirs at the SU website at www.salisbury.edu.