Koichi Nakamura wants students in his home country to have the same opportunities as him. That’s why whenever he returns to Japan, he holds lacrosse clinics for players of all ages. “Lacrosse changed my life. When I was 18 years old, I came to the U.S. to play. I had a very good experience here. I tell Japanese kids they can come to the United States, play lacrosse and study here like I did. I’m very lucky.”
Nakamura is a native of Fukuoka, Japan and a Business Administration major at Onondaga Community College. He is also a two-time national champion having played for the Lazers Men’s Lacrosse team during its undefeated 2017 and 2018 seasons. Before coming to OCC, he attended Nakamura Gakuen University in Fukuoka and earned a degree in Education. During the semester break he returned there and visited college President Satoshi Kai, showing off his national championship ring and plaque along with the certificate he received when he was sworn-in to OCC’s chapter of international honor society Phi Theta Kappa. Their photo is at the top of this story.
Nakamura has a busy year ahead of him. He’ll finish his studies at OCC in December. Between now and then he’s trying out for a professional lacrosse teams. He’s also working with current Lazer lacrosse players who are faceoff specialists like he was. During a faceoff two opponents attempt to gain control of a ball which has been placed between them. Winning faceoffs is a critical component to team success. “You have to be quick and strong. Practice makes perfect.”
In October Nakamura will bring his two lacrosse worlds together. The Falcons, a club lacrosse team from Tokyo will be coming to Central New York to practice and play. Nakamura is organizing their visit. “They have won 11 national championships. They are the OCC of Japan.”
Nakamura’s goal is to return to Japan and teach the game of lacrosse across the country. “Teaching lacrosse makes friends. Thirty thousand people play lacrosse there. It’s not the biggest sport there but it is getting bigger. We are growing the game.”