Netanya, Israel - To represent a University as an athlete is a unique instance that few get to experience in their lifetime. What even fewer get to do is represent an entire country.
Former Virginia Wesleyan University men's lacrosse coach, A.J. Smith, was lucky enough to do both this summer as he played with Team France at the 2018 World Lacrosse Championships in Netanya, Israel. Smith's mother was born in France, giving him the opportunity to try out for, and eventually make, the French National lacrosse team.
The 2011 Virginia Wesleyan graduate flew out with the team to Israel mid-july to compete in the International Tournament. There, France played seven games, going 4-3 which was an improvement upon the last tournament  in which the squad only won two contests. The squad's wins came over South Korea, Uganda, Russia and Denmark allowing them to finish 33rd in a field of 46 teams.
While the team played solid, Smith turned in an exceptional tournament. The defender finished with four goals and assisted on four more en route to being named the team's Most Valuable Player.
"The whole experience was surreal." said Smith enthusiastically. "It really hit me as we walked into the stadium during the opening ceremonies. I was one of 23 guys representing a country of 67.2 million."
Also competing in the tournament was Josh Richardson a rising sophomore on the VWU men's lacrosse team. Richardson represented team Scotland, appearing in all eight of the team's contests, earning one assist.