‘Father’ of Vashon lacrosse ends his time with the club

Charley Rosenberry talks with Griff Jennings during a game. Rosenberry retired from the club this year. - Laura Neuman Photo
Charley Rosenberry talks with Griff Jennings during a game. Rosenberry retired from the club this year.
— image credit: Laura Neuman Photo

This month the man known by many as the father of Vashon lacrosse is stepping down. Charley Rosenberry, who founded the Vashon Lacrosse Club in 1991, is retiring from his position as head coach of the high school boys team and a leader in the club after more than two decades of what players and parents say has been sheer devotion to the sport.

“He’s almost the definition of the word (dedication),” said Michael Hall, a former lacrosse player.

Rosenberry, who also started Whitman College’s lacrosse program while he was a student there, began the Vashon Lacrosse Club with former Islander Vern Smith, starting it with just a handful of high school players. Since then he has helped grow the club to one with more than 150 girls and boys on multiple teams, with some players as young as third grade.

Hall, who played lacrosse growing up on Vashon and now coaches alongside Rosenberry, credits the beloved coach for the club’s growth over the years. Hall said he remembers some early years when the high school team struggled with low numbers. Still, he said, Rosenberry showed up day after day with the same energy and enthusiasm.

“He would always be encouraging and push us hard, even though we were in the years we’d count our one forfeit win as our win for the season,” Hall said.

Rosenberry has become known for his passion on the field, sometimes yelling at the team during games, a coaching style Hall said motivates players.

“He’s passionate. … He’ll be loud and he’ll be vocal, but he’s doing it to try to motivate us and help us out,” Hall said.

Over the past 21 years, Rosenberry has coached the high school boys team to two state championships and won a divisional Coach of the Year award twice. He was recently inducted into the Washington Boys High School Lacrosse Association Hall of Fame.

Rosenberry, an attorney who represents youth offenders in juvenile detention, said stepping away from the program is bittersweet.

“Seeing young people develop an interest and passion for lacrosse, and more importantly seeing them grow up and become really neat young people, has been a real joy,” he said.

However, Rosenberry, 53, added that the club has kept him extremely busy for years now and he’d like to take time to pursue other interests, including a project to help youth transition back into their communities after begin detained.

Rosenberry was quick to credit the Vashon Lacrosse Club’s success over the years to its other dedicated volunteers, and said he was leaving the program in very capable hands.

“I’m a team person and it’s not about whatever awards I have gotten,” he said. “It’s really about Vashon lacrosse, and none of this would happen without support from parents and the board and players.”


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