Before he was a freshman in high school, he had never even heard of lacrosse. Now, he is the head coach of the Thousand Oaks High School girls lacrosse team.
When Anthony Estrada first tried out for lacrosse at Lyons Township High School in La Grange, Illinois with his friends, he never knew it would become a lifelong passion and career.
“Lacrosse was something I’d never heard of, so I wanted to give it a try,” Estrada said.
He played throughout high school as a defender with a longer lacrosse pole, and fell in love with the creativity and flow of the game. His favorite part of lacrosse is the way every player has individual techniques and play styles.
“Players can really express themselves on the field,” Estrada said.
He enjoyed many aspects of playing high school lacrosse, and strived to have the opportunity to play in college. Working to reach his goals was one of his favorite memories of playing.
“I miss the recruiting process,” Estrada said. “Traveling to different states hoping to be contacted by a college coach was all that I wanted.”
After high school, his hard work paid off when he got to play at Elmhurst College in Illinois. When he was 18 years old, Estrada began coaching for various lacrosse club teams local to his hometown, mostly with True Lacrosse club teams.
He began coaching because he enjoys seeing his players grow as a team.
“It’s all about giving back,” Estrada said. “I want to see all of my players develop and reach new limits.”
The players can see all the effort he is putting into the team.
“He’s really nice and wants the team to succeed,” Elsa Heath, a sophomore lacrosse player, said. “He’s a lot more intense and down to earth. He’s really quick to get on it. He’s going to teach us the fundamentals of lacrosse and then he’ll get us to succeeding in the game.”
When he moved to California, Estrada was drawn to Thousand Oaks High School by the people and opportunities it opened up.
“Thousand Oaks has a wonderful community and the opportunity to grow with this program is exciting,” Estrada said.
Estrada looks forward to his first season at TOHS, and plans to put his own ideas and improvements into the lacrosse program for the good of the players and the team.
“[I plan to] push our girls mentally and physically,” Estrada said. “I want them to take everything they are going to learn on this team and apply it off the field too.”
The most important part of lacrosse for Estrada is individual progress, so that everyone has the opportunity to reach their personal goals.
“Everyone has the potential to play beyond high school,” Estrada said.
He also hopes to bring the team together like a family, so they can all count on each other on and off the field.
“[I hope to] establish a strong team culture,” Estrada said. “I emphasize accountability, family, and toughness with this team.”
Estrada plans to establish this team dynamic with the help of his new assistant coach, Laura McIntyre. He looks forward to working with her, and comments that she will bring leadership, enthusiasm and a lot of experience to the program.
No matter how the girls lacrosse team does this season, the most important thing to Estrada is learning and working hard. He advises TOHS students to put themselves out there and try their best in everything they do.
“Use every day as an opportunity to get better,” Estrada said. “Make new mistakes and push yourself.”