USACA CEO steps up cricket development

Tue, Jan 26, 2010 11:32 AM

USACA CEO steps up cricket development
USA Cricket Association (USACA) CEO Don Lockerbie is hoping to steer cricket in his country towards the top flight - and hopefully bring some of the world's top cricketing nations to the USA to showcase the game.

Lockerbie, who is in New Zealand for the ICC U19 World Cup, was chosen from about 40 applicants for the new position which was an ICC requirement as USACA strives to grow the game in the land of opportunity.

As Chief Operating Officer and Venue Development Manager at the ICC Cricket World Cup 2007 in the West Indies, Lockerbie was charged with overseeing the building of 12 new stadiums to the value of $435 million.

"I had five years of pretty major cricket experience in terms of cricket development."

He has a long history working in sports event management and has been the man behind venue developments for several major international sports events.

Lockerbie's highlights include both full-time and executive consulting roles to the FIFA World Cup in the USA in 1994, the Olympics in Atlanta in 1996 and the Olympics in Sydney in 2000. Venue development and sports tournament operation have been his focus.

However, while he knew a lot of people in cricket worldwide, both in administration and those playing, he says he knew little about the game in his own backyard.

Since starting the job in April last year, he has been working out where the game is at in the USA and what needs to be done.

His priorities are funding, the development of cricket venues and the ability to attract coaching staff, and ICC nations to play in the USA. For those things to happen the USACA has to become a professionally run administrative body - to help generate funds.

"What (the USACA) is, is an absolute amateur volunteer-based organisation and that's got to change."

Lockerbie says cricket has a rich but somewhat forgotten history in the USA, being first played in 1706. Central Park in New York originally had cricket fields, before baseball arrived. The game, however, largely disappeared off the radar until expat communities from the likes of India, the West Indies and England began breathing new life into it in the 1960s.

The revival has seen a dedicated cricket venue built in Lauderhill in Florida with 7000 permanent seats and a grass bank capable of fitting up to 20,000. There's also interest in Indianapolis and New York in developing cricket facilities.

Two years from now, Lockerbie wants the USA to be a "significant member" of the ICC Associate nations.

A step in that direction has seen a collaboration with New Zealand Cricket - giving the USACA mentoring and advice on how to advance its ambitions both on the field and off. In return, the USA could see New Zealand teams playing on its shores, in the near future, he says.

He is enjoying his time in New Zealand following the USA team and says the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup has been an exceptionally well-organised event.

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