SportsEvents Magazine

APR 2018

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2018 Soccer & Lacrosse Fields & Facilities Sourcebook 12 According to US Lacrosse, the sport continues to be the fastest-growing team sport at the high school and collegiate levels; over the last five years the num- ber of high schools sponsoring lacrosse has increased 27 percent. The number of NCAA schools with lacrosse teams has increased 33 percent. This incredible growth is even more significant when con- sidered against the participation numbers in 2001 when US Lacrosse first surveyed national lacrosse participation. In 2001, the number of lacrosse players was around 250,000. Now at more than 826,000, that's an increase of more than 225 percent over just 15 years. "It's a high-energy action sport that's appealing on so many levels," said Joshua Christian, US Lacrosse's man- aging director of sports development. "It also includes concepts from other sports like basketball, soccer and hockey, so from a conceptual level kids can pick up the sport pretty easy." As more kids are picking up the sport, more milestones within the sport are being reached. In the last two years, the first women's professional lacrosse league (United Women's Lacrosse League) played its first season; Hampton University became the first historically black univer- sity to sponsor Division I men's lacrosse in more than 30 years; and the 24-hour Internet network Lax Sports Network launched. This year, US Lacrosse was selected to host the 2021 Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL) Women's World Cup, which will be held at Towson (Md.) University July 7 – 17, 2021. The FIL World Cup is the major internation- al championship for women's lacrosse, features the top female lacrosse players in the world and represents more than 30 countries. The event will mark the sixth world championship US Lacrosse has been selected to host since the national govern- ing body started in 1998. Now celebrating its 20th anniversary as an organization, US Lacrosse is doing all it can to make the sport more accessible to everyone. The organization's First Stick Program is dedicated to helping schools and community organizations in adding lacrosse to their youth sports offerings. The program awards organizations free lacrosse equipment in efforts to make lacrosse affordable and accessible to youth. "This is usually for newer programs and we also include some coaches training in the program to help the newer program get going," said Logue. "Most years we have around 100 programs participating in First Stick and it's open for programs to apply for the grant." US Lacrosse has also started the Lacrosse Communities Project, which is a strategic way to foster the sport in areas where it hasn't been quite as prominent, such as urban locations. The Lacrosse Communities Project's official goal is to "make the most racially, ethnically and economically diverse neighborhoods in cities across the country focal points for growing lacrosse." US Lacrosse currently has three cities participating in a pilot pro- gram: Albany, N.Y.; Brooklyn, N.Y.; and Cleveland, Ohio. In Albany and Brooklyn, US Lacrosse is working with local groups to develop lacrosse programs and intro- duce the sport to more kids. In Cleveland, the organization has partnered with local organizations to provide the framework necessary to create a self-sustaining youth lacrosse program. "We are funneling resources there to help fund a position there to provide programming for lacrosse and we also built a mini turf field at a local school," Logue said. Another initiative US Lacrosse has taken on is TryLax clinics. The goal of the clinics is to expose kids to the sport by providing some hands-on training. The clinic held t LACROSSE Spotlight Paraih Media Group The US Lacrosse National Tournament will be held at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium at Stony Brook University in Long Island, N.Y. Iroquois National Team Nike players at The DE Turf Sports Complex in Frederica, Del., which will welcome the 10th Annual US Lacrosse Nationals.

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