Did you know that January 7, 2019 is College Football’s National Championship game? Odds are that at least one team from the Southeastern Conference (SEC) will be represented for the fourth consecutive year. It is arguably the most dominant conference in College Football with some of the most well-known coaches, talent, facilities, and fan bases in the country. The same can be said of The National Lacrosse Federation (NLF) as this organization is at the forefront of evolution to league play for Club Lacrosse.
As per US Club Lacrosse, there now are over 800 Lacrosse club teams spanning across the country, and the challenge remains to host competitive tournaments without lopsided scores. Six of the leading organizations decided to make a change and band together seeking parody in elite competition. The Baltimore Crabs, Big 4 HHH, Laxachussets, Leading Edge, Long Island Express and Team 91 were the original members of the NLF founded in 2015. The alliance has since grown to 16 with the additions of LB3 Thunder (GA), Mesa (PA), Eclipse (CT), West Coast Starz (CA), Edge (CAN), Madlax (VA/MD/DC), Legends (CA), Primetime (NY), Denver Elite (CO), and Sweetlax National who compete in some of the most exclusive “Super Series” and showcases in the country.
Similar to the SEC, teams of the NLF are not exclusively playing games against conference rivals. These highly competitive interconference battles are entertaining, excel player development, and display local talent on a national stage making it easier for scouts to identify a player’s skill set that will transfer to the next level. It can be noted that the SEC, for the 12th consecutive year, led all football conferences for the most prospects selected in last year’s 2018 NFL draft. It is why the NLF is a hotbed for Division 1 Lacrosse talent. It is why both conferences dominate the national Top 25 rankings.
As dominate as the SEC has been in popularity, other Power 5 conferences and smaller school conferences produce top NFL prospects, top 25 teams, and National Champions. Within the next five years, Club Lacrosse will be regulated and create its own version of Power 5 conferences where many summer and fall tournaments will be conference specific.
The Lax Federation (LAX FED) has already developed its own alliance of 20+ national programs that utilizes its resources as additional value programs for the student athletes beyond exposure of national tournament play. LAX FED offers its members a variety of benefits that include discounts on gear, travel, training, and even provide a college advisory service.
Club Lacrosse will benefit as a whole when it is regulated and conferences develop. Tournament play will produce more competitive play, collective resources will be passed along to the student athletes, and there will be improved efficiencies to the recruitment process for college coaches.
Could there one day be a Club Lacrosse’s version of the Orange Bowl or Cotton Bowl to determine a Club Lacrosse Final 4 National Champion? I think it’s closer than you think- and odds are that at least one team from the NLF will be represented.
The 2018 Logo Contest was flat out awesome! 217 Club Teams entered their logo to be chosen as the best log in club lacrosse. Our committee narrowed down the 217 logo's to the final 16 where we opened it up to the public to vote to see who has the best logo in club lacrosse. The voting was insane! Each bracket was averaging 4k votes a piece. In the end the Black Bear Lacrosse Club came out on top and was crowned this years 2018 Champion. Congratulations to Black Bear and thank you everyone who came out and voted!
Stay tuned for the Best Helmet in Club Lacrosse Coming Soon....
Ahhhhh Sept 1st: the new biggest day in the recruiting world. All over the country club teams are posting " Get ready 2020's! Big things are coming, phones are going to be ringing off the hook!"
Now let's come back to down to reality and talk about what you really should be expecting on Sept. 1st.
Top 5%, Stay Patient
It is 100% true that many players' phones will be busy, but many of you that receive these phone calls have to stay patient. When you play club lacrosse, visit prospect days and make All-American games, you tend to put college athletics up on a pedestal. When your teenage years are built on playing lacrosse all day everyday, it's very easy to get too excited when you get a phone call from one of the big schools.
Just because you received a phone call does not mean you have received a SCHOLARSHIP or an OFFER. Parents, let me repeat that one... just because your son/daughter is getting phone calls does not mean they are "SET" and you can go around town telling everyone your son/daughter is going to this college or has received money! Best advice: Stay Humble.
What the College Coaches are Looking for in these Phone Calls:
Still Waiting for a Call or a Call from the School you like....
As Aaron Rodgers once profoundly said...R-E-L-A-X. Just because you did not receive a phone call or a phone call from the school you want on Sept. 1st does not mean you are doomed.
Steps to Take:
Communicate with Club Directors & Recruiting Coorindators:
Good Luck 2020's! But Remember this is just the beginning! Keep grinding and no matter if your the #1 recruit or just looking to find a spot. . .Be patient and work hard!
The uniform contest was one of the most rewarding and fun things we have done since our launch in June 2018!
We had 78 submissions for the best uniforms in the country and our group of 10 people here at U.S. Club Lacrosse narrowed it down to the Top 16.
After a week of instagram votes and hard fought battles and a grand total of 75K total votes, we crowned a champion of the 2018 Best Uniforms in Club Lacrosse, The LB3 Thunder out of Georgia.
Always remember there is always 2019 so get those uniform pictures together and we are already looking forward to next years edition of this contest!
Why Club Lacrosse is Good for the Game
Isn’t it funny when you say certain states, locations, towns that people automatically think that you were born with a lacrosse stick in your hand? I grew up in Hicksville, Long Island in the early 1990’s and the lacrosse landscape was entirely different than what I now know. Baseball was still king, no matter what many lacrosse phanatics want to say, and there was no such notion of this thing called “Club Lacrosse”. I remember my parents asking me in 3rd grade if I wanted to play lacrosse because that was the first year it was offered by my town. I loved sports and my friends were also doing it, so I was pretty psyched to try something new. What I always remember was the gear! (Now a staple in the lacrosse world but not back then!). I got my box helmet, a pair of shorts that could have been confused for a speedo, a jersey that was 2 sizes too big and felt like sandpaper on my skin. I also got my first stick, the STK excalibur, what a gem that thing was. I was so new to the sport I think I played my first year without a pocket. My mom and dad were from queens and brooklyn originally so what did they know about lacrosse sticks and my coach was a local firefighter who had a son on the team and may or may not have played lacrosse before. We played games against the towns surrounding us and I am almost certain it wasn’t the prettiest site for all our parents but man did we love it! We had a great group of friends and we continued to play throughout childhood every spring. Lacrosse was an innocent sport and so were we. Once lacrosse ended we were on to the next sport!
It wasn’t till high school, when I first heard of summer lacrosse. There was a league (Long Island guys, I am sure you still the have the T-shirt, as I sure do) 3 Village Lacrosse! Anybody who played high school lacrosse on Long Island in the 90’s knows and remembers this league. Town against town! This league was all about pride. Fights? Cheap Shots? Cursing matches between coaches? You name it, it was happening on those dirt fields.
This is where club lacrosse started! The pride factor of these summer games made some parents and coaches think. What if our players in our town stayed together longer and practiced more? We could start to catch up with the powerhouse programs on Long island such as, St. Anthony’s, Chaminade’s, Garden City and Ward Melville’s!
Essentially it all started out as an idea for the high school teams to get better and it slowly crept into the youth brackets. The 3rd grade inexperienced kid that I was, is almost out of luck in some of the competitive towns these days. 3, 4, 5 year olds are already learning skills that I don’t think I learned till 5th grade. For all the old timers that think they could compete in today’s lacrosse world, you are sorely mistaken. Club lacrosse has elevated game play to a level, never seen before. Now I am not saying, players from the past couldn’t play, but stick skills and IQ of these kids are off the charts!
A great example is how far college lacrosse has come. When I got to Siena College a Division 1 program, we had a player join the team, not even try out! The last time he had played lacrosse was as a junior on J.V. of his high school team and was cut from the Varsity program as a senior. We were in such dire need of bodies that he actually stayed on the team the whole year! Fast forward to today’s world, kids are doing prospect camps, year round training and trying out for four or five club teams to find the best fit for them to even have the opportunity to play at a school like Siena.
Do I miss the innocence of youth lacrosse and leagues like 3 Village? Of course I do, but for all the negativity that club lacrosse receives, the one thing that you can not deny is the fact that club lacrosse has elevated lacrosse game play to a level that many of us did not know was even capable. Any true lacrosse fan would appreciate the level of game play across the board and we have to thank Club Lacrosse for raising the bar of our sport.