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Archive for January 11, 2022

Jan. 11, 2022 — The geography of growth

If you’ve been reading this website for the last 23 years, one of the comparisons I always make is the march of territorial progress of field hockey and lacrosse in the American sporting landscape.

In the mid-1990s when this site got started, there were only six teams in the NCAA Division I women’s lacrosse tournament, and about a thousand varsity girls’ teams in American high schools. Today, there are 29 teams in the Division I bracket, and roughly 3,000 schools, public and private, participating in the sport, a 50 percent larger footprint than scholastic field hockey.

So, I found it interesting that World Lacrosse (formerly the Federation of International Lacrosse) yesterday decided to reassign hosting duties for the next men’s World Cup from British Columbia to San Diego.

San Diego — heck, California in general — has become a tremendous incubator of lacrosse talent in recent years. Carondelet (Calif.) has been one of the finest teams in the nation, and the leading scholastic scorer in America for a couple of seasons, Charlie Rudy, prepped at Novato (Calif.) before taking her talents to the University of Colorado.

Still, it’s amazing to see what’s happening when it comes to creating growth in lacrosse in the decade of the 2020s. The choice of San Diego for the men’s world championship in 2023 gives World Lacrosse an instant viewing platform for the sport to the International Olympic Committee a scant five years before the Los Angeles Olympics in 2028.

In addition, however, the people who are running lacrosse are badly outflanking the forces of field hockey, which have announced a handful of youth clinics in California, but have seen the number of scholastic and collegiate varsity teams stagnate in the runup to the Olympics.

Of course, it must be noted that the San Diego announcement is for the men’s lacrosse tournament next year. The women are still scheduled for a world-level tournament in and around Towson, Md. this summer.

Which of course begs the question: if Covid does not subside by the summertime, might we see a merged men’s and women’s event in San Diego in 2023?

It would be an interesting choice were that to happen.