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BALTIMORE — US Lacrosse released its annual participation report today and the number of players on organized teams in 2014 was 772,772 an increase of 3.5 percent from 2013. Last year marked the 11th consecutive year that the net increase of players topped at least 20,000.
The largest segment of participation is at the youth level (under 15), with just under 425,000 participants. Both boys’ and girls’ youth lacrosse grew at rates of about five percent versus 2013 and New York (54,977) continues to have the most youth players.
At the high school level, lacrosse continues to be the fastest-growing sport in the nation. Just under 300,000 players competed on varsity, junior varsity, freshman and club teams. According to the National Federation of State High School Associations, from 2009 to 2014, a total of 551 schools added boys’ programs and 556 schools added girls’ programs. That resulted in a growth rate of 27.8 percent for boys’ lacrosse and 31.2 percent for girls’ lacrosse. No other sport had a growth rate above 10 percent.
Lacrosse is also experiencing solid growth at the collegiate level. A total of 39 schools added varsity programs in 2014 alone, including NCAA Division I men’s programs at Boston University, Furman, Monmouth and Richmond and women’s programs at Colorado, Elon, Mercer and Michigan.
In the NCAA from 2009 to 2014, men’s lacrosse grew at a rate of 37.3 percent and women’s lacrosse grew at a rate of 38.9 percent. Both of those figures were the highest among all NCAA sports in that time frame.
The growth of lacrosse on the international stage was also evident in 2014 as a record 38 nations competed in the Federation of International Lacrosse World Championship, hosted by US Lacrosse in Denver. Nine nations competed in the event for the first time, including Uganda, which became the first nation from Africa to compete in an international lacrosse championship.
US Lacrosse has produced a participation report annually since 2001, and over that time span the number of players has grown 204 percent, from 253,901 to 772,772. This survey counts only play on organized teams, and does not count leisure-time play of the sport.
The primary source of data for this report is provided by the 67 US Lacrosse regional chapters. Each chapter reports detailed participation at the youth level, and significant data is also obtained from US Lacrosse membership records, the National Collegiate Athletic Association, the National Federation of State High School Associations and LaxPower.com.
The full report is available for download on the US Lacrosse website.
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