National lacrosse participation continued its upward trend in 2016 with the total number of participants on organized teams climbing past 825,000, according to an annual report produced by US Lacrosse. Overall, participation grew 3 percent to 826,023, and it was the 12th consecutive year that the net increase in players was at least 20,000.

The number of youth players topped 450,000 for the first time ever, and lacrosse continues to be the fastest-growing team sport at the high school and collegiate levels. Over the last five years, the number of schools sponsoring lacrosse at the high school level has risen 27 percent, and the number of NCAA schools sponsoring lacrosse has grown 33 percent.

In addition to the raw growth numbers, there were significant milestones in 2016, a year that saw US Lacrosse move into new headquarters to help the organization continue to serve the needs of a growing sport. Among the milestones:

  • Illinois voted to become the 21st state to have its high school athletics association adopt lacrosse as a full-championship sport (Utah followed suit with a vote earlier this year).
  • The United Women’s Lacrosse League, the first women’s professional league in the sport, played its first season in 2016.
  • Hampton University played its first varsity game, becoming the first historically black college and university (HBCU) to sponsor Division I men’s lacrosse since Morgan State in 1981.
  • The Lacrosse Sports Network, a 24-hour internet network, launched operations, giving the sport unprecedented coverage.

Since US Lacrosse first surveyed national lacrosse participation in 2001, the number of players has grown from just over 250,000 to the current total of 826,023, an increase of over 225 percent over a 15-year timeframe.

US Lacrosse uses data from the National Collegiate Athletic Association, the National Federation of State High School Associations,, reports compiled by US Lacrosse regional staff members, and its own membership records to produce this report.