Next season, there will be nearly a dozen girls from one South Florida club that dot the rosters of college teams in the Northeast, Midwest and South. Many of these girls, from Caribbean and Central American immigrant families, did not begin playing lacrosse until reaching high school, and almost all attended public school in Broward County, recognized more for its beaches than its lacrosse tradition. 

Nevertheless, as members of the BC Blues lacrosse program, these girls have benefitted from opportunities created, in part, through US Lacrosse’s Urban Lacrosse Alliance (ULA). 

The BC Blues program was created in 2015 by Donna Rose, the diversity & inclusion chair for the South Florida Chapter of US Lacrosse, because she saw a need to provide a cost-sharing opportunity for a mostly non-traditional population of local players. 

“That’s the group we targeted because they can’t afford to pay $500 or more to play in tournaments,” Rose said. "But they love the game.”

The Blues, which draw players from several area high schools, have a fall and summer season, highlighted by an educational trip sandwiched around a recruiting tournament each summer. 

Next month, Rose is taking her team to the IWLCA’s Midwest Cup in Illinois. In addition to two days of competition on the field, her players will do a local college tour in order to be exposed to different higher education options.

BC Blues

“This is about more than lacrosse,” Rose said. “These girls are getting the experience of travelling, and understanding how to conduct themselves with composure and maturity. Many of them have never been on an airplane before.”

Resources provided through the Urban Lacrosse Alliance and the South Florida Chapter of US Lacrosse help to supplement the additional fundraising efforts conducted by the team to defray expenses.

Rose emphasizes that team members must meet year-round academic standards in order to be a part of the program. A nutrition and wellness component also supplements the on-field lacrosse training.

“We have girls that are seeking opportunities, and the support that we get from US Lacrosse is invaluable,” Rose said. “We’re trying to spread the word about the ULA program down here and help build a local network in South Florida.”

To be eligible for ULA consideration, existing organizations must provide lacrosse participation opportunities in which a majority of the participants are urban or underrepresented youth. Organizations must also provide participants with life skills enrichment (tutoring, mentorship, college guidance) and deliver their programming through experienced and committed leaders. 

Resources provided annually by US Lacrosse to ULA affiliates include lacrosse equipment, subsidized officials fees, and tournament registration assistance, among other things. The support provided is designed to be sufficiently flexible to enable applicants to address needs unique to their local lacrosse community.

A new ULA benefit being introduced this year is a first-ever affiliates conference, scheduled for August 5-6 at the US Lacrosse headquarters in Maryland. The two-day conference, open only to ULA member youth coaches and administrators, is designed to enhance networking and education opportunities. 

“I’m really excited for this event because it’s clear that people want to come together to learn and share,” Rose said. “Networking is everything. Borrowing ideas from others is invaluable. All of this doesn’t happen by itself.” 
 

Urban Lacrosse Alliance

Urban Lacrosse Alliance applications are being accepted through June 26, 2017.

Apply Today