AU Lacrosse competes in front of packed crowd at exhibition game

© Athletes Unlimited, LLC 2023 / Credit: Josie Rohach
Savanna Collins
Nov 30, 2023

Players and parents began claiming seats in the bleachers long before the latest Athletes Unlimited Pro Lacrosse Exhibition game. By the time the pros took the field at Premier Sports Campus in Lakewood Ranch, Fla. it was standing-room only.

High school lacrosse athletes from around the country traveled to compete at the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA) Presidents Cup where AU Pro Lacrosse hosted an exhibition game presented by Nike.

“Events like this are so awesome because it’s organic,” Abi Jackson, AU director of sports for lacrosse, said. “You don’t know who is going to be there especially when it’s not a ticketed event. You don’t know how many people are going to show up but when people started filing in and sitting in the seats at six I was like, ‘This is going to be great.'”

“I think it shows our growth, I think it shows the interest that people have, I think it shows the growth overall of the sport and how invested people are – dads, moms, kids at every level – to see the pinnacle of the sport and where it could go in the future,” Jackson added.

AU had a booth amongst the vendors throughout the day to connect with young lacrosse players on the grassroots level doing giveaways and signing autographs.

Lindsey McKone, chairperson of the Lacrosse Player Executive Committee, expressed the importance of the league having a presence at events like the Presidents Cup to increase familiarity with AU and grow the fandom.

“It’s a testament to growing the game,” McKone said. “We’re always trying to go to new places and be around new crowds. Playing in a tournament, in particular, you’re bringing in people who have never seen us play in person before. I think that was evident in the amount of people who showed up today.”

The fandom that has grown in three years for the league was obvious postgame in the autograph lines. Young players wrapped around the fence line to meet their favorite pros.

Fans crowded and screamed for a chance to meet the back-to-back AU Pro Lacrosse champion, Taylor Moreno.

“I think it gives these young kids something else to look up to and something else to aspire to,” Moreno said.

For herself and pro teammates, they grew up with eyes on the U.S. Women’s National Team but didn’t have a stable pro league to watch.

“To realize there’s a professional league where you can be in a position to play the sport at the highest level [not just] every four years I think is a great opportunity for all these young kids to reimagine what their future looks like in the sport,” Moreno said.


Savanna Collins is the Digital Media Reporter at Athletes Unlimited. You can follow her on Twitter @savannaecollins.

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