The National Lacrosse League (NLL), the largest and most successful professional lacrosse property in the world, has announced a multi-year partnership with USBOXLA to continue growth on all game related matters at the grassroots level. The partnership will focus on the development of players, coaches, and officials as well as joint marketing and sponsorship ventures between the organizations.
“This grassroots partnership is very exciting for a variety of reasons,” said NLL Commissioner Nick Sakiewicz. “First, it brings together two leaders in the sport of lacrosse to execute initiatives aimed at player and referee development for future collegiate and NLL opportunities. Second, this enables us to combine the commercial assets from each of our organizations, fostering growth in the reach of our collective commercial businesses and leading to wider investment opportunities designed to grow and expand the sport.”
The league has a strong focus on growing relevance within the US and this partnership will help to further advance that initiative. USBOXLA will also aid in development with box play throughout the college landscape.
This summer, the National Collegiate Box Series will enter its third year with two leagues, the Colorado Collegiate Box Lacrosse League (CCBLL) and the Ohio Collegiate Box Lacrosse League (OCBLL). The NCBS will also unveil an expansion plan with developmental leagues and the NCBS College Classic Tournament to help kick start growth around the country. It will allow more American players to hone their skills before attempting to make the jump to the National Lacrosse League.
“For the most part, players in the USA play lacrosse for an opportunity to go to a great college,” said Matt Brown, USBOXLA co-founder, who also coaches at the University of Denver. “That’s been the end game, but there’s so much momentum in the NLL right now. Nick is doing an incredible job as Commissioner by bringing in strong ownership groups. The NLL is on a great path with even more expansion in the coming years and there are more and more elite NCAA players looking to continue their development and play with the best in the NLL.”
With over 24,000 USBOXLA members and events from coast to coast, there are more opportunities than ever before for Americans to play box. As the NLL continues to expand its footprint with both expansion and relevance, the youth market will remain a key focus. Over the last few years, box lacrosse has grown in the United States at an extremely fast rate and the development of American players, coaches and referees will allow the game to reach new heights.
The agreement will also shift the landscape for lacrosse officials by providing referees a direct path to the NLL. With 45 USBOXLA-sanctioned events scheduled this year and two leagues in the National Collegiate Box Series, there are numerous opportunities for prospective officials to gain valuable game knowledge and experience.
“The groundbreaking deal strengthens all of USBOXLA’s four pillars, which are referee, coach, player and game development,” said USBOXLA President Shaydon Santos. “It demonstrates our organizations’ commitment to providing a continuous avenue of development for not only players but coaches and referees as well.”
In 2017, USBOXLA refs began working the Jr. NLL Tournament and attending NLL’s referee training camp. This past season, Justin Kitashima became the first-ever USBOXLA-trained referee to work in a National Lacrosse League game. Now, with the two-year deal in place, Kitashima will become the norm instead of the exception.