One year ago, we reported on the Southwest Titans lacrosse program for girls, just getting its start. Now they’ve wrapped up another season – with a winning record! – and want to get a jump on inviting new participants next year. They shared this update on their program and the sport in general:
Lacrosse for the last decade or so has been regarded as the fastest-growing sport in North America. A sport that’s mostly known for being played on the East Coast has exploded across the US. From 2001 to 2017, participation in the sport more than tripled, from roughly 250,000 players nationwide to well over 825,000. Specifically for girls from ages 5-14, participation more than doubled from 81,000 to nearly 164,000, and the Southwest Titans Girls Program helped contribute to those growth figures in 2018!
We started with a 10U program with 14 girls on the team from ages 7 – 10. After a successful inaugural season, we grew to a program of 26, fielding a 10U and 12U team for 2019, still with every girl coming from West Seattle (primarily Genesee Hill Elementary). For next year in 2020, we have hopes of expanding to having a team for girls as young as 5 and as old as 15. And our reach goal for a few years from now would be looking at potentially starting a high-school club program for the girls in 2022, so we are setting our sights on recruiting as much as we can, in preparation.
We start registration in late fall (November) and our optional preseason practices start up in February. Our preseason work is an hour long, up to 2x a week. Our official season begins in March for all our teams and wraps up the first weekend in June. We play games all across the county and really aim to build community, with carpools and snacks together after games. We offer scholarships for registration, have equipment rentals, and can/will provide equipment for any girl that needs it (no matter the reason). We practiced during the season this year at Pathfinder K-8 in Pigeon Point and played most home games at Steve Cox Memorial Park in White Center and will likely do the same in 2020.
8U (Grade K-2 or ages 5 to no older than 9 on 8/31/2020)
10U (Grades 3/4 or ages 8 to no older than 11 on 8/31/2020)
12U (Grades 5/6 or ages 10 to no older than 13 on 8/31/2020)
14U (Grades 7/8 or ages 11 to no older than 15 on 8/31/2020)
Girls’ lacrosse differs from the boys in that the girls’ game is more about finesse and speed. Girls have to use their stick skills and speed to get through traffic and stick checks from defenders but don’t have to worry about anyone lowering their shoulder to lay a hit. Girls are also taught to play defense a little more thoughtfully and with precision to avoid being yellow-carded for unsafe play; unlike the padded boys, girls can’t run in front of a shot or pass or use their body to impede a player or the ball. Both are amazing sports to watch/play but are night and day in how things unfold on the field.
Many women that played lacrosse also grew up playing soccer in the fall and basketball in the winter before lacrosse in the spring. We appreciate and strongly encourage multi-sport athletes in our program, as we know we could not be as successful as we have been without the athletic background our girls have. The transferability of skills and concepts helps develop a well-rounded athlete and really strengthens their “Sports IQ.”
That growth at the youth level over the years has led to a wave of competitive collegiate club programs being seen across the west coast. And as those club teams become more successful, more colleges are rewarded with NCAA-sanctioned Women’s Lacrosse teams.
We are a recreational program that is focused on just getting girls in the area to try something new (and hopefully fall in love with it). However, the expansion collegiately matters as it helps feed the growth cycle with players graduating and then transitioning to coaching and/or founding new teams so opportunities continue to arise for kids that are looking to play, no matter their age or desired level of competitiveness.
The photos in this story include the 3rd/4th-grade and 5th/6th-grade girls teams with the Titans; we caught up with them last week at the Pathfinder field on Pigeon Point. Find out more about the team, registration, season schedules, and more by going here.