According to the U.S. Lacrosse Foundation, lacrosse is the fastest-growing team sport in the country and now it has reached Magnolia.
In 2010, Magnolia Lacrosse head coach Mike Campbell took a handful of kids whom had never played the sport before and started a seventh grade team. In their first year, the team went to the playoffs, but lost in three overtimes with two players in the penalty box.
Fast forward three years later and the program has over 100 players on six teams. That seventh grade team is now a club at Magnolia High School and had an outstanding season -- finishing its inaugural junior varsity season undefeated in district play. Last season, the program expanded to include a fifth and sixth grade team called the Young Guns, as well as seventh and eighth grade teams. In 2012, Magnolia Lacrosse added two fourth grade and under teams.
With this type of momentum, Campbell looks to continue to build up the feeder youth programs and go to the varsity level next year.
The Magnolia Lacrosse Association has players from both sides of the Magnolia Independent School District and even has a player from Tomball and a home schooler. Because Magnolia Lacrosse Association competes in Texas High School Lacrosse League (THSLL) and the Greater Houston Youth Lacrosse Association (GHYLA), this allows them the flexibility to build their program from players from all over the area including home-schooled and private school students.
This fast paced sport combines some of the best aspects of other sports – speed, agility, athleticism, hand and eye coordination and power -- into one sport allowing players of all sizes and skill sets the ability to contribute.
One of the founding principles of The Magnolia Lacrosse Association is to make registration cost low so in order to not exclude interested families due to financial barriers. In 2011, the organization became an official 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and formalized a board of directors and bylaws to promote lacrosse in the Magnolia community. The Magnolia Lacrosse Association raised over $38,000, through donations, sponsorships and fundraising efforts, to help off-set the cost to all players.
“I will never forget the feeling I had on opening day of lacrosse season in January when I looked out over the MYFA fields and saw more than 100 boys, ages 8-16, practicing lacrosse,” Magnolia Lacrosse president Paula Bowman said. “The growth of this organization is a true testament to the talent and dedication of our head coach, Mike Campbell. We are excited to see what 2013 has in store and welcome the boys of our community to come see what this lacrosse stuff is all about! We hope our community will come out during the 2013 season to support the first ever Magnolia High School varsity club team.”
Bowman said that the sport is contagious and the growth is welcomed.
“The board recognizes that we are not a small organization any longer and has taken steps to put improvements in place for next season, such as online registration and online team store to accommodate and manage the sign-ups, funds and fan merchandize needs of the players and families,” Bowman said.
The Magnolia Lacrosse Association Board of Directors is preparing for another wave of growth this summer as the organization is offering summer instructional camps for new players who are interested in playing in the spring.
Summer camps are designed to allow boys to learn more about the basics and to see if lacrosse is a sport in which they would enjoy playing. Camp cost is $50 and includes a lacrosse stick and t-shirt. For more information on how to sign up for camp, visit www.magnolialax.com. You can also visit the website to find out more about Magnolia Lacrosse, sponsorship and advertizing opportunities as well as team rosters. The Magnolia Lacrosse Association also has a Facebook page.