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What’s Next For Lacrosse

Lacrosse will be included in the LA28 Olympic Games – a development that is more than just a milestone, but pivotal turning point for an ascending global sport.  

The inclusion decision is igniting sparks of inspiration and potential, setting lacrosse on an exciting journey of innovation and development in the coming years. 

World Lacrosse CEO Jim Scherr reflected that the Olympics represent a catapult for the sport’s global growth.  

“The four years leading up to LA28 are pivotal,” said Scherr. “We are set to accelerate our efforts to attract new national teams, players, coaches and officials, particularly at a young age.” 

Scherr also underscored the development of the sixes discipline as a critical initiative.  

“We are working to further establish sixes as a global sport with grassroots participation, national championships and a world cup-style series,” said Scherr. “This format offers a dynamic and accessible pathway for growth.” 

The World Lacrosse Sixes Championships will be staged in 2026, with a Sixes World Series taking place annually across different continents. 

“We want the best product on the field and will work closely with national teams to ensure a qualification system that showcases the top teams in the LA Games for both men and women,” said Scherr. 

“We will grow sixes as a discipline, help our teams become more proficient at sixes and provide support for coaching, strategy and development to have as many competitive teams as possible in the discipline while also reducing the gap between elite and emerging nations,” added Scherr. 

World Lacrosse is also committed to expanding its global membership, with the aim to exceed 120 National Governing Bodies by 2028. Scherr believes the energy generated by inclusion in the Olympics will drive this growth and improve resources for existing members through attention and partnerships with National Olympic Committees and sport ministries. 

With the Olympics in the United States – one of the sport’s biggest superpowers – the opportunity for USA Lacrosse to continue its mission is also a key case of growth. 

“Now that lacrosse is officially part of the Olympics, our focus naturally turns to what’s next,” said USA Lacrosse CEO Marc Riccio. “The next five years present us with a golden opportunity to continue our 4M initiative, which stands for ‘More Players, More Places, More Programs and More Purpose.’ We aim to ensure that lacrosse’s success in the Olympics leaves a lasting legacy, not only in Southern California but throughout the entire nation.” 

The competition is an obvious focus for USA Lacrosse.  

“We are striving for competitive balance in both men’s and women’s sixes,” said Riccio. “Sixes brings added excitement for all and narrows existing gaps. We know there is more stress on us because we are successful, and we will work to develop a competitive advantage.” 

But beyond the national teams, the Olympics have a magical ability to turn the spotlight onto emerging sports.  

“Olympic sports typically experience a 15-25% surge in participation,” said Riccio. “The Games act as a catalyst, drawing more people into the world of lacrosse. We can introduce the game to new audiences and ignite their passion for it.” 

Development is at the heart of Riccio’s vision for the sport, especially in the context of the sixes discipline.  

“We are committed to expanding competitions and games in the sixes format, especially at the grassroots level. It serves as a vital pathway to engage more young players in the sport,” he stated. 

“Lacrosse is for everyone, irrespective of their background, including black, brown, white, Asian and Native American communities, which have deep historical connections to our sport,” said Riccio.” 

Riccio concluded: “Our North Star does not change, but this decision allows us to do things differently. We can be truly national as an organization and use more tools and resources to improve our position. This flywheel effect opens doors in visibility for us that leads to reinvestment into the game itself. 

“This game changes lives, and sport in America needs a strong pipeline. We want more kids playing and picking up a stick.” 

Scherr expects similar transformational growth across many NGBs as they work toward sixes development and aim to boost overall participation. 

For World Lacrosse specifically, Olympic inclusion, and the successful navigation of the process, which spanned over a decade, will hopefully give confidence to members and strengthen governance and brand recognition.  

“It gives us a better mandate to modernize governance structures, enforce higher standards and attract sponsors, donors and media attention,” said Scherr. 

All of these areas will matter and can enhance a successful qualification process and overall run-up to the Games in 2028. 

“Being a member of the Olympic family will also help our standing and relationships within this international family and with the International Olympic Committee,” added Scherr. 

Overall, the inclusion of lacrosse in the LA28 Olympics marks a monumental achievement for the sport.  

Across the sport’s community, leaders will look to secure a bright future for the game, globally and within their own spheres, so that generations to come can experience how lacrosse changes lives for themselves.  

As lacrosse charts its next steps, it is poised for growth, inclusivity and excellence on the global stage. The journey to Los Angeles 2028 has already expanded these pathways, but now, with a world of possibility open, LA28 can be just the beginning.  

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