Beginning Friday, 75 of the best high school girls’ lacrosse players from across 19 different states will gather at USA Lacrosse headquarters for a unique weekend of training and educational activities.
What makes this weekend so unique? Almost every participant, from coaches to officials to players, represents or supports lacrosse diversity.
Nation United, an organization committed to inspiring and showcasing diversity through elite level lacrosse, is hosting its fourth annual summit at USA Lacrosse, featuring an agenda loaded with on and off the field activities.
“We’re really excited that this initiative just keeps growing,” said Artie West, Nation United girls’ director, and coach. A former collegiate player at Towson University, she is committed to now creating opportunities for more girls of color to play at the college level.
Nation United utilizes an application process to help identify and select the most qualified players for the program. And while important, talent alone, says West, is not the sole criteria.
“We are certainly trying to identify girls that are actively playing at an elite level, but also, girls who are willing to be ambassadors for the game,” she said. “Everybody doesn’t have to be of color, but if you’re here, that means you promote and support what we’re doing.”
The 75 Nation United players encompass three teams based on graduation year – 2023, 2024, and 2025 – and all three will play games this weekend against established club teams representing Big 4 HHH, from Pennsylvania, and Maryland-based Hero’s Lacrosse.
Equally as important as the games and practices, all of the Nation United players will join the off-the-field educational sessions, which range from presentations about NIL (name, image and likeness) to branding and social media. A roundtable discussion about diversity and allyship is also part of the itinerary.
“We’re very intentional in scheduling time for these players to spend time together,” West said. “For us, this is an opportunity to build friendships and a sisterhood among these athletes.”
Nine games, all at USA Lacrosse’s Tierney Field, are scheduled, beginning at 5 p.m. Saturday, and again at 8 a.m. Sunday. The games are open to the public, free of charge, and will feature high-level talent across the board.
“All of our 2023 team members, except for one at this point, have already committed to college programs,” West said. “We just love having the opportunity to bring these outstanding players together. We want to continue to showcase the diversity aspect of this game.”
|Saturday, October 1|
|5:00 PM||BIG 4 HHH 24 vs. NATION UNITED 24|
|6:00 PM||BIG 4 HHH 24 vs. NATION UNITED 23|
|7:00 PM||BIG 4HHH 25 vs. HEROS 25 (green)|
|8:00 PM||NATION UNITED 25 vs. HEROS 25 (white)|
|Sunday, October 2|
|8:00 AM||NATION UNITED 25 vs. BIG 4 HHH 25|
|9:00 AM||NATION UNITED 24 vs. HEROS 25 (green)|
|10:00 AM||BIG 4 HHH 25 vs. HEROS 25 (white)|
|11:00 AM||NATION UNITED 23 vs. HEROS 24|
|12:00 PM||BIG 4 HHH 24 vs. HEROS 24|
|1:00 PM||Closing Ceremony|