Dear Lacrosse Community,
On January 11, 2023, the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) officially welcomed USA Lacrosse as a Recognized Sport Organization (RSO) in the Affiliates Organization Council (AOC).
So, what do these acronyms mean and how does it affect the sport of lacrosse?
First and foremost, this is a big deal I am really excited about!
To be clear, this does not mean lacrosse is in the Olympic games…yet. However, this does mean USA Lacrosse is now part of the United States Olympic and Paralympic family. The USOPC is responsible for supporting, entering, and overseeing U.S. teams for the Olympic Games and other international competitions. It also serves as the steward of the Olympic and Paralympic movements in the United States.
In a few ways, this announcement does not change our operation, though it comes at a momentous time. We are celebrating the 25th anniversary of our founding this year as the governing body for lacrosse in the United States. Simply put, USA Lacrosse is very well run. Being a governing body for a sport carries important responsibilities. First, we are a 501c3 organization. That’s a legal structure that simply means USA Lacrosse is a not-for-profit company operating much like a public company.
We are mandated by law to ensure all our revenues are spent back on our mission – we don’t hold profit like a private company might. Moreover, we are governed by a board of directors and operate via bylaws. We must ensure fiscal responsibility, transparency, fairness, and advocate for what is in the best interest of the sport, athletes, coaches, and officials.
We are also charged with fielding national teams in sanctioned international competition. This responsibility can only be done by USA Lacrosse – not any other entity. The U.S. National Team Program has won a record 33 world championships and we are proud of that success and the contributions of our outstanding athletes as ambassadors of the sport.
With that said, stepping into the USOPC family means so many more new and positive opportunities. USA Lacrosse will have access to unique information and resources that will provide an even better experience for USA Lacrosse members and the greater lacrosse community. It’s also symbolic of the rising stature of lacrosse in the United States. This is truly an unprecedented development for our sport and USA Lacrosse.
We will continue to lead the way in lacrosse safety, education, and high performance. When the athlete, parent, coach, or official, needs a trusted, unbiased answer, we are here. When someone needs a best-in-class resource or impartial advocate for the athlete – regardless of where they might be in their lacrosse life – USA Lacrosse will be here.
As a member of the USOPC family, we are uniquely positioned in the sport of lacrosse. We are held to a higher standard. This recognition solidifies USA Lacrosse as the leading trusted source for all things lacrosse. We are here to serve the game, USA Lacrosse members, and our national team athletes, coaches, and support staff.
I would like to personally thank the USA Lacrosse staff and volunteers who came before me – you made achieving this milestone a reality. To the 400,000+ annual members of USA Lacrosse, thank you. The future is bright.
To those of you who are not members yet – I encourage you to become a part of something bigger, something trusted, inspirational, and aspirational: the governing body for lacrosse in the United States. You can find more information here: https://www.usalacrosse.com/membership
If you would like to invest in the many programs that give the gift of lacrosse and change people’s lives, please contact me at MRiccio@USALacrosse.com
All the best,