SPARKS, Md. — USA Lacrosse, the governing body for the sport in the United States and a Recognized Sport Organization of the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee, has announced it is revamping its membership structure to best serve its more than 400,000 annual members and fulfill its mission with greater impact.
“We’ve spent considerable time studying our membership product over the past year. I’m confident these changes will improve the value we provide our members and allow us to better serve the sport,” said USA Lacrosse CEO Marc Riccio. “Membership is the cornerstone of our organization. It is the fuel that drives the sport’s growth since our inception. We’re excited to continue enhancing benefits and expand programming to meet the evolving needs of our members and the lacrosse community.”
Beginning November 1, all players aged 22 and under will be grouped into a singular category, combining the existing 6U, youth and high school categories. There will be separate categories for players, coaches, and officials above the age of 22. Additionally, a new fan membership category is being established for those individuals that want to stay connected to USA Lacrosse news and information, but are not actively participating in on-field activities. We are also developing a Program Leader membership for implementation in early 2024.
The pathways for the Coach and Official Education, Training, and Development Programs are being enhanced during this period and will be fully implemented by Jan. 1, 2024.
Further expanding USA Lacrosse’s commitment to player safety, the coach certification structure is changing from its current Level 1, 2 and 3 designations. All coach members will be certified at the bronze level and membership includes a free criminal background check and all required training courses (abuse prevention, cardiac care, concussion, cultural competency and rules test). Additional online training opportunities are available for coaches who wish to upgrade to the silver, gold and platinum levels. Existing Level 1 certified coaches will transferred to the Silver level, Level 2 certified coaches will be transferred to the Gold level and Level 3 certified coaches will be transferred to the Platinum level. Continuing education pathways with live Zoom sessions led by USA Lacrosse trainers and college coaches will also be available.
“We feel strongly that the baseline requirements included in the coach membership will help protect both the athletes and coaches,” said Caitlin Kelley, Senior Director, Sports Administration for USA Lacrosse. “We’re providing the tools and coach education to ensure a strong foundation for a quality player experience.”
The officials pathway will include a basic certification for all official members with requirements (online rules course, annual rules exam, annual professional development course, annual rules interpretation and USA Lacrosse-hosted town hall sessions) and a digital rulebook included in the membership fee.
The organization is also greatly expanding its educational offerings that can be accessed by upgrading to higher certification levels. The upgrades will include a suite of online courses and “office hours” featuring a live Q&A with a USA Lacrosse trainer. Continuing education pathways with live Zoom sessions led by USA Lacrosse trainers and college officials will also be available for purchase.
Along with these enhancements, there will be a dues increase for some membership categories. This is the first dues increase for the organization since 2017 and just the second in a decade despite a challenging economic market. The current youth member category will see an increase from $30 to $35 and the adult member categories will be increased from $55 to $60. There is no change for the existing high school member category.
“Through extensive member and non-member research, we’ve learned what types of benefits would be useful and provide engagement for us to better enhance benefits for all categories,” said Karen Krupka Smith, VP of Marketing and Membership for USA Lacrosse. “We’re excited to continue rolling these out to our members.”
USA Lacrosse benefits include a best-in-class insurance program and home delivery of USA Lacrosse Magazine. In addition to the print version of the magazine, the magazine website is currently undergoing a redesign that will include exclusive member-only content along with a member-only digital newsletter.
The organization is working toward expanding relationships with companies within the lacrosse community and outside to offer discounts and exclusive experiences for members. Member-only savings are also available through the USA Lacrosse Shop which has new merchandise to choose from. Members will now have a new option to upgrade their membership with a member-only limited-edition T-Shirt and sticker.
USA Lacrosse also provides a free age verification service for member players, allowing events and leagues to utilize age-based player segmentation to improve the integrity of competition, the quality of experience for all participants and player safety.
About USA Lacrosse
USA Lacrosse, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, is a Recognized Sport Organization of the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee. As the governing body of men’s and women’s lacrosse in the United States, USA Lacrosse leads the U.S. National Teams Program and establishes universal standards. With more than 400,000 members across the country, USA Lacrosse unites the community of players, coaches, officials, parents, and program leaders. Working together, we inspire participation, enrich the athlete experience, and support the growth of the sport. Learn more about the organization at www.usalacrosse.com and follow the latest news from the sport at www.usalaxmagazine.com