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Historical Timeline

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Lacrosse is one of the fastest-growing team sports in the United States. Youth participation in the sport has grown over 138% since 2001 to nearly 300,000. No sport has grown faster at the high school level over the last 10 years and there are now an estimated 228,000 high school players.

Lacrosse is also the fastest-growing sport over the last six years at the NCAA level with 557 college teams in 2009, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There are more than 500 college club programs, including nearly 200 women’s teams that compete at the US Lacrosse Intercollegiate Associates level.

In the Hampton Roads area, our youth league has experienced a 20% annual growth over the past 3 years.

Historical Timeline

1636 – Jesuit Missionary Jean de Brebeuf is the first to document the game of lacrosse.

1794 – A match between the Seneca and Mohawks resulted in the creation of basic rules.

1834 – Caughnawaga Indians demonstrate the sport in Montreal. The game is reported by the newspaper and, for the first time, white men are interested in the sport.

1867 – Dr. William George Beers, the father of modern lacrosse, finalizes the first set of playing rules for the Montreal Club.

1876 – Queen Victoria watched and “endorsed” a lacrosse game in Windsor, England. New York University is the first college in the United States to establish a lacrosse team.

1881 – The first intercollegiate tournament is held at Westchester Polo Grounds in New York.

1890 – The first women’s lacrosse game is played at St. Leonard’s School in St. Andrew’s, Scotland.

1904 – Lacrosse is first played as an actual event in the Olympics in St. Louis, with Canada winning the gold medal. The United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse League is formed. Laurie D. Cox, William C. Schmeisser, and Charles Lattig form a committee to develop a uniform code of operation for college lacrosse and divide the colleges into north and south divisions.

1908 – Lacrosse is played for the last time as an actual Olympic event in London, and Canada again wins the gold medal.

1926 – Rosabelle Sinclair reestablishes women’s lacrosse in the United States when she starts a team at the Bryn Mawr School in Baltimore.

1931 – The United States Women’s Lacrosse Association (USWLA) is formed as the rule-making body for women’s lacrosse.

1933 – The USWLA holds its first national tournament in Greenwich, Conn.

1937 – Robert Pool introduces the first double-walled wooden stick, an early prototype for today’s plastic sticks.

1947 – The men’s field game positions change from goalkeeper, point, cover point, first defense, second defense, center, second attack, first attack, and in-home to goalkeeper, attack, midfield, and defense.

1959 – The Lacrosse Foundation is incorporated as the sport’s national development center and archive.

1967 – Coach Willis Bilderback of Navy wins his eighth consecutive intercollegiate title.

1971 – Men’s College lacrosse allies with the NCAA. The International Federation of Women’s Lacrosse Association (IFWLA) is founded.

1978 – The Lacrosse Foundation publishes the first issue of Lacrosse Magazine.

1982 – The first NCAA women’s championship is played at Trenton State University between the University of Massachusetts and Trenton State University.

1985 – The Rocky Mountain Lacrosse Foundation becomes the first of many regional chapters of The Lacrosse Foundation. The Japan Lacrosse Association is formed. The major Indoor Lacrosse League revives professional box lacrosse in Baltimore, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington.

1990 – Coach Roy Simmons, Jr. of Syracuse University is the first coach to win four NCAA titles.

1997 – The University of Maryland wins its fifth NCAA women’s championship. US Lacrosse is founded and incorporated as the national governing body of men’s and women’s lacrosse. On March 14, the new Lacrosse Museum and National Hall of Fame are rededicated, completing the expansion of the US Lacrosse headquarters.

2001 – The IFWLA World Cup is played in High Wycombe, England where the U.S. defeated Australia for the cup.

2002 – The International Lacrosse Federation World Championship is played in Perth, Australia. The U.S. defeats Canada for the championship.

2003 – The ILF and IFWLA U-19 World Championships are held in Towson, Maryland (U.S.) where the U.S. teams won both titles.

2005 – The IFWLA World Cup is played in Annapolis, Maryland (U.S.) and won by Australia, which defeated the U.S. 14-7 in the gold medal game.

2006 – The International Lacrosse Federation World Championship is played in London, Ontario (Canada). The Canadians win the title with a 15-10 victory over the U.S. in the gold medal game, snapping the American men’s 38-game winning streak, dating back to 1978.

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