From the CEO: And the Flywheel Churns

PHOTO BY MASON PERRICONE

"People like winners, and lacrosse is winning." — USA Lacrosse President/CEO Marc Riccio


This article appears in the September/October edition of USA Lacrosse Magazine. Join our momentum.

Prior to coming to USA Lacrosse in August 2021, I had the opportunity to work with early-stage and startup companies who approach their business and mission with new ideas and technologies. We can benefit from that entrepreneurial mindset.

These are my top five takeaways from my first year on the job:

1. Momentum matters and lacrosse has it. A dynamic, athletic and creative game anyone can play at any age. A powerful origin story as the Creator’s Game shared with us by Native Americans. Colleges and high schools across the U.S. adding programs. ESPN’s investment in the game and the elevated visibility. Three growing professional leagues. Consideration for inclusion in the LA28 Olympics. People like winners and lacrosse is winning.

2. We should all care about growth and access. A growing, diverse fan and player base means relevance and stability for the sport. The more stable a sport is, the more it can invest in access, which further strengthens stability. And the flywheel churns.







3. The game has grown up fast. With growth comes growing pains. Inconsistencies in the playing experience from region to region is one of those pains. Sometimes the games are fun, the rules are clear and the coaching is awesome. Unfortunately, sometimes it’s not. This is not good for growth and access. But it’s fixable. We can all take steps to make it easier for people to play. Simplify and harmonize rules where we can. Provide consistent field sizes. Support the officials. It’s in everyone’s best interest.

4. Innovation is necessary and good. The Premier Lacrosse League and Athletes Unlimited are recent examples of innovation bringing the game to more people. Other innovations include World Lacrosse Sixes as a discipline enabling potential Olympic inclusion and lowering the barrier to play at all levels. Technology advancements in equipment has led to more creative play. Small-sided play and USA Lacrosse Athlete Development provide better experiences for young players, improving retention. Mature sports like basketball and football have all innovated and evolved as technology, equipment, media and fan preferences change. Embrace innovation. It’s necessary to survive and comes with great opportunity.

5. We are stronger together. Sustainable growth and access come from the lacrosse community working together. We are more impactful and influential when we combine resources and coordinate strategies. The feedback from the lacrosse community to USA Lacrosse’s refocused message has been incredibly positive. Together we will exponentially grow participation and support smart commercial models that create sustainable, accessible lacrosse programs in all communities. Rising tides raise all boats. Let’s go lacrosse! 

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