About Warriors Lacrosse
The Warriors Lacrosse Club is a tax-exempt, 501(c)3, not-for-profit organization dedicated to promoting opportunities to learn and play lacrosse in central Virginia. The Club, which is entering into its 14th season, provides boys and girls in fifth through twelfth grades the opportunity to learn and play lacrosse through various programs including spring seasons, clinics, camps, and tournaments. Warriors Lacrosse now provides year-round lacrosse opportunities, including programs for the spring, summer, fall and winter.
In the fall of 2008 we changed our name from West End Lacrosse Club to Warriors Lacrosse Club to better illustrate our goal of growing the sport of lacrosse in all of Henrico County and metro-Richmond, not just the western portion of Henrico.
The History of the West End Lacrosse Club
The West End Lacrosse Club was founded in the spring of 1996 and has overcome some unfavorable conditions that limited that first season. The team, which only consisted of 13 players, practiced on the outfield section of the baseball field at Carver Elementary School. It was less than half the size of a regulation field and only provided enough space for one goal. The club, however, managed to schedule 4 games their first season, and fielded a team that was still learning the positions, skills, and the rules of the game. Patience prevailed, and the players gained a sense of accomplishment and overcame any notions that such humble beginnings spelled failure. Parents of the players were overwhelmed by the improvements the team had made during the course of the season, but didn't presume the program would continue. Continue it did. Working with Henrico County, the club was permitted use of the recreation field at the J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College campus. The number of participants increased by 50%, and the team was able to schedule 8 games at the junior varsity high school level. In 1997, the team managed to win its first contest in the history of the program. The club earned a name for itself in the Richmond lacrosse community as more than just an experiment. The next few seasons proved to be very successful. Each year more and more students participated and learned the game of lacrosse. Representatives from 8 different public schools in the Richmond area played for the club. The team steadily improved in caliber, followed by positive results. After a few seasons playing at the junior varsity level, the West End Lacrosse Club graduated to the varsity level in the 2000 season. The team faired very well and finished with a .500 winning percentage, the club's best season ever. The success of the program didn't stop there. In 2001, the Club expanded its program to the middle school level. Lacrosse was growing so rapidly in the area that there was enough interest in this younger age group to start a team. Teaching the game to younger students will allow those students to play longer, enabling them to develop better skills and to learn more about the sport. The following year, as this first group of middle school students entered into the ninth grade, another high school team was needed. In 2002, the West End Lacrosse Club added a junior varsity team, expanding the program to three separate teams with a total of 80 participants. These additional programs expose a greater number of people to lacrosse, which will help grow the sport.
That is the goal of The West End Lacrosse Club; to teach the game of lacrosse to students who wouldn't otherwise have the opportunity, and to help expand the sport of lacrosse in the Richmond area. Ultimately, the West End Lacrosse Club would like to get the sport of lacrosse into the public school systems in the Richmond Area as a fully sponsored, varsity school sport.
Great success has been made in this area within the Henrico County Public Schools. In 2007, the county school board gave approval for high schools to establish lacrosse clubs at the schools. The clubs are not considered a varsity sport, but the clubs do use the schools name, and players are awarded letters of participation and are recognized at school sports meetings, the same as other varsity sports. Currently in Henrico County, Deep Run, Freeman, and Godwin High Schools all have lacrosse club teams that compete each year. WELC had a part in helping grow the sport to a level that could support this many different clubs and teams at the high school level. Currently, West End Lacrosse is continuing to grow the sport by advertising and recruiting players from the remaining public schools that do not have established clubs, such as Tucker, Henrico, and Hermitage. Although the Club was founded in the western part of Henrico County, hence the name, the goal is to grow the sport throughout the county and the Richmond area.
The Future of the Warriors Lacrosse Club
The Warriors Lacrosse Club continues its original mission of promoting and growing the sport of lacrosse in the Richmond area. The Club has helped the sport get to the point where several public high schools now field club teams. WLC will continue this approach and try to develop club teams at other HCPS high schools. With further growth of school club teams, the Club hopes that the county will then approve lacrosse as a fully funded, varsity school sport.
WLC continues to provide opportunities for middle schoolers to learn and play lacrosse. This youth level program provides the groundwork for successful high school programs, and continued growth of the sport. The Club is also expanding to provide girls programs, including a middle school program in 2008, and a high school program in 2009. The high school clubs field boys and girls teams, so we need to provide the same opportunities and program for girls as well as boys.
As the sport continues to grow, and more teams and clubs are established, the Warriors Lacrosse Club continues to look for opportunities to serve the lacrosse community through various programs. WLC now sponsors a summer league youth program and a Fall Lax program that is open to all players and gives participants the chance to play year-round and really develop their skills. These are also great instructional programs for new players to learn the fundamentals and get some experience outside of the main, spring season. WLC also hosts tournaments throughout the year that is just another example of how the Club supports the lacrosse community and continues to promote the sport of lacrosse in Richmond.