Where is Lacrosse Most Popular in the US? Find the Best Place to Play!

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Lacrosse is a sport that is growing in popularity in the United States. It is a fast-paced and exciting game that people of all ages can play.

There are many different places to play lacrosse in the US, but some locations are more popular than others.

In this blog post, we will take a look at where is lacrosse most popular in the US and what makes these locations great for playing the sport.


Take Away Key Points:

  • Lacrosse is gaining more popularity along with other sports - basketball, football, soccer, etc.
  • New York, Maryland, and Massachusetts are the three fundamental states offering everything to lacrosse
  • There are various high schools, colleges, and similar programs for young athletes to play professional games

Biggest Lacrosse States With Lacrosse Teams: The Ultimate List

If you've ever wondered how many people play lacrosse and the states where the sport is most popular, look at the data in the guide below to find all facts related to the lacrosse community.

1. The speedy growth of lacrosse popularity

Over the past decade, lacrosse has experienced a meteoric rise in popularity and is considered one of America's fastest-growing sports. Other sports with such growing popularity include soccer, with an enormous fan base, basketball, football, ice hockey, and baseball.

The sport of lacrosse has gone from an obscure past-time played mainly in parts of Canada and the Northeastern US to a fan favorite across the country. This can partially be attributed to several celebrity athletes, such as Paul Rabil, who have brought attention and visibility to the sport.

In addition, initiatives taken by leagues like Major League Lacrosse and Premier Lacrosse League and the media's increasing coverage of tournaments have highlighted lacrosse, opening up opportunities for players of all ages nationwide. With its fast-paced action, powerful hits of the lacrosse ball, and high-intensity rivalries, it's clear why lacrosse has caught such a huge fan base around the nation.

what state is lacrosse most popular in

2. Major League Lacrosse & its influence on youth to play lacrosse

Professional lacrosse leagues have been a critical force in driving the popularity of lacrosse. These allowed hardcore fans to watch the best players perform and inspired young athletes to aspire to high levels of play.

The Major Lacrosse League, founded in 1999, was widely recognized as the premier professional lacrosse league for men in North America. With teams from Massachusetts to Georgia, MLL gathered a passionate fanbase who follow weekly matchups enthusiastically.

By providing quality broadcasts and social media content throughout the season, MLL continued to expand its visibility among sports fans everywhere. As the interest and attention on lacrosse continue to rise with each following season, it's clear that major lacrosse leagues are having a profound effect in growing this beloved sport.

However, once the conditions for the sport and games became advanced, the MLL merged with the PLL by Paul Rabil, and today there is a new version of the PLL.

3. Lacrosse rules influencing the popularity of the game

As lacrosse needs two teams on the defensive and offensive side, and each team consists of twelve players, the game is fast-paced, similar to soccer, basketball, or football players. But, the team sport uses a lacrosse stick as the main tool to hit the lacrosse ball and score more points.

Moreover, it's safer than other contact sports, which is crucial to young athletes to prevent injuries. So, all this makes sense when one asks why team sport has gained so much popularity recently.

4. What state is high school lacrosse most popular in?

is lacrosse popular in america

Here are the top five states where the sport of lacrosse is the most popular in North America:

New York

New York produces the best lacrosse at all levels on the East Coast. The sport is famous across the state, especially in Westchester County and Long Island.

New York features the highest level of high school lacrosse program, with the men's and women's lacrosse players ranked as the best in the country.

New York has the largest number of boys (14,172 in 334 schools) and girls (11,964 in 314 schools) playing lacrosse, according to the database in the National Federation of State High School Associations.


With 10,189 boys and 9,840 girls playing high school lacrosse, California follows New York in high school players and high school lacrosse participation.

The state of California offers convenient climate elements and is ideal for playing lacrosse year-round. Thus, both field lacrosse and women's lacrosse show exponential growth in the popular sport.

The state also provides numerous college-level lacrosse programs, university lacrosse programs with competitive varsity, and different lacrosse clubs with a vast spectrum of both lacrosse types.

In addition, players can find various active adult leagues, and these are contributing factors to the growing demand for high school players.


With 8,777 boys and 8,585 girls, Massachusetts is the next most popular lacrosse state on the East Coast. The country provides different high school and college lacrosse projects, and these lacrosse players are some of the greatest across the United States.

Of course, Boston Cannons are the major lacrosse team, and some of the best lacrosse players of all time were part of the team and Major League Lacrosse.

Some of the biggest lacrosse names also work as instructors during the summer youth lacrosse camps in Massachusetts.

Various women's and men's lacrosse camps and extended-day and overnight programs are available for lacrosse players.


With 6,296 boys and 5,591 girls, Maryland is in fourth place among famous high school athletes.

Lacrosse and Maryland are closely connected, and the state offers various playing levels - from elementary to college lacrosse.

Since 2005, Johns Hopkins, the University of Maryland, and Loyola have all won the NCAA Men's Division I National Championship. So, high school lacrosse and later college lacrosse are among the best in the USA, if not the best.

The women's college lacrosse is also outstanding, as the University of Maryland has won four national titles since 2010 and championed for seven consecutive years, from 1995-2001.


Illinois has 4,340 boys and 2,950 girls playing lacrosse, based on the data collected by the National Federation. Illinois has produced more than 10,000 high school lacrosse players in recent years.

In addition, Northwestern University provides the best women's sports team, winning the national title seven out of eight years between 2055 and 2012.

College athletes make history with their advanced performance & superior game and enter the professional leagues.

5. Which US state has a tradition of playing lacrosse?

As lacrosse is one of the fastest-growing sports in North America, similar to American football, ice hockey in Canada, box lacrosse, etc. So, we need to take a step back and look at the game's history.

Europeans discovered lacrosse in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. However, Native Americans invented the game long before - around 1100 AD, and the first matches covered the areas of New York and Canadian borders. On the other hand, mid-west areas were also popular in lacrosse during those periods, so nowadays, various countries in those parts still cherish and develop the game's history, increasing the sport's popularity.

For this reason, New York is one of the states with the longest lacrosse tradition. The oldest US Lacrosse association is found in New York, with strong historical ties to the sport. To this day, a portion of upstate New York continues its tradition of playing this incredible game with teams in rural and urban areas.

Beyond New York, lacrosse clubs can be found across the US, including Maryland and Virginia - to name a few. As lacrosse's fanbase rapidly grows yearly, so does its cross-country presence.

However, another U.S. state, mainly known for its enthusiasm for lacrosse, is Maryland. Maryland was home to many Native Americans and their ongoing pursuits in cultural preservation.

In addition, Maryland has cultivated a strong lacrosse spirit that can be seen across many schools and communities in the state. With tournament and residency programs growing yearly, Gary Gait's Burnham Cup Lacrosse Series also drawing annual attention, and traditional teams dotting each county throughout Maryland, it's clear why this US state has become such a prominent force in American lacrosse tradition.

Lacrosse is also one of the fastest-growing sports in both Massachusetts and Virginia. The two states have had longstanding lacrosse rivalries, with teams often competing against one another.

In Massachusetts, lacrosse is well established in high schools, with most schools having teams; many colleges also field varsity lacrosse teams as well.

In Virginia, college lacrosse has grown strongly over the last few decades, and the competition among collegiate teams has particularly been fierce in the previous couple of years.

Despite the differences between cultures and customs, Massachusetts and Virginia had embraced lacrosse as part of their respective identities, maintaining a spirit of friendly competition that goes back to the days when first contact was made between Natives and Europeans.

6. Which state has the strongest lacrosse players and teams?

New York is the number #1 US state providing the strongest lacrosse teams and players in the National Lacrosse League. There are 346 men's lacrosse teams in the state of New York, as well as 97 women's sports programs.

There are fourteen NY lacrosse teams in the NCAA Men's Division I lacrosse category. The top five teams include:

- Army West Point

- Binghamton University

- Canisius College

- Colgate University

- Hobart College

However, many players switch to the NLL box lacrosse - another variant of the popular sport, to strengthen and improve their performance during the off-season.

In addition, high school athletes have multiple opportunities to choose various colleges and the most suitable team and play the sport professionally. The same goes for the women's variant of the game.

Maryland is the number #2 state with the strongest team and players. Maryland is widely known as the US state with some of the strongest collegiate lacrosse teams. Its most prominent field is Johns Hopkins University. At the university, high school players can meet some of the collegiate players, know the team and play professionally with other alumni.

Maryland has 170 lacrosse teams in the men's sport and 23 programs in women's lacrosse sport. High school players can choose among various clubs and start their professional collegiate career with the biggest current lacrosse stars.

Men's sports clubs play in all three NCAA Divisions, and the top teams include:

- University of Maryland - College Park

- Loyola University

- Johns Hopkins University

- Towson University

- University of Maryland - Baltimore County.

In 2017, the school had a record year by making its twelfth NCAA Division I tournament and sixth national championship game. The recent Blue Jay's successes did not stop there.

They have won three Division I titles since 2004 and were even listed as one of the most "dominant programs" by ESPN in 2019 over the last decade. Lacrosse has been featured at many other Maryland institutions as well.

The Navy captured two titles in 2004 and 2011, while Loyola University won its first Championship trophy in 2012. Thanks to these powerhouse schools, Maryland sports have some of the greatest talent and overall skill in lacrosse across the country.

7. Which states produce the most lacrosse legends?

where is lacrosse most popular in the world

Various US states are producing the greatest lacrosse players of all time. Number #1 is, of course, New York and Syracuse University, where multiple stars, including Gary Gait, Katie Rowan, Mike Powell, Roy Simmons Jr, Jim Brown, etc.

Then, in the second place, we can find Maryland with its Salisbury University, John Hopkins University, University of Maryland, and many others. Various lacrosse legends attended these universities, including Dave Pietramala, Jason Coffman, Frank Uro, Joe Walters, Harles Wicker, etc.

Finally, the third state is Massachusetts, with Boston University, the University of Massachusetts, and similar colleges. The best lacrosse legends include Paul Rabil, Scott Hiller, Dick Garber, Rus Kid, Mark Millon, Jim Weller, etc.

Frequently Asked Questions

What state is lacrosse most popular in?

Lacrosse is most popular in the state of New York, with the highest number of players in high schools and colleges.

What city is lacrosse most popular in?

Lacrosse is the most popular in the city of New York, followed by Boston, Baltimore, etc.

What state has the most lacrosse teams?

New York has the most lacrosse teams - 346 men's and 97 women's programs.

What is Americas #1 sport?

America's number #1 sport is American football.

Why is lacrosse so popular in North America?

Among the rules and concepts of the game, the inclusion of various participants is another reason why the sport is so popular. Various high schools, colleges, and elementary schools offer various training programs, camps, and similar projects to help young athletes know the game better.

Is lacrosse the fastest-growing sport?

Yes, currently, its popularity is growing in all parts of the world.

Why is lacrosse so big in Maryland?

Lacrosse is so big in Maryland thanks to its museum, Hall of Fame, and the fact that the first women's lacrosse team was established in 1926 in Baltimore. In addition, in the Olympic Games in 1928, John Hopkins University sent its team for victory. Of course, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Canada borders, and other northern areas were home to Native tribes who first played the game, so the tradition remain even today.

Final Words

Lacrosse is one of the oldest yet continuously played sports, and it is evident that its popularity only continues to grow. The sport has become an increasingly popular and diverse activity, with participation on the rise in many countries worldwide.

Though it initially originated as a Native American game, lacrosse has since been adapted to cater to modern-day society, now providing opportunities for others to have fun and stay fit.

So whether you're playing in a professional league or just having fun at home, the rules are simple and easy to understand!

Freddy Woods

Freddy is the heart and soul of Lacrosse Runner. As a former athlete, Freddy is very passionate about Lacrosse. He keeps up with the sport's changes and innovations and often tests the new equipment released by the leading manufacturers. Read more here