Where is Lacrosse Played in the World? Best 2023 Facts!

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Lacrosse is one of the fastest-growing sports in the world, both recreationally and professionally.

From Canada to Japan, England to Australia – lacrosse is being played everywhere in some form or another! But what does international lacrosse look like?

Let's explore precisely that: Where is lacrosse played in the world - plus, find out some top 2023 facts you didn't know!


Take Away Key Points:

  • Lacrosse is a game played globally, with more than 69 countries across six continents
  • From its beginning to the modern version, the sport has been through significant changes, accepted by nations worldwide
  • There are various federations and officials responsible for each game type, with multiple international competitions

Where is Lacrosse Most Popular in the World? All You Need to Know

Lacrosse has been played in North America since its origin - the US and Canada. However, other countries have also developed lacrosse due to the overall concept of the sport.

International lacrosse is played in Australia, Europe, and East Asia. So, let's see some interesting facts about international lacrosse today.

1. A brief history overview

Lacrosse history begins in the 15th and 16th centuries when European settlers saw the first game of team sport. Native Americans played men's lacrosse.

Native Americans used two teams with the number of players exceeding 2000. The Caughnawaga Indians played lacrosse, and other Natives used the game for religious reasons. They called it Little brother of war, the Creator's Game, etc.

However, Jean de Brébeuf named it la crosse after the French word for the stick. And changed the rules first, as the play was sometimes deadly.

However, a Canadian dentist, William George Beers, founded Montreal Lacrosse Club in 1856 and changed the rules completely. He added protective gear to the lacrosse stick, reduced the number of players to twelve per two teams, and changed the ball to a small rubber ball. So, recreation became professional play.

Due to further changes in the 19th century to the present day, lacrosse is played in various world areas, and it has been an Olympic sport three times. Nowadays, its popularity is growing further, so let's see international lacrosse outside North America.

2. World Lacrosse

where is lacrosse most popular in the us

In 2008, the men's lacrosse international governing body - the International Lacrosse Federation, merged with the women's governing body - the International Federation of Women's Lacrosse Associations and formed the Federation of International Lacrosse.

However, the officials changed the name to World Lacrosse. The World Lacrosse currently has 62 members. The association strives to bring the play back to the Summer Olympics 2028.

World Lacrosse is in charge of five world championship tournaments:

- Men's World Lacrosse Championship

- Women's Lacrosse World Cup

- Box Lacrosse World Indoor Lacrosse Championship

- Under-19 World Lacrosse Championships for men and women

Each tournament takes place every four years.

a. World Lacrosse Championship

The World Lacrosse Championship was sponsored by the International Lacrosse Federation and started in 1968 as a four-team invitational tournament. Up to 1990, only Canada, England, the United States, and Australia had entered.

With the international expansion of the game, thirty-eight countries participated in the World Lacrosse Championship 2014. However, the United States has always been dominant. The USA lacrosse team has won nine of the twelve titles, with Canada winning the other three.

b. Women's Lacrosse World Cup

The Women's Lacrosse World Cup (WLWC) started in 1982. Team USA has won eight of the ten titles, while Team Australia won the other two. England and Canada would always finish their competition in the top five. In 2017, the championship was held in England with twenty-five participating countries.

c. World Indoor Lacrosse Championship

The World Indoor Lacrosse Championship (WILC) was first held in 2003 and featured six nations at four sites in Ontario. Canada won the championship by beating the Iroquois Nationals in the final game.

Onondaga Nation hosted the championship in 2007 and featured thirteen teams. Canada won all four gold medals, dominating the competition and never losing a game.

d. Iroquois Nationals

The Iroquois Nationals are the men's national team representing the Six Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy in international field lacrosse tournaments. The Six Nations team was admitted to the FIL in 1987. The team is the First Nations, sanctioned for international competition in any sport.

The Nationals took fourth place in 1998, 2002, and 2006 at WLC and third in 2014. In addition, the box lacrosse team won the silver medal in all four WILCs.

The Iroquois women's lacrosse team was admitted to the FIL as the Haudenosaunee Nationals in 2008. At the 2013 Women's Lacrosse World Cup, the women's lacrosse team took seventh place.

3. Best lacrosse countries outside the USA

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Lacrosse is a sport that has traditionally been popular in the United States, with professional leagues and scholastic teams competing at all levels. But the game is becoming increasingly prominent outside the USA.

The Asia Pacific Lacrosse Union was founded in 2004 by Hong Kong, Australia, Japan, and South Korea. The union currently has twelve members and holds the Asia Pacific Championship for both men's and women's teams every two years.

a. Lacrosse in Australia

Australia has developed an impressive reputation for lacrosse over the years, and the sport is picking up steam across the country. From professionals in local clubs to schools featuring teams of their own, many Aussies are taking up lacrosse and transforming it into a serious national pastime.

While Australians have a passion for traditional sports like rugby and cricket, lacrosse provides an opportunity to experience something new and exciting on the field. With its roots going back thousands of years, some experts believe that Australia's aboriginal people introduced the game to settlers who eventually passed along its growing popularity.

Australians take pride in developing their unique version of the game by mastering their technique, tactics, and style of play while wearing shorts, jerseys, and more. This pride continues to drive forward a new era where lacrosse will become entrenched in popular culture Down Under.

Australia is also making remarkable strides with its national program, winning numerous international tournaments since 2016.

b. Lacrosse In Japan

Further east, Japan has begun to make its mark in this fast-paced game by putting together competitive teams and championing ever-improving youth development systems. As a result, the future of lacrosse looks promising, with countries from around the world continuing to bring their expertise to the playing field.

Although lacrosse is still considered a relatively new sport in Japan - having only been introduced in the early 2000s - it has gained recognition as one of the fastest-growing sports across the country. In such a short time, there are already a handful of professional lacrosse teams with thousands of passionate fans attending games.

Furthermore, many universities and even elementary schools have incorporated lacrosse into their curriculum to encourage physical activity at all levels. It is fascinating to see how this dynamic and athletic game has become so popular within such a short period. We can only anticipate when Japan will continue to reach new heights in its lacrosse culture!

c. Lacrosse in South Korea

The sport of lacrosse is quickly gaining popularity in South Korea. With the help of international leagues such as the Korean Lacrosse Association, there has been a significant increase in both participation and interest in this dynamic, high-energy game.

Boys and girls of all ages can now develop their skills by attending training camps and leagues throughout the region. Meanwhile, college students are increasingly choosing to pursue lacrosse teams at their schools.

This shift has caused a swell of excitement for those who wish to compete and grow in the sport, allowing them to learn new techniques and strategies from world-renowned coaches and teammates. From beginners to highly skilled players, the future of lacrosse in South Korea looks bright.

4. Lacrosse in Europe

In 1995, the European Lacrosse Federation (ELF) was established. Lacrosse began as an official sport, and the organization held the first European Lacrosse Championships the same year.

The tournament was an annual event originally. However, today it is held every four years, in between FIL's men's and women's championships. Twelve men's and six women's teams played in the tournament, making it the biggest international lacrosse event of the year. The last men's tournament was in 2016, with twenty-four countries' participants. England won its ninth gold medal out of the ten tournaments played.

The last women's tournament was in 2015, when seventeen teams participated in the Czech Republic. Scotland won bronze, Wales silver, and England won its sixth gold medal. These three countries from Great Britain have dominated the women's competitions, with three medals since the tournament began in 1996. Currently, there are twenty-nine members of the ELF, making up the majority of nations in the FIL.

In addition, in 2017, the game was played in the World Games at the World Games held in Poland. Only women's teams participated in the competition. Canada lost to the United States, which won the gold medal. Australia won the bronze medal. The Haudenosaunee Nationals women's lacrosse team could not participate in the tournament.

In 2022, in Alabama, USA, the World Games featured both men's and women's tournaments consisting of the six vs. six versions of the game played on smaller fields.

a. Lacrosse in Great Britain

Lacrosse has become a popular sport in Great Britain in recent years. In 2018, the Brits hosted the FIL Men's World Lacrosse Championship, and they put on an impressive show. The performance was strong enough to qualify them for the 2022 World Games.

This has catalyzed growth within the sport as more people are being exposed to it, and a competitive GB team inspires more people to pursue lacrosse. They are now competing against top-level international opponents, which wasn't possible until recently.

As Great Britain continues to progress in their lacrosse game, we may even see them contend for a medal at a major championship at some point in the future.

b. Lacrosse in France

Lacrosse is one of the fastest-growing sports around the world, with France being no exception! This nation of proud sporting tradition has quickly become a major player in the game, with more and more people taking to the field.

From Paris to Marseille, men and women alike are picking up lacrosse sticks and joining teams to experience first-hand the fast-paced, physical thrill of this sport. French lacrosse has gained steady notoriety in continental Europe for its inclusive environment and high competitiveness.

Although relatively unknown compared to football or similar sports, it is only a matter of time until French lacrosse is on par with rankings within those other sports. Its growth should inspire other nations hoping to build and sustain their participation in the beautiful game of lacrosse.

c. Lacrosse in Spanish areas

Lacrosse is becoming increasingly popular in Spain, with teams rapidly forming in both public and private schools. Moreover, the Spanish Lacrosse Federation has made strides to promote the sport through sponsored tournaments, professional coaching, and more.

As a result of these efforts, the number of Spanish athletes playing lacrosse has grown substantially over the last decade.

With this increasing demand comes new opportunities for those interested in exploring it: some major program providers now offer an unparalleled lacrosse experience through their customized trips to destinations around Spain.

For athletes wishing to challenge themselves and explore the culture simultaneously, it's a great way to discover a different part of the world and a fascinating sport!

5. Other global lacrosse countries

Here are other countries where the sport gains more popularity.

a. Lacrosse in Canada

Canada stands out as having one of the leading national programs in lacrosse, boasting championships on both an amateur and professional level.

As one of Canada's most popular sports, lacrosse is often referred to as the national summer sport. Teams throughout the country play this intense and lively game that blends athleticism with strategy.

While popularity among adults has been increasing in recent years, the major focus is on youth, who start honing their skills at an age as young as four years old.

Lacrosse leagues are organized mainly by provincial governing bodies overseeing local teams and events and international tournaments featuring teams from several countries. The growth of lacrosse players and fans across Canada continues to give this sport an ever-increasing platform for success in recent years.

b. Lacrosse in Egypt

Lacrosse has become an increasingly popular sport in Egypt in recent years. Previously seen as a sport only of interest to foreigners living in the country, it has now spread and gained popularity among locals. As a result, not only is it now a well-known game, but also a growing competitive social pastime.

Though still not at the level of more traditional sports such as football, lacrosse teams can now be found across most cities and towns, making it easy for anybody interested to join up with one and try it.

On top of this, new initiatives are arising yearly to increase participation. With its increasing visibility and availability in Egypt, lacrosse looks set to continue its success story in the years ahead.

c. Mexican lacrosse players

Lacrosse is gaining popularity in Mexico as the sport draws interest from all corners of the globe. Much effort has been put into introducing and developing lacrosse in local communities throughout the country.

Youth programs have been established, supplying coaching and funding to aspiring young athletes to receive proper instruction in this unique and fast-paced sport. This, in turn, has brought a newfound enthusiasm to those children and their families. Some leagues have recently sprung up for adults who want to get involved with their newfound passion.

It is an incredibly gratifying experience for many people who previously had little knowledge about the game but now feel able to participate in it and enjoy it just like any other nation worldwide. All of this contributes towards lacrosse continuing its rise as one of the world's most popular sports.

6. Lacrosse inside the US borders

lacrosse is played in what countries

Various organizations are responsible for the men's lacrosse and women's lacrosse teams across the USA. The major associations include the MLL, PLL, NLL, and WCLA.

a. Major League Lacrosse

Major League Lacrosse, or MLL, is a professional outdoor lacrosse league consisting of six teams across the United States. Since its inception in 2001, the MLL has grown substantially and serves as the premier professional lacrosse league worldwide.

The league season runs from April to August, when teams compete for the Mann Cup trophy through fourteen total regular season games and two postseason rounds.

Unlike field lacrosse leagues before it, in MLL, players are paid salaries as they strive to create a fan-friendly game by implementing rule changes such as an increase in offensive possession time and shorter quarters.

However, as Paul Rabil founded the new PLL and proposed better conditions, the MLL merged with the PLL in 2021. Thus, they offer more exciting match-ups than ever before, looking to be one of the sport's fastest-growing leagues offering competitive action and innovation throughout its schedule.

b. Premier Lacrosse League

Premier Lacrosse League (PLL) is a professional lacrosse league that recently achieved breakthrough success. Founded in 2018, the PLL offers an unprecedented fan experience with its innovative rules and fast-paced style of play.

In addition to the traditional lacrosse box format, the PLL innovates by playing some games on a field with six short-sided goals, which allows for faster scoring and increased excitement for fans. Fans also can attend regional tournaments hosted by the PLL throughout the year rather than just following one team's season as in other sports leagues.

With talented athletes and experienced personnel leading each club, this revolutionary league promises to revolutionize how lacrosse is watched and enjoyed worldwide.

c. National Lacrosse League

The National Lacrosse League (NLL) is North America's premier professional box lacrosse league. The league consists of fifteen teams across Canada and the United States, and each team plays an 18-game regular season.

Box lacrosse is a variation of traditional field lacrosse played on a much smaller surface, typically contained within an indoor arena or hockey rink during NLL games.

Players wear protective pads and helmets to minimize physical contact as they battle for possession around the net. The NLL holds its Champions Cup every Spring to decide who will reign as the professional box lacrosse champion.

d. Women's Professional Lacrosse League

The Women's Professional Lacrosse League (WPLL) is an exciting professional sports league that offers talented female lacrosse players the chance to showcase their skills on a national stage.

Founded in 2018, WPLL consists of five teams across the United States and elite college-level international players. Not only does this league provide a unique opportunity for spectators to watch women's lacrosse at its finest, but it also serves as a beacon of empowerment for female athletes.

All WPLL players are expected to put their best foot forward on the field and strive for excellence off the field by engaging in activities such as leadership assistance, community service, and coaching initiatives.


What country is lacrosse most popular in?

The game is most popular in the USA and Canada.

How many countries play lacrosse?

There are 69 countries playing lacrosse on six continents.

Where is the lacrosse capital of the world?

Onondaga County is the lacrosse capital of the world.

Is there lacrosse in China?

Yes, the game is played in China as well.


Lacrosse is an international sport with a dedicated community of players and fans. The game has developed significantly over the years, but its core values remain the same; sportsmanship, skill, and respect for teammates and opponents.

From the welcoming camaraderie of the homegrown fields in the United States to tournaments across Europe and beyond, lacrosse has become an icon of athletic excellence worldwide.

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