About the PLA
The Philadelphia Lacrosse Association is a non-profit organization and the local chapter of US Lacrosse — a 501(c)(3) based in Baltimore that serves as the national governing body for the sport. The PLA supports and promotes the game of lacrosse at all levels in its chapter area, which includes Greater Philadelphia, Eastern Pennsylvania and portions of Central and Northern Pennsylvania.The PLA’s role is to encourage, foster and sponsor these developments and to serve as a resource to help the game take root and grow. The PLA Board includes both a Men’s and Women’s Division. The PLA’s governance structure provides for a forum in which representatives of organized lacrosse meet and share ideas and information about the game, upcoming events and other lacrosse-related matters. Ultimately, the organization fosters the formation and growth of lacrosse networks among the hundreds of coaches, parents, promoters, organizers and volunteers in the area who devote so much of their time and energy for the good of the game at the local level.
Representatives from major lacrosse constituencies in the region — youth, high school, college and club lacrosse coaches, referees, summer league organizers, parents and promoters, civic association volunteers — work through the PLA throughout the year to organize or sponsor youth clinics, coaching seminars, fundraising efforts, tournaments and other activities to further the PLA’s mission, including its New Start Program initiatives.
The PLA New Start Program
PLA New Start Program volunteers have worked diligently over the years to seed and cultivate youth, middle school and high school programs in the Delaware Valley, Central Pennsylvania and, more recently, the Lehigh Valley, Berks County, Northeastern Pennsylvania and the City of Philadelphia. The PLA continues to support Philadelphia middle school and high school teams, the latter of which are recognized PIAA sports. The number of youth programs and high schools fielding interscholastic lacrosse teams continues to grow, and the growth of the game at all levels in our Chapter region not only reflects the dedicated contributions of hundreds of lacrosse enthusiasts but represents, in part, the evolution of a process set in motion and supported by the PLA and US Lacrosse.
US Lacrosse Hall of Fame (Eastern Pennsylvania Chapter)
The PLA also maintains the Pennsylvania Lacrosse Hall of Fame, which honors the great players, coaches, officials, promoters and others, both men and women, who have made significant contributions to the game in Pennsylvania and are deserving of the highest recognition.
Lacrosse in the Chapter Area
Lacrosse in the PLA’s chapter area at all levels is thriving, dynamic and increasingly coordinated. The game is played at the youth level, in middle schools and high schools, at the college level, in travel programs and post-collegiate clubs and, since 1986, professionally. Lacrosse and its celebrated history as the Creator’s Game played by indigenous North Americans is also taught in physical education programs in lower, middle and upper schools in the state.
In 1998, after making an impressive debut the previous year as an exhibition novelty, lacrosse became an official sport in the Keystone Games — the annual summer sports festival that draws many of the finest youth and high school athletes in the Commonwealth to venues around Harrisburg for the chance to compete against the best in the state. Inclusion of lacrosse in the Keystone Games, which the PLA helped engineer, is just one of the many positive developments for the game in Pennsylvania.
School boards, athletic directors, youth associations, indoor sports facilities and others are increasingly recognizing the growth and popularity of the “fastest game on two feet.”
Formation and Growth of the PLA
The PLA was formed in 1985 and since that time has grown into one of the largest and most successful chapters of US Lacrosse. In 1998, the United States Women’s Lacrosse Association merged with and into US Lacrosse, and the USWLA’s Philadelphia District, which supported and promoted women’s lacrosse in the area, automatically became a part of the PLA. With this and other mergers, US Lacrosse and its chapters have helped consolidate numerous lacrosse constituencies and positioned America’s truly native game to break through in the sports world of the 21st Century.