High school athletes interested in taking their game to the college level should consider a club lacrosse team or camp for visibility and recruitment, especially if you live outside of the Northeast. In addition to giving you an opportunity to perform and compete in front of potential recruiters, camp and club lacrosse coaches often network with their college-level counterparts, allowing them to advocate for interested players.
Lacrosse skills college recruiters look for include a playing style is well-rounded and versatile. You may have superb technique, but if you can’t execute a play, or maintain your stamina in a match, you may be passed over for consideration. Only the top 5% of men’s lacrosse players in the United States play Division 1 lacrosse on a scholarship.
Competition at both Division 1 and 2 colleges is high, and requires an athlete to be committed in the classroom as well as on the field. Athletic scholarships are not always available at Division 3 schools, so getting recruited at this level is also a challenge. However, the benefit of a Division 3 college is that it may offer better scholarship or financial aid options than Division 1 or 2 schools when you show a high aptitude for academics. Colleges with National Association of Intercollegiate Athletes, or NAIA, affiliations are often overlooked by high school athletes.
NAIA programs are comparable to NCAA Division 2 lacrosse schools, requiring prospective students to maintain a good GPA and show promising skills on the field. Kaiser University, a top-ranked NAIA school, also requires applicants to register for an “ELIGIBLE” determination with the PlayNAIA Eligibility Center (www.playnaia.org).
Registering for the NAIA improves your access to athletic scholarships, and shows prospective coaches that you are serious about lacrosse. There’s even a registration area for your parents who may want to learn more about the NAIA and its coaches, or set up a tour of college programs and campuses.