ALBANY, N.Y., June 21, 2019 — Many gathered at Albany High School yesterday to celebrate the launch of the Lacrosse Communities Project – a US Lacrosse program developed to create a vertically-integrated series of opportunities for children to participate in lacrosse from grade school through adulthood.

Joining US Lacrosse at the celebration were representatives from many organizations around the city of Albany, including Mayor Kathy Sheehan, City School District of Albany superintendent Kimberly Wilkins, and members of the Albany Police Athletic League.

“It’s a new day for lacrosse in Albany,” Mayor Sheehan said. “We have really committed ourselves to making sure every child in this city has access to this sport and that all opportunities are open for them.”

The initiative aims to expand the reach of US Lacrosse programs into underserved urban populations while propelling the organization’s mission of providing accessibility and opportunity for kids across the country.

“This initiative will open doors throughout Albany for all children to experience America’s first sport,” said Susie Chase, vice president of Partnerships and Philanthropy for US Lacrosse.

The Lacrosse Communities Project will began its multi-city rollout in Albany, with subsequent launches planned in Cleveland and Brooklyn, N.Y., for later this year.

Through strategic partnerships within each region, the Lacrosse Communities Project seeks to create self-sustaining, multi-generational lacrosse programs complete with cooperatively run clinics, feeder schools and recreational programs. The initiative also aims to inspire varied opportunities for players, coaches, officials and fans and the development of formal and informal networks to guide young people to continuing education and ultimately setting the state for gainful employment. The Lacrosse Communities Project also will ensure access to sports through the creation or renovation of athletic fields in select regions.

“This program will allow kids to reach their full potentials — personally, athletically, and academically,” said Mat Levine, founder of CityLax , a non-profit organization dedicated to growing lacrosse in New York City. CityLax uses a public-private partnership with the public school system and alliances with community-based organizations to develop the sport.

The Lacrosse Communities Project launched in Albany will serve as a pilot program beneficiary and work alongside the Albany Police Athletic League and Beverwyck Lacrosse, among others, to roll out and manage ongoing programming.

“The end goal of this program is not a Division I athlete,” Chase said. “It is to provide an explosion of stories of children whose lives were impacted by sport — especially by the sport of lacrosse.”

At the conclusion of the press conference announcing the implementation of the initiative, CityLax hosted an open skills clinic that was attended by more than 75 children between the ages of 5 and 18.