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If you’re seriously interested in pursuing lacrosse at a junior college, university, or even the professional level, it’s important to realize from the outset that only a very slim percentage of players are actively sought out by junior college coaches. Unless you fall into that elite top 2%, you will have to put in a great deal of personal time and effort in order to land a recruiting spot.
Primarily, this means you need to take your recruiting into your own hands. Contact the lacrosse coaches of the schools you’re interested in, and tell them explicitly what you have to offer that particular lacrosse program. Do your research. Find out what schools need a player with your skill set and strengths, and use that to your advantage. Additionally, create a personal recruiting video, assemble a résumé, and attend any relevant lacrosse camps.
Don’t forget that junior college coaches simply don’t have the same budget available to them as NCAA and NAIA coaches. Since the coaches don’t have the funds to actively recruit, it’s essential that you are as proactive as possible.
The best time to start your recruiting activity is in the summer. Keep up your endurance and skill training, and make sure to attend lacrosse camps when they become available. However, don’t simply sign up and hope to be discovered. Contact the coaches prior to attending, because the majority of coaches are at these events to appraise the talent of people they’ve already been dealing with through email or over the phone. Very few coaches will simply attend in hopes of finding promising talent or prospects. As with anything, do an adequate amount of research beforehand. There’s no use attending a low quality instructional camp without the active guidance of college level lacrosse coaches.
When it comes to scholarships, remember that a full ride is particularly difficult to obtain in lacrosse. Generally speaking, only the very elite and top ranked athletes across the nation secure those scholarships. There is, however, a much better chance of earning a partial scholarship. There are also plenty of walk-on spots for interested and skilled players. It’s important to keep in mind, though, that scholarships are awarded on a year to year basis rather than through a four-year agreement. So if you’re not able to secure a scholarship your first year, keep searching, applying, and trying for scholarships in subsequent years.
There are currently twenty-six colleges offering lacrosse scholarships to men and eleven to women at the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) level. Coaches are allowed to divide the available scholarships among as many players as he or she sees fit.
Also, keep in mind that the number of scholarships can be limited. The NJCAA only allows twenty full-ride scholarships per school. Some partial scholarships are available, but you will have to put in the research of individual schools to get the specifics.
As a point of comparison, the NCAA (across Division I, II, and III) has 290 male lacrosse programs and 335 female lacrosse programs.
Lastly, don’t forget that there are some major benefits to attending a junior college prior to a four-year university. This is especially true if you weren’t pleased with your academic performance in high school. Community colleges are an amazing way to boost your GPA before applying to a four-year university, all while earning credits towards that university. Just make sure you’re attending a school with a competitive lacrosse team. Even the most impressive individual statistics are necessarily going to mean less coming from a subpar team.