The “Ground Ball” Scoop on the Lacrosse Recruitment Process


Courtesy of Carlisle West ‘21

Carlisle West ‘21, Staff Writer

For the past nine years, I have been a dedicated defender on my club lacrosse team, the Los Angeles Aces; tournaments, game strategies, cleats, and goggles have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. Growing up, I only saw college lacrosse as a fantasy; but as I evolved from a girl who looked up to her college lacrosse heroes and held a lacrosse stick twice as tall as her, to a teenager on the edge of college herself, I wondered if I could follow in the footsteps of some of the most amazing lacrosse players and make my dream a reality. I contacted my club lacrosse coach, and asked her if:

  1. I honestly had a shot at making a college team, and
  2. What steps would need to be taken to ensure success in the process.

She explained to me that recruitment was possible, and even though I was only going into my sophomore year, I was already behind in the process. Most girls decide to enter the recruitment process going into their eighth grade or freshman year. Therefore, I knew that I would have to work efficiently in order to catch up and establish a place for myself in the world of aspiring collegiate lacrosse athletes.

Currently, there are over 400 women’s college lacrosse programs in the United States registered within the NCAA. Along with these programs, there are hundreds of more private and club lacrosse programs. These programs can be found in colleges all around the country, from liberal arts to Jesuits and East Coast to West Coast. Every year, more colleges add these programs to their athletics, inspiring more female, high school students to take their “shot” at getting recruited. You might think it’s easy to get recruited for lacrosse, considering how many programs are offered in college, but I can promise you that tireless effort and dedication is the only way to achieve your desired reward.

So How Does The Recruiting Process Work?

There are MANY steps that go into the process, but I will break it down so that it’s easier to understand. Let’s call the main stages in the recruiting timeline the Beginning, Middle, and End. In between these stages, I will highlight important steps that come in these periods of time.

The Beginning: The Beginning marks a lacrosse player’s decision to play lacrosse in college. As I said before, I started the process later, therefore prompting the beginning of the process to go much faster. In the beginning, I had to record and declare my desire to play lacrosse in college. In order to do this, I had to:

  • Register in the NCAA “Clearinghouse” and start setting up my profile: If you’re not sure what a recruiting profile looks like, imagine your Instagram profile with a tint of athletics included. I have profiles on two major recruiting websites. My portfolio basically charts everything about myself, my academics, and my sport.

As a player, I want to constantly refresh my profile and make it as up-to-date as possible. The quicker I do this, the better chance coaches will see me.

  • Start looking at schools, and filling out questionnaires: As a collegiate athlete, I always run the risk of getting injured; therefore, I also look at a school’s academics, culture, and lacrosse team environment to ensure that I love the school for what else it has to offer, in case of a sudden injury. Almost every NCAA college website has a lacrosse questionnaire that asks personal questions about myself. Once I press submit, these questionnaires register within the coach’s recruitment system. While some of them are lengthy, I find it rewarding to complete these right away.
  • Start contacting coaches: According to NCAA guidelines for lacrosse, college coaches can’t contact prospective athletes, but athletes can contact coaches. I frequently send emails, and although most of the time coaches don’t respond, I want to put my name out there.

The Middle: Now that I have successfully started my profile and made my name familiar to multiple coaches, the time entering/during my junior year is utilized to showcase my abilities and encourage college coaches to further pursue me. In order to do this, I must first put myself in front of these coaches and continue to build my profile.

  • Narrow it down: Now is the time to create a realistic and ideal list of 10 to 15 schools that would work for me and would be interested in me as a player.

The best advocate besides my parents and my college advisor is myself. I trust myself in finding the right school that would work for me. Trust your instincts.

  • Start visiting schools you would be interested in: While this is time-consuming, it definitely helps me find the most appealing locations for my college education. As I am interested in more East Coast schools than West Coast schools, this travel is extremely hard, considering I have had to fly 3,000 miles multiple times a month to visit potential schools.
  • Attend camps, clinics, and tournaments of schools:

Although these are exhausting and challenge my body, they are unbelievably important. For the next six months, I have about five camps/clinics each month, three tournaments, twenty flights, and excruciating knee pain.

  • Train, train, train, and be cautious, cautious, cautious: I have learned to take advantage of the outdoors to do my exercise, and without it, I would not be in the physical form I am in today. I continue working with trainers, coaches, and doing my regular workout; however, I try to be cautious, and try not to tear anything or injure myself. I do recovery stretches after every workout, and use foam rollers or other techniques to prevent injury.
  • Planning, Not Procrastinating: With always being on the go all year round, work is very hard to balance. Google Calendar and Todoist are my best friends, and I try my best to balance work and practice. Quite literally, time is of the essence, but don’t forget to sleep!

The End: The time has come where offers are rolling in like it’s payday, and you don’t know what to do about them! In order to sign the blank space for your dream place with a smile on your face, you must:

  • Organize your offers: The offers might be overwhelming, but do not fret! Contact the coaches first, and have a conversation about their team and their work ethic. As for the colleges you find you are not interested in, turn them down politely and as quickly as possible. Other people might find that school their dream school, and you might be holding on to a dream you do not want. Be considerate!
  • Get cleared, and sign that letter of intent!: All that’s left to do is commit! Usually this begins with a verbal commitment, and then a National Letter of Intent to play once you are a Senior! If you keep working hard, the rest is history!

So congrats! You made it to the end. The work and process is hard, but it is beyond rewarding. It is up to you how you want to write your future!

Think you can handle the pressure of recruitment? Yay or neigh? Well, I will be sure to tell you once I’m recruited next year!