A pioneering day for the sport of lacrosse is on tap for this Saturday, as the professional United Women’s Lacrosse League (UWLX) embarks upon its inaugural season of play at Goodman Stadium on the campus of Lehigh University. As we head into this pivotal chapter of women’s lacrosse, we are speaking with our UWLX head coaches to provide commentary and insight regarding the season. First up, we spoke with Boston Storm head coach Amy Patton.
“This is groundbreaking, honestly,” Patton remarked. “I never thought this would be happening in my lifetime. As I look at it, I feel both excited and grateful to be part of this. I am going to do as much as I can to help in getting the league off the ground and really generate some excitement for it. I have a little girl who is in the third grade. When I go and watch them play now, I can’t help but stop and think ‘Wow, what an amazing opportunity these women have.’ This is just incredible, and I am really psyched to be one of the coaches, as well as someone who has the chance to offer input and ideas for the league. I am just thrilled.”
The Boston Storm will be one of four clubs in the UWLX this season, joining the Baltimore Ride, Long Island Sound and Philadelphia Force. 20-player rosters were assembled through a player draft and then completed through a selection of players who were present at an all-team draft camp earlier this month at St. Joseph’s University. Each team consists of 17 active players and three reserves, presenting 80 professional opportunities for athletes that did not previously exist.
“The players are really excited,” Patton continued. “In a sense, we are treading into unchartered territory right now. As we make our way through this first season, with the rules being different and the game being so fast-paced, I would equate this as coaching one of the national teams. That is the level of performance that we are looking to put out there. I look at this as a chance for the players to come together and perform at a really high level. Coaching-wise, we have to manage them in the sense of knowing they are great players, which makes our jobs a little easier.”
While the competition will certainly be intense on the field, Patton sees the UWLX as a tremendous opportunity for the entire lacrosse community to unite and develop together.
“What we are really hoping for this season is great games,” she commented. “I want to see all of the players on all of the teams perform well. As coaches, we are excited to not only be coaching but to also exchange ideas with one another. We will be developing ourselves professionally, which will only further enhance the game. This is such a win-win situation for everyone involved.”
Patton has spent the past the past 23 seasons coaching at Dartmouth University, where her program has been a model of success and consistency. With 13 NCAA Tournament appearances, nine Ivy League championships and four NCAA Final Fours on her resume, she has long been considered one the most elite coaches in the nation. While that type of success proves an incredible ability to adapt and teach, she admits that bringing together a brand new roster like what she is doing with the Boston Storm will present an exciting new challenge.
“When putting together a group at any level, the first thing we have to do is make sure everyone is on the same page. It is never about any one person,” she stated. “The first thing we are going to try to do pretty quickly, and it will take a little bit of time, is try and get the players on the same page. They do not know each other very well yet, but we have to get them playing together. The quicker we can get them on the same page, playing for one another as well as with a lot of passion, desire and grit, the quicker things will come together for us. It will be a challenge, but it is one that I am more than excited to face. Each game, we are going to learn something. That is the way I am looking at it. As long as you have that kind of open mindset, it is going to be great.”
The inaugural United Women’s Lacrosse League season will officially start this Saturday, May 28th, with a pair of matches at Goodman Stadium, located on the campus of Lehigh University in Pennsylvania. In the first-ever league match, the Baltimore Ride will take on the Long Island Sound at 3:15 p.m., followed up by the Philadelphia Force against the Boston Storm at 5:00 p.m.
Season passes for the 2016 UWLX season are available now online and can be purchased for the low price of just $25. Season passes are good for all 16 games that the UWLX will play in 2016.
For more information on the United Women’s Lacrosse League, make sure to follow the league on Twitter and like our official Facebook page.