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 each UWLX club to provide commentary and insight regarding the season. Since Philadelphia Force head coach Missy Doherty is just a bit tied up with trying to advance Penn State to the NCAA Championship Game at the moment, we spoke with Philadelphia General Manager Caitlin Jackson about the groundbreaking season ahead.
“This is very surreal just to have the opportunity for these athletes to play beyond college, especially those who may have retired from the U.S. system,” Jackson remarked. “I really think that has been one of the greatest things to see so far, having some of these players coming back to the game while they are still very capable players and some of the best in the country. Also, a lot of these younger players have been stepping up and doing whatever it takes to help us get off the ground. It has been really exciting to see the younger generation of our game hopping on board without falter.”
The Philadelphia Force will be one of four clubs in the UWLX this season, joining the Baltimore Ride, Boston Storm and Long Island Sound. 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 definitely wide-eyed, in a good way, and that has been really neat to see,” Jackson continued. “They are just so excited to get out there, and that is really all we can ask of them in this stage of our infancy. Every single player has been completely on board so far, always asking what they can do or how they can help promote the league. They are all in with the rest of us in doing anything they can to make this bigger and stronger.”
Beginning on Saturday with UWLX Opening Weekend, the Force will be serving as league host with games at neighboring Lehigh University on multiple occasions, something that Jackson considers a privilege for her organization.
“With us in Philadelphia, we are fortunate to host the most games that are on the schedule so far,” she confirmed. “It certainly comes with a lot of excitement, but also a lot of responsibility. We really want to make our backyard stand out in this first year and support the league wholeheartedly. Philly fans are definitely some good, loyal fans, so getting engrained in the culture here in Philadelphia is certainly one of our top organizational goals.”
In the first-ever UWLX match, the Baltimore Ride will take on the Long Island Sound this Saturday 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.