Newsome High School’s lacrosse program has seen outstanding team and player success over the last few years despite the pay-to-play obstacle facing the girls’ teams.
Assistant coach Matthew Proctor has helped foster the growth of the girls’ team over the past two years. This year, coach Gerrit Schafrath will step into the role of head coach.
Several of their athletes gained their foundation for lacrosse through youth recreational programs, such as the Coyotes Youth Lacrosse Program.
“From there, a lot of players move to travel programs for additional training, increased competition and national exposure,” Proctor said. “Some girls may travel two hours or more for practice with nationally recognized travel programs.”
Proctor credits much of the girls’ lacrosse success to his players’ commitment in the early stages of their athletic careers. Last season, Newsome lacrosse hosted its largest roster in the program’s history. Three athletes graduating in 2024 have already committed to NCAA Division I programs, and several others have committed to Division II, Division III and National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) schools.
“We would love to see more players at the youth level to continue to grow the sport at Newsome and other area schools, such as Durant and Bloomingdale,” Proctor said.
Despite Newsome’s success, girls’ lacrosse is a pay-to-play sport in Hillsborough County. Some costs, such as equipment, USA Lacrosse membership fees, referees and other essential elements to fielding a successful team, have increased significantly for Newsome.
“The cost can keep first-time players from trying out the sport and prevent some existing players from returning,” Proctor said.
To continue to field a team and keep the program alive, Newsome’s lacrosse team relies on fundraisers and advertisements. The team will host a clay shooting event at the end of March as well to raise funds for team needs. The athletes have begun selling team spirit shirts and sell advertisements to local businesses for home games to support the program. Sponsors can purchase banners and a mention at the games for their generosity.