PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — State high school lacrosse semi finals are coming up this Wednesday, June 1 and even the top teams are having a tough time finding support.
Lacrosse is a club sport in Oregon, meaning it doesn’t get the funding that state-sponsored sports get.
Bidnam Lee, entering his fourth season as head varsity lacrosse coach at Beaverton High School, talked about the challenges they face, even as the top team in Oregon.
“We carpool to games,” Lee said. “It’s hard getting the field sometimes. We don’t get locker rooms. Things like that.”
The Beavers won the metro conference with a perfect 10-0 record. There’s no question that Lee has found a lot of success in a club sport that doesn’t get the funding or support from the state like other sports.
“There’s pros and cons to it. The pros, obviously, funding from the school and being an OSAA sport,” Lee said. “Facility use and all the stuff that comes with that is hard to come by at times as a club sport.”
Being a club sport means the players’ parents have to pay for most of their gear.
“If we were a sanctioned sport, then the school can help out getting kids gear, allowing more people to play. Just to make it easier,” said defender Evan Barnard.
The team wants to make lacrosse more popular in Oregon.
“We help youth to try to just grow the game in the state,” goalie Kyler Banks said. “Eventually, if it just keeps growing, I feel like OSAA will pick it up soon because it’s getting pretty big over here on the West Coast.”
Lacrosse has been growing and not just in the Portland metro area, but the state too. The Oregon High School Lacrosse Association has 50 varsity teams.
Lee says changing things off the field has been the key to success.
“Because we are a club we ran it as a non profit and we kind of ran it that way, making sure our core mission was there, our values were there and really try and engage the community,” Lee said.
“When you invest in culture and you try and get people engaged and invested in that, it kind of turns into a winning culture,” Lee said.
There has been a lot of talk about making lacrosse and OSAA sanctioned sport, but the state hasn’t made a final decision yet.