Owned and operated by women, the United Women's Lacrosse League is launching the world's first ever women's professional lacrosse league this spring. This is a great opportunity for women to continue their playing career post college in a competitive environment.
Four teams are the building blocks to the league: Baltimore Ride, Boston Storm, Long Island Sound and Philadelphia Force.
With over 25 years of playing and coaching experience on her resume, Michele DeJuliis was named commissioner of the league. I asked her a few questions about UWLX. Here's what she had to say.
What does it mean to you and the sport of lacrosse to now have a competitive league for players to be part of post college?
I am thrilled to lead and help shape the future of the UWLX in its inaugural season. For most players their playing days come to an abrupt end before they are ready to say goodbye. This professional league changes all of that and provides an opportunity for our most outstanding players to continue to showcase their skills at the highest level of play and marketability.
With lacrosse being one of the fastest growing sports, if/how will this league bring exposure to parts of the country where lacrosse may not be as prevalent?
In our first year we have chosen venues that will immediately make an impact to non-traditional areas for lacrosse. The amount of teams that participate in most of the events are from all over the country. Exposing these young players to the excitement of the league will definitely get exposure and everyone talking right away.
UWLX is owned and operated by women. How important is this?
I think it’s important for women to support women. We are able to provide a new platform for women to showcase their skills as professional athletes but also provide opportunities for women in executive positions throughout the league.
As commissioner, what are your top three goals for this inaugural season?
I think it’s extremely important to increase the visibility of our sport. We did that by venue selection. Rules adjustments was the next goal…we want to increase the excitement and interest in our sport by making changes that will allow for more scoring and a faster pace of play. Lastly, growth and giving back is huge. We want to be committed to making an impact on the next generation of players by having our athletes interact personally and connecting with the fans of each city.
In just a few days, GM's and coaches will select their teams through the draft and then their schedule officially kicks off May 28th during the Final Four in PA. I am excited to see another avenue for women to play at an elite level, build community and be role models for not only our next generation but for all.