PROSPER — Texas lives for sports, and while football reigns supreme in Texas, a new sport is making a name for itself in Prosper: Lacrosse.
The Prosper Lacrosse team is currently in its fifth season, and has continued to grow each and every year. Under the new leadership of head coach John Moreno, the team has spent the entire fall semester preparing for their upcoming season in January.
“The culture of the Prosper Program has really changed,” Moreno said. “Kids today really want to go on and play at the collegiate level.”
Moreno grew up playing lacrosse, and continues to play in tournaments throughout the years. Aside from being the new head coach at Prosper, his main goal is to bring awareness to the community about the sport.
In his tenure, he has helped oversee several youth programs across North Texas, including areas like Highland Park and here in Prosper, and wants to see the sport continue to grow in the future.
But Prosper isn’t alone. High schools across the state are also creating lacrosse programs for players to start participating in as an alternative to the typical fall sports like football. According to the Texas High School Lacrosse League, teams continue to pop up across the state — the League has expanded from 90 teams to 163 since 2009.
Colleges are taking notice of this explosion of popularity and flocking to Texas to see what recruits have to offer for their programs. With the help of Moreno and Legends, Prosper hosted a recruiting event a few weekends ago that allowed college coaches to come work directly with the players. Athletes from all across the Dallas-Fort Worth area had the opportunity to showcase their skills and learn some new things from the collegiate coaches.
Shane Lynch, the head lacrosse coach at the Naval Academy, said this gives him the chance to check out players who are ready to play lacrosse at the next level.
“It’s an opportunity to come continue to coach and develop myself as a coach, but also watch these guys play and develop,” Lynch said. “You get to see who can help out programs at the college level in the future.”
Moreno says that his ultimate goal for the program is to build on the foundation that has been laid by previous coaches, and carry the team towards more championships. He also wants to encourage players of all ages to give the sport a try.
Players like freshman Parker Haven grew up in the Prosper Youth lacrosse program, and have benefited from learning the sport at an early age. Haven said that with Moreno’s leadership and guidance, the team will have more opportunities in the future.
“He’s got a lot of better connections with colleges and other high school programs and stuff like that, so I feel like he’s a great addition to the team,” he said. “I love Prosper Lacrosse. It’s kind of a close, family-type bond.”
The team has had a few scrimmages this fall semester, but as the year wraps up they will continue to prepare for their actual competition season, which is set to begin in January.