Levels of Lacrosse in SoCal

Understand the levels of lacrosse in Southern California.

As girls lacrosse continues to grow and improve in, and around, Orange County, the options are becoming more and more confusing.  Ultimately, every parent is looking for what is "best" for their daughter and every coach is thinking about what is "best" for their team.  NOC Lacrosse supports the "best", for the individual players and for each separate program, as one in the same.  One way to do this is to signify seasons and do our best to not overlap them, so players can potentially play "Select / National / Tier 1" or "Club / Regional / Tier 2" and for their "Community / High school / Tier 3" team simultaneously with minimal conflict. 

It is important to know that these terms defined as ""Community / High School / Tier 3", "Club / Regional / Tier 2" and "Select / National /Tier 1" are from the perspective of NOC.  Other programs may use these same terms in different ways. Hopefully over time, these, or similar, terms can be defined to be consistent amongst all programs in the area.  

NOC Lacrosse is a "Community Youth / High School / Tier 3" organization serving areas including, but not limited to, Anaheim, Anaheim Hills, Orange, Orange Hills, Yorba Linda, Placentia, Fullerton, Brea, and Corona.   

So Cal Express Girl's Lacrosse is both a "Club / Regional / Tier 2" and "Select / National / Tier 1" organization outreaching to collaborate with other community / high school programs to serve girls lacrosse players in, and around, all of Orange County. 

Here is information on the three levels of lacrosse that exist in the area that can help you as parents, and us, as coaches / program directors, work together to find the best fit for your daughter.   

NOC Lacrosse – "Tier 3 / Community Youth / Off season High School Teams & Leagues"  

High School: This is to provide a local option for local leagues in the "off season" (OC summer / fall leagues).  The goal for a high school "community team" is to provide local, hopefully low cost, no pressure, opportunities for players to improve.  This is something that your high school may provide.  If it does not, NOC would like to help players from areas where this opportunity does not exist.

Youth: Because there is currently only a youth "rec" league for winter and spring, "community" teams are meant to stick together to compete against other communities.  The "community" league should not have players from out of their area, unless a player does not have a program to play for in their area.  As the game is growing, it is not healthy for programs which operate as both a "community" team and "club" team, to have the "club" team compete in the "community league", unless, each and every player is from that community.  Even then, as more tournament options continue to present themselves, it may be healthier for higher level community teams to consider not joining the "community league".  The following programs are considered a "community" level program only: Wedge, Crush, Beach Cities, Beach, Pioneer, etc.  Now that NOC is working with So Cal Express to offer "Club" and "National" level teams as well, it is our goal to continue to operate as a "community team" for the "community league".      

It is the goal for NOC Lacrosse to form an in expensive, local to the Yorba Linda area, league of small sided (3v3 through 8v8) games to get more interest in the sport.

So Cal Express – "Club / Regional / Tier 2"

This level participates in Regional (to Southern California) tournaments only.  Other similar level "Club / Regional" teams in, or near, Orange County, LA, and San Diego are: West Coast Starz ("B" teams), Pacific Falcons ("B" teams), etc.  If you are not on these program's "A / Select / National / Tier 1" teams, you are participating at the "Club / Regional / Tier 2" level.  For programs that offer several levels of teams, it is important to know which team you are selected for before making a commitment to travel outside of your area for practices and spend a lot of money for something provided more locally. 

Some of the typical traits of HIGH SCHOOL players for the "Club / Regional / Tier 2" level are; (higher intermediate to advanced) mostly varsity players that are high level within their team, but maybe not for the most competitive team, or new players that have picked up the game extremely quick and; are falling in love with the game and want something more competitive than what their "Community / High school" team can offer alone, but have not made the commitment that "Select / National / Tier 1" level players AND families have made (see "Select / National / Tier 1").   "Club / Regional / Tier 2" players often turn into "Select / National / Tier 1" players over time.  "Club / Regional / Tier 2" is often coached with the specific intent of moving players to the "Select / National / Tier 1" level either individually, or as a team.  This means that players still need to make a commitment and prioritize their schedules for team events.  Theoretically, a well coached team in which all players show up to all practices and games will improve dramatically more than a team in which players are not all there all of the time.   

So Cal Express – "Select / National / Tier 1"

Currently, for a variety of reasons, some of the best high school players in Orange County are leaving OC to find the "ultimate" lacrosse experience, compete at national tournaments, and potentially get recruited by colleges.  One of the main reasons for this is that in the recent past, there were not enough experienced and dedicated girls' lacrosse players in OC to put together teams at every age group (separate grad year games are where most college coaches are at National level recruiting tournaments) to form quality teams that would compete in these tournaments and give a better chance of individual players to be recruited.  Fortunately, there are now enough experienced and dedicated players in the area and it is just a matter of getting the best players to stay together for one program in Orange County.    

Some of the typical traits of HIGH SCHOOL players for the "Select / National / Tier 1" level are; (advanced - very advanced) varsity players that are the top players on their (often most competitive) community / high school teams; they love running, working out and playing lacrosse on their own; they enjoy being coached at an intense level (thrive on, and understand, constructive criticism); are confident; and they prioritize lacrosse into their life while also keeping their grades up and not getting burned out.  These are usually players with specific intentions of playing lacrosse in college, and often at a high level of college lacrosse.  

Current high school "Select / National / Tier 1" level teams in the area include:  West Coast Starz ("A" teams), Pacific Falcons San Diego ("A" teams), Mad Dog ("A" teams), LA Wave ("A" teams, (but are not separated by grad year yet)), etc. So Cal Express Girl's plans to start offering National level teams in the Fall / Winter of 2018-19.  If you are NOT on these club's "A" teams, you are participating at the "Club / Regional / Tier 2" level.  For programs that offer several levels of teams, it is important to know which team you are selected for before making a commitment to travel outside of your area for practices and spend a lot of money for something provided more locally.  

Families also have to make the commitment, which includes getting their child to practices and may include such things as making lacrosse tournaments into family vacations, prioritizing money to support the expense of select teams and the travel that goes along with them, and feeling comfortable having players travel with teammates' families if needed financially, or alone with the team, if that is the structure of the organization.  Having said this, finances should never be a reason not to participate on a select level team if everything else aligns with this level of play.    

Overall, this level is a huge commitment that is not found too stressful for those that naturally fit this category because it is something they are simply committed to.