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New pro women's lacrosse league puts control in players' hands

Athletes Unlimited begins play July 23
Alex Aust
Posted at 3:47 PM, Jul 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-01 18:00:13-04

BALTIMORE, Md. — Professional women’s lacrosse is back. This summer the best in the world will be playing right here in Maryland.

And it’s going to look a little bit different.

"We are so excited to get out there and throw the ball around and be in front of fans for the first time in a long time," said former Maryland Terrapin and national team member Alex Aust.

She is ready to put pro women’s lacrosse back on the map with the new Athletes Unlimited league.

"You are going to see a sport that you’ve seen but a lot faster and a lot more creative than we’ve ever seen it before," she added.

Athletes Unlimited starts playing at Maureen Hendricks Field in Boyds (Montgomery County) later this month. They will comprise the first pro women’s league since the Women’s Professional Lacrosse League shut down a year ago.

"You’re going to see current Team USA players. You’re going to see players that played with me in the 2017 World Cup," said Aust.

You will also see past pros and recent college all-stars. Only 18 players total will be on the field during the action on a smaller surface of 80-by-50 yards. That's reduced from the standard field size of 110-by-60 yards.

If you’re looking for a team to root for it’s going to be a challenge. That’s because there no teams… in the traditional sense.

"We don’t have any coaches. We don’t have any managers or owners of teams. Your destiny depends on how you play," said Aust.

Players will be re-drafted by four captains each week.

"It’s 56 of the best lacrosse players in the world who are all going out there to compete to be the champion at the end and the champion at the end is the person who scores the highest at the end of it. So, it’s very different."

It’s all about growing the game for the next generation.

"Having a young girl look at us and say, ‘I want to be like her one day’ is so important," said Aust. "I know growing up I didn’t even think professional lacrosse was a thing or an option and now seeing how far we’ve come and how far we can go is really exciting. I think it’s super important to basically make this so it can be a full-time profession for young girls when they are my age one day and they can be globally recognized and just continue to push the envelope for women’s sports in general."

The Athletes Unlimited season is set to run from July 23 to August 22.

Follow Shawn Stepner on Twitter @StepnerWMAR and Facebook