Professional women’s sports organization Athletes Unlimited is adding a lacrosse league to its offerings, it announced on Oct. 20.
The first season of the new league is planned to run from July 19 to Aug. 22, 2021, at a yet-to-be-determined site, beginning two days after the end of the 2021 World Lacrosse Women’s World Championship.
Prior to lacrosse’s launch, the organization is planning to debut volleyball as its second sport in February 2021.
As with softball, the first sport to launch under Athletes Unlimited, the lacrosse league will employ a fantasy sports approach to scoring. Individual athletes will earn points each week not only for being on the team that wins, but also for their individual performances. There will be a player leaderboard, and the top four players each week will serve as captains and draft new teams.
The Athletes Unlimited Lacrosse format will feature games with eight-minute quarters, 9v9 gameplay and a 60-second shot clock on an 80-yard by 50-yard field. The league will have 56 players divided into four teams of 14.
“Women’s lacrosse is one of the fastest growing sports in the United States and incredibly popular among young players and fans,” Athletes Unlimited CEO and co-founder Jon Patricof said in an announcement. “Our leagues are all about excitement, storytelling and fan engagement so lacrosse is the perfect addition to our network of pro sports leagues which already includes softball and indoor volleyball.”
So far, 21 athletes are confirmed to play, including U.S. National Team members Kayla Treanor, Michelle Tumolo, Meg Douty, Emily Parros, Caylee Waters and Amanda Johansen.
“We are thrilled lacrosse has been selected as the third pro sports league for Athletes Unlimited,” Tumolo, who is a member of the Athletes Unlimited Lacrosse Player Executive Committee, said. “We look forward to competing and showcasing our skills for fans of Athletes Unlimited around the world.”
Former CEO and founder of the Women’s Professional Lacrosse League Michele “DJ” Dejuliis is also joining the organization as a senior director of lacrosse to “help run the league.”
Athletes Unlimited played its first season of softball in August and September, with season two set to start in August 2021. The league featured 57 players in 30 games, all of which were broadcast or streamed globally on CBS Sports Network, ESPN or the Olympic Channel.
The league provided more than $1 million in compensation to the athletes who participated. Players were able to earn up to $35,000 with salary and bonuses, with a minimum of $10,000.