Wall Street may want to take notice; those high-finance types just might learn something.
Crowd-funding? That’s for amateurs.
The Eden Prairie Lacrosse Association (EPLA) and the EPHS Girls’ Lacrosse Booster Club have discovered the best way to raise money for their program: have fun.
That was the strategy at the Land of 10,000 LAX tournament, an annual event, which attracts over 40 teams from schools all across the state.
Players came together on a beautiful Sunday in September for a day of friendly competition on the fields in and around Aerie Stadium on the Eden Prairie High School campus.
“It’s kind of our big fundraiser event,” Eden Prairie senior captain Lauren Rice said.
Rice is one of five senior captains who will lead the varsity team in the 2023-24 season.
“We raise so much money that we don’t have to do any other fundraising which is super nice. Instead of having to sell popcorn or sell ads or stuff,” she added.
The formula is simple, play lacrosse, have fun, raise money. Game over. The event, organized by a dedicated group of volunteers and parents, generates enough funding to sustain not just for the Eden Prairie High School teams for the season, but teams within the youth programs as well.
“I love it,” Eden Prairie senior captain Avery Wallace said. “It’s so nice because for high school soccer, you have to sell cookie dough and all this sort of stuff. And for this, we just have to come and play and it’s super nice.”
Each team has seven players on a side, rather than the standard 11 players, and play on a surface about half the size of a regulation field.
Larger schools, like Eden Prairie and Wayzata, fielded two teams for competition. The Eagles teams were deemed the “Black” squad and “Red” squad.
Eden Prairie “Black” was comprised of varsity players and finished 5-0 in the tournament.
“Everyone’s really competitive,” Wallace said. “So the play is really intense and everyone wants to win, so it’s really good competition.”
The Eden Prairie girls team was pretty competitive in 2023, making it to the section finals last season, where they lost to crosstown rival Chanhassen for the second straight season.
Despite the history between teams and players, there’s also camaraderie from summer leagues, in which players from across the metro compete among teams mixed with a variety of players from multiple schools.
“I play with a couple other people that go to different high schools, too,” Wallace said, referring to the Minnesota Elite summer league. “There’s Prior Lake, Chanhassen, Andover girls that we all play with. So it’s fun to see them here.”
Wallace’s sister, Josie Wallace, is also a senior captain for Eden Prairie. Both sisters also play varsity soccer and enjoy the autumnal lacrosse interlude in the middle of soccer season.
“It’s just nice to have like our sticks in our hands and still keeping with that momentum,” Josie Wallace said.
Also keeping that momentum were the volunteers who make the event possible, most of whom are devoted parents who began planning and organizing as far back as May.
Their contributions are not lost on the tournament participants.
“It’s super nice. I love it,” Rice said. “But it also goes out to all the parents who have done all this. My mom was one of the leaders for this and it was just a lot of work.
“And I know all these parents have dedicated so much time to it, and it’s really awesome.”
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