There was a void for US Lacrosse in the eyes of Natalie Wills. All she wanted to do was fill it.
As the National Team Development Program senior manager and creator, Wills wanted to get the sport up to speed with many others in this country. She had a vision for the future, and right now, she is in the process of seeing it to fruition.
Recently, US Lacrosse named 21 girls and boys with New England ties to the U15 and U17 development programs. Before that, the youngest the process went was for the U19 teams. US Lacrosse also has senior teams for men and women, and an indoor team.
"(The U15 and U17 teams are) intended to be more or less a feeder system for our senior team," Wills said. "Thinking big picture, lacrosse used to be in the Olympics way back in the day. We're planning on being back in the Olympics in 2028. We have a few bigger boxes to check. But in preparation for that, my role is to find those athletes now, start training them, have them mentored by current USA players and coaches. So by the time 2028 rolls around, we've been working with these athletes for the last 10 years or so."