When the Women’s Professional Lacrosse League closed its doors for good over the summer due to the financial strain of the COVID-19 pandemic, many former players were left without a way to play.
In its wake, though, a company called Athletes Unlimited is starting a new league, slated to begin play in the summer of 2021, immediately after the World Lacrosse Women’s World Championship. A number of former Tar Heels have already decided to join Athletes Unlimited Lacrosse, whose goal is to make the game more fast-paced and attractive to fans.
Matches will be held on a smaller 80-by-50-yard field, with 9-person teams playing four shortened 8-minute quarters with a 60-second shot clock. There also won't be permanent teams. Instead, players will earn points based on how they perform each game, with a set number of points awarded for specific actions.
At the end of each week, the top four players in the standings will be named team captains and draft the team for their next match — almost like real-life fantasy sports. At the end of the month-long season, the player with the most points will be crowned the champion.
“You can watch a college game and it could go on forever, with the shot clock and how many minutes there are,” former Tar Heel defender Amber Falcone McKenzie said. “But with this, you're there for an hour, you watch a great game of lacrosse, and then you're on with your life. So I think it's a lot more viewer-friendly for sure.”