From the global perspective of lacrosse, there are traditional powers, those on the cusp, and then there’s everybody else. As we look at the new Sixes format, along with the growth of box lacrosse, and even the growth of traditional 10v10 field, we see that certain countries are closing the gap faster than others. So what are some countries to watch for in lacrosse if it gets to the LA 2028 Summer Olympics?
I took a look at every country outside of the traditional powers (Australia, Canada, England, USA, and the Iroquois Nationals) and made some assumptions as to who has a legitimate shot of competing with the big dogs in the near future.
If I were to pick five countries that will come ready for LA 2028, these are it.
Things to consider:
- This is not an exhaustive list of competitive lacrosse countries
- Your country not being on this list is not a personal slight
- These five countries are predicted to be good at Sixes
Five Lacrosse COUNTRIES to Watch for LA 2028
Most of these teams have a few things in common: they play both box and field lacrosse (exception Japan, which doesn’t play box), they’ve had field teams competing internationally since at least 1998 (exception Israel), and they have an established lacrosse identity. Many of these countries have considerable help from Canadian and American expats, who have helped accelerate growth.
The Germans have been at it for a long time, so much so that I took part in U19 tryouts more than 10 years ago. Few international programs have had not only a men’s team but a youth program attached to it for as long as the Germans.
We know the Sixes game is a blend of field and box – essentially box on grass – which bodes well for Germany. It finished ninth in 2018 at the World Championships and 10th at the 2019 Indoor Championships. The foundation built years ago will be even further along in seven years.
Few countries have burst onto the international lacrosse scene as quickly as Israel. The investment in the game at all levels has been apparent from day one and already translated into a seventh place finish in 2018 at the World Championships and fifth at the 2019 Indoor Championships.
The investment at the youth level in more recent years will really start to pan out over these next seven and beyond.
An easy choice and a cheap one as the Japanese have been legitimate in recent years, scaring many of the perennial powers in the outdoor game. They don’t have a real box presence, but I believe that their style of play in the field game will make up for that. Japan plays extremely fast and defense comes at a premium, which translates well to the Sixes game.
Don’t discount the fact that the Japanese play a higher level of lacrosse year round in their adult and college leagues, which produces goalies at a quicker pace than countries that have limited games and reps.
To be blunt, the Czechs are good but not great at the field game. They are the opposite of the Japanese in that what they lack in field, they more than make up for in box. Over the past 20 years, the Czechs have never finished outside of the top 10 at the World Indoor Championships.
These guys have the skill sets to play fast lacrosse in tight spaces. The fact that they do have a field team that, until 2018, continuously finished in the top 15 at World Championships means that they have goalies hidden away somewhere for Sixes at LA 2028.
Scotland was a tough choice. It always seem to be on the cusp but can’t quite break through. At both the Indoor and Outdoor Championships, the Scots are competitive outside of the top division, routinely finishing top 15 in both disciplines.
The program has been around for a while and benefitted from lacrosse’s growing presence in the U.K. Here’s to thinking that seven more years and Olympic support will help push Scotland to that next step in international lacrosse competition by the time LA 2028 rolls around.