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Justin Anderson
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Rising West: Justin Anderson’s Path to the PLL

In the heart of the dazzling city of Las Vegas, amidst the neon lights and endless entertainment options, a different kind of story unfolded—the journey of Justin Anderson, a 2x PLL All-Star whose roots in the sport took hold in this non-traditional lacrosse hotbed. From the growing landscape of lacrosse in Las Vegas to the professional stage, Anderson’s tale is one of determination, passion, and the unwavering support of his lacrosse community. As the youngest of six boys, Justin was introduced to lacrosse at an early age, inspired by the sight of his older brothers playing the game. While baseball held a special place in the Anderson household, Justin’s father played a pivotal role in kickstarting lacrosse in Las Vegas. This effort led to the establishment of the first high school lacrosse programs at Palo Verde and Centennial, marking the initial steps in the growth of lacrosse in a city better known for its entertainment offerings than its athletic pursuits.

Everyone knew everyone in the closely-knit Las Vegas lacrosse community—a fact that played a crucial role in Justin’s journey. His father, a constant source of support, was instrumental in Justin’s initial years with the sport. Despite the financial burden that comes with committing yourself to the sport of lacrosse, Justin found himself surrounded by a community that rallied behind him. Local clubs, such as the Vegas Starz, provided the support needed to propel Justin on the field. His success with the Vegas Starz would bring him to Adrenaline’s West Coast Starz, where his life truly changed. The West Coast-based company Adrenaline would play a pivotal role in Anderson’s pursuit of playing collegiate lacrosse. Adrenaline became more than a brand—offering elite opportunities, access to top club teams, and participation in prestigious events. Adrenaline’s role in Justin’s lacrosse journey extends beyond events and tournaments. The West Coast Starz opened the door for Justin to see what next-level lacrosse looked like while allowing him to play with some of the best players and coaches in the country.

Reflecting on his early years, Justin acknowledges the initial skill disparity between lacrosse players from Las Vegas and their East Coast counterparts. While East Coast players were known for their polished techniques, Justin’s athleticism and relentless spirit set him apart. His heart took center stage, as a level of dedication to his game was rare for kids from his background. As he continued to develop with the West Coast Starz, his talents were recognized by numerous college coaches on the East Coast. Without Adrenaline or the West Coast Starz, Justin may have never accomplished his goal of playing lacrosse at the Division 1 level. After his commitment to the University of North Carolina (UNC) under Coach Joe Breschi, Justin felt extremely grateful to have made it this far. However, the transition to college brought a stark realization—his high school methods wouldn’t suffice at the collegiate level. The intensity demanded adaptation, pushing Justin to shed the rust that had accumulated during a two-year mission trip break before college. Improving his game without the ball in his stick became a focal point, and Justin embraced the challenge, quickly becoming one of the best players in the ACC.

While playing high-level college lacrosse was a personal goal, the idea of going professional wasn’t initially on Justin’s radar. Despite this, his love for the game persisted, and his dedication paid off when Chrome Lacrosse Club selected him in the third round of the 2021 PLL Collegiate Draft. The transition to the professional level marked a new chapter in Justin’s lacrosse journey after following a non-traditional route to get to this point. What sets Justin’s journey apart? What turned a player from a non-traditional lacrosse hotbed into a 2x PLL All-Star? For Justin, the answer lies in unwavering dedication.

“I truly believe that lacrosse is one of those sports that if you work at it all the time and put in the effort, there will be opportunities for you. It may not be at the highest level, but it could be at any other level. I think there is always a spot for kids if they continue to pursue the sport, but it doesn’t just happen. You don’t get to play high-level college lacrosse just by picking up a stick once a week or by just going to practice. It doesn’t work like that. Regardless of whether your high school or youth team practices every single day, if you aren’t doing wallball or going on runs with your lacrosse stick or shooting, it’s not going to happen, but it can happen if you do those things every day. If you are constantly working on your game.”

Justin Anderson’s journey is more than just a personal success story—it’s a testament to the transformative power of dedication, community support, and the crucial role played by organizations like Adrenaline in shaping the future of lacrosse in non-traditional regions. Aspiring players in similar non-traditional hotbeds can draw inspiration from Justin’s journey, realizing that they can elevate their game to the next level with passion and hard work. In a sport that is still finding its roots in the West, Justin’s legacy showcases the impact of those willing to break boundaries, redefine expectations, and pave the way for future generations of lacrosse enthusiasts in non-traditional areas.