The 2017 USBOXLA Nationals – the biggest youth box lacrosse tournament to ever take place on American soil – start this Friday in San Jose, California at North America’s largest indoor sports and fitness facility, the Silver Creek Sportsplex.

The event includes a tournament for novice, pee wee, bantam, midget, and high school-aged players, a clinic hosted by the USBOXLA Academy, and an All-Star Game presented by the National Lacrosse League.

This will be the first year the NLL sponsors the All-Star Game, which features the prestigious Team USBOXLA National Program against a Tournament All-Star Team at the pee wee, bantam, and midget levels. The highly anticipated games will take place Friday evening starting at 5:20pm (PDT) and will be live streamed courtesy of ScoreBreak. A prize pack provided by the NLL, which will include a free subscription to NLL TV, will be awarded to All-Star Game MVPs.

Photos: Jeremy Garcia

“We are thrilled that the NLL made this commitment to sponsor a game featuring players that one day very well could be playing in their league,” said USBOXLA Co-Founder and University of Denver Associate Head Coach, Matt Brown, who himself played four seasons in the NLL. “This sponsorship is just the start of our relationship with the league, and I think with USBOXLA and the NLL aligned, the tremendous growth we’ve already experienced throughout the country will be even more significant in years to come.”

NLL Commissioner Nick Sakiewicz echoes Brown’s vision for grassroots growth and the promising partnership between the two groups. “The National Lacrosse League is very excited about our partnership with USBOXLA and commitment to the growth of lacrosse at the grassroots level,” said Sakiewicz. “We look forward to our continued support of the association and many more events like this.”

NLL clubs like the Colorado Mammoth, Rochester Knighthawks, and Vancouver Stealth are already either full-time USBOXLA members or regularly compete in USBOXLA sanctioned events. In fact, through a unique collaboration with the Mammoth, USBOXLA and other partners also helped launch the country’s first college-aged box league – the Colorado Collegiate Box Lacrosse League – earlier this summer. The Knighthawks will be hosting their first USBOXLA tournament later this month, while the Stealth will be sporting five teams at this year’s Nationals.

“I think for this sport to thrive in the US like many of us know it can, positive working relationships with the country’s box lacrosse leaders is imperative,” added Brown. “I think the league’s involvement at this year’s Nationals is the start of an extremely important partnership that will help box lacrosse take that next step at the grassroots level and all the way to the pro game.”

Dozens of former and current NLL players will be coaching many of the nearly 70 teams and 1,000 players competing this weekend, including: Wes Berg, Colin Doyle, Lewis Ratcliff, Roy Colsey, Ben Prepchuk, Curtis Hodgson, Jamie Shewchuk, Aimé Caines, Shaydon Santos, and of course Brown.

Clubs from Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Minnesota, Nevada, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Canada will be in attendance.

Clinics and games will begin at 8am (PDT) on each of the three days this weekend, with games only finishing after 10pm most nights. “This is the biggest youth box event we’ve ever hosted,” said Brown. “I’m not sure Americans have ever squeezed more box lacrosse into a single weekend than we will over the next three days. It’s going to be awesome!”

Follow the USBOXLA Nationals scoreboard and USBOXLA on Twitter and Instagram to keep up with what’s happening in San Jose this weekend. Visit later this month for a full recap of the event.