“The growth has been pretty amazing,” says Driggs, a 1994 Virginia alum who moved to O.C. in early 2000. “It’s becoming a trend for East Coast guys to move out here. Growing up with playing lacrosse as your passion, I feel like I have the perfect job.”
It’s definitely clear that there’s been some incredible growth out west, and that there’s still a ton of potential for more. A big part of that is East Coast lacrosse players giving back to the sport.
Talk to Michael Watson and Chris Driggs, both Virginia alums and East Coast natives living in Southern California, and it’s easy to think they’re working together at the same lacrosse company.
They had regular jobs upon moving out west, but have since focused their efforts entirely on lacrosse, starting small with one team and expanding to have fall and winter programs to capitalize on the sport’s growth. Driggs’ Earthquake Lacrosse in Orange County counts more than 1,300 kids between his spring and fall teams, while Watson’s Lax West in San Diego covers 300 players.
These guys were at the beginning of a recent wave of East Coast players to move out west and help grow lacrosse in its most sought-after region.
At this point, California could field a pretty legit all-star team of East Coast transplants. Kyle Harrison, Brett Hughes, Terry Riordan, Chris Rotelli, Jim Borell, Eric Martin, Mike Doneger, Mike Gvozden, Maxx Davis, Todd Eichelberger, Lorne Smith and Matt Ogelsby are among the well-known names.
The LXM/Starz/Adrenaline crew of Scott and Craig Hochstadt and Xander and Max Ritz (Maryland) and Harrison (Hopkins) gets most of the attention (and obviously landed this December cover story), but just as important to the game’s growth out West is this expanding network of players.