(CBS Local) – This weekend is important for female athletes around the world. Thousands of women will compete in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, and in the Metro DC area, a new professional women’s lacrosse league called Athlete Unlimited Lacrosse is making its debut on CBS Sports Network.
Athletes Unlimited Lacrosse is the third league to be created under the Athletes Unlimited banner by co-founders Jon Patricof and Jonathan Soros. Athletes Unlimited Softball debuted in 2020 and Athletes Unlimited Volleyball was played earlier this year in Texas. The new league changes traditional lacrosse with new rules, a smaller pitch, and the ability for players to earn money for personal causes. Former University of North Carolina player Amber McKenzie is one of the women playing in the five-week league and CBS Local’s DJ Sixsmith chatted with her about the new league, her background in lacrosse. and to be a mom.
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“I said I was going to hang up my crampons after 2020, but then the pandemic happened,” McKenzie said. “I was approached with this opportunity after our season in the old league was canceled and they spoke to me about the non-traditional way of sport. They explained to me how the players would be ranked and how the teams would change each week. This opportunity with Athletes Unlimited was definitely something I wanted to be a part of. After hearing about how the league was structured and the support they have for moms, I knew I wanted to be a part of it.
“I’ve been a member of the executive players committee, which helps decide some rules and honestly a lot of different things in the league,” McKenzie said. “I’ve been a part of it for six or eight months and I’m so happy to be there and to have all the women playing. Jon Patricof and Jonathan Soros are both athlete focused. Even after our first scrum we met about a bunch of rules and how the game was structured and how many players were on the pitch and they were open to all of our ideas.
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The defender is a two-time world champion and was named to the All-World squad in 2009 and 2013. In fact, McKenzie was named as a world defender in 2009 and she is excited about the kind of impact this fast pace and raised. league scoring may have on the next generation of young lacrosse players.
“There are eight-minute quarters and the games are going to go by really fast, but they’re going to be really fun to watch,” McKenzie said. “I am grateful to my husband because he was so supportive of this trip. Athletes Unlimited has a great moms policy so I get an allowance every week to have babysitting while I play. My children have the opportunity to see all these amazing women putting so much passion into their sport and I am very happy that they are also a part of it. I want this league to be there for the future of lacrosse.
“I’m a full time mom and we have women working full time while they’re here,” McKenzie said. “We have a stock trader and the women here are at the top of their game. We hope that this can be their income and that it can be how they support themselves and their families. It has to start somewhere and that is why we are so grateful to Athletes Unlimited that there is a future there. We impact the game of lacrosse and many other things with athlete causes and every player can play for their own cause and not for profit.
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Watch the Athletes Unlimited Fright Party at 5 p.m. EST and 7:30 p.m. EST on CBS Sports Network.