ST. CLOUD -- After years of being recognized as just a club sport, athletes are now turning their attention to the sport of lacrosse as it becomes one of the rising school sports.

While the school programs are still in the early stages, it's clear athletes are looking for a new outlet in the Spring.  St. Cloud Tech Boys Lacrosse coach Matt Keil says it's been a long time coming.

Lacrosse really stands out among the other sports in the Spring. It gives the opportunity for players to play a contact sport as opposed to baseball or track.

Lacrosse is typically played on a football or soccer field with 10 players per side trying to score a goal. Keil says the sport is often thought of as being similar to hockey, when in reality it's closer to basketball.

You want to attack the goal. In basketball you want to attack the rim, in lacrosse you're using the same strategy.

It's not just the school teams that are seeing an increase in participation. Chris Braun is the President of the St. Cloud Youth Lacrosse Association. He says they are seeing large numbers of young athletes trying the sport since the association began seven years ago.

We've really grown at the younger ages. Our 10U class is at 24 kids, the 8U is at 18 kids, 12U is at 16 and 14U is at 18 kids, so we are seeing a rise in all age levels.

The sport is also growing in popularity among female athletes. Amanda Dvorak is the Head Coach of the Storm'n Sabres. She says they've had a record number of girls join the team since becoming a school sport.

We are at the point where we can add a third team to give plenty of playing time to athletes, so numbers are awesome right now compared to three years ago.

While many of the local high school teams in the area are co-ops, Dvorak says it wouldn't surprise her to see each school having their own team soon.

I think for sure in the next five to ten years we will have a big enough interest and we can have multiple teams in the area.

The area local lacrosse team in the area include St. Cloud, ROCORI and Sartell-Sauk Rapids.