"I was like 'wow, this is crazy. I've never seen so many people at practice before,'" said Fury goalie Colton Rasmussen.
What started as a small group of lacrosse enthusiasts four years ago has now become a popular club team: the Great Falls Fury.
"Our club has pretty much doubled in size every year," said Kirk Fried.
Coach and club founder Kirk Fried says the Fury is composed of five total boys and girls teams, that range from elementary school students to high school players. For outsiders unfamiliar with lacrosse, the sport's popularity might seem odd, but to Fried and his players, it's been a long time coming. According to the National Federation of State High School Associations, from 2010 to 2016, roughly 27,000 athletes started to play lacrosse. Fried says universities and colleges noticed the trend and went into action. More than
"30 colleges added programs," Fried said.
Then the light bulb went off.
"You're talking 900 players coming into lacrosse in one year. So tremendous opportunities for these kids to go to college."
The opportunities didn't stop there.
"We're seeing kids getting scholarships and other benefits because of this sport," Fried tacked on.
In the last two years, Fried developed four players who now or will play lacrosse at the next level, including University of Great Falls commit Zach Johnson.
"If you put in the work then it's a gateway I feel like .You can definitely play college lacrosse if you really wanted to," he said.
That gateway to college is now part of the Fury philosophy.
"It's part of our mission to help these kids move on in life," Fried said. "For us it feels fantastic to see these kids sign on because it gives us a sense of success because we were able to help them grow and give them an avenue to which they can go to college."