Lacrosse was introduced to Polk County in 2006 by Coach Chris Sussingham at All Saints' Academy (ASA) in Winter Haven with clinics and scrimmages. In 2007, Coach Michael Craig led ASA during their first season playing in the West Florida Lacrosse League. In 2008, Coach Sussingham returned to ASA and was selected as Coach of the Year by the West Florida Lacrosse League. The following year, the Saints had an undefeated season and won the West Florida Lacrosse-B Championship. At ASA, Coach Sussingham initiated the Youth and Middle School programs, as well as the girls' program, and helped transition ASA high school club lacrosse to Florida High School Athletic Association school sport status in 2011.
To spread the sport of lacrosse beyond ASA private school, in 2010 Coach Sussingham founded Polk County Youth Lacrosse for students across the county. Coach Brian Davis joined Coach Sussingham and helped grow the program to significant success. In the Fall of 2011 Coach Sussingham left ASA and started the Lakeland Lacrosse Program, which by the spring of 2012 was competing in their first organized games with the Gulf Coast Chapter of the US Lacrosse Association.
Lakeland Lacrosse expanded to three teams in 2013, including their first high school club team. Coach Brian Davis led the experienced U-15 team to an undefeated season, and they brought home the end-of-the-season championship at Fish Hawk Invitational. The new high school team under Coach Sussingham made great strides and had some key wins over established programs in the spring. Over the next year, the three Lakeland Lacrosse teams kept up their steady progress, with the high school team capping off their regular season with an exciting double overtime win over local rival Summerlin Academy. Another HS team also joined the Lakeland Lacrosse family from the Central Florida Aerospace Academy. In the Fall of 2014, Lakeland Lacrosse also started the area's first Box Lacrosse program.
2015 and 2016 were exciting years for lacrosse in Lakeland. Several youth programs and camps began popping up, and more high schools added club teams, expanding local competition and reducing travel time for games. Kristin Barske took on the role of Lakeland Lacrosse administrator, organizing finance, website and social medial. Several former Lakeland Lacrosse club players came back to help coach, such as Pedro Dos Reis who oversaw the youth program, and Alex Irizarry, who oversaw the high school club team, assisting with youth development and furthering the mission of the team. Regular guest speakers addressed the team about development of leadership and character, and included Astronaut Ron Garan, prominent businessman Hunt Berryman, coaches and athletes. As other school club teams formed, Lakeland Lacrosse club became more closely aligned with Lakeland High School (LHS.) Because LHS is a Title IX school with a large population of at-risk and low-income students, an important mission for Lakeland Lacrosse club has been to make sure that students could participage in the often-expensive sport of lacrosse regardless of the ability to pay. Coach Sussingham and devoted parents worked tirelessly to bring FHSAA varsity lacrosse to Lakeland High School, and make sure that the Lakeland Lacrosse program would produce a pipeline of athletes ready to form a competitive team at LHS.
In the spring of 2017, that dream became a reality, and the Polk County School Board voted to make lacrosse a sanctioned FHSAA sport. After years of developing skilled youth and high school players through Lakeland Lacrosse Club, Coach Sussingham was able to lead the LHS team to the county's first district championship, defeating ASA in the championship finals.
After the 2017 winning season and with a robust program established at Lakeland High School, Coach Sussingham handed off coaching duties at LHS to focus on Lakeland City Lacrosse club and its core mission of spreading the sport of lacrosse to more area schools, and ensuring that youths of all backgrounds have access to the game.