Charlotte Bootleggers bring professional lacrosse back to the Queen City

Professional lacrosse is back in Charlotte, but with a bit of a different look.
Published: Jan. 30, 2023 at 6:15 PM EST
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - UPDATE: After this story was posted, The Professional Box Lacrosse Association postponed all its remaining games for the inaugural season.

“We made a difficult decision to postpone the remainder of the inaugural season,” said owner Carmen Kesner. “Our vision is to implement a fast, physical, safe, and exciting experience for our fans and players.  We believe we have been able to create this experience, but we feel there are elements we need to improve upon.  For that reason, we are halting the season to re-organize the league and team operations.”

Part of that reorganization comes with the appointment of Brad Bryant, the new Chief Executive Officer of the PBLA.  “I’m excited about what is in store for this league.  My goal is to take Mr. Kesner’s concept to the next level and create a sustainable product for years to come that both the players and the fans can be proud of.”


Professional lacrosse is back in Charlotte, but with a bit of a different look.

This month, the Charlotte Bootleggers kicked off their inaugural season in the Professional Box Lacrosse Association, bringing the indoor action to the Bojangles Coliseum.

“I mean right off the bat, anybody will tell you that the goals are smaller,” forward Marcus Holman said. “The physicality of the indoor game is super evident. We’re in an enclosed space, so it’s a lot tighter than the field game.”

Holman is originally from the Baltimore area, but played college lacrosse for the North Carolina Tar Heels. He says he’s excited to help the game continue to grow in Charlotte.

“It feels really cool to be a part of something new, and try to expand professional lacrosse,” Holman said.

Nine-year-old Vincent Kopay says he’s played lacrosse since he was five, and couldn’t wait to have a team of his own to cheer for in his hometown.

“I was super excited, as soon as I found out I told my parents we need to go to a game,” Kopay said.

He even had the team merch before the season started.

“The first day I got this shirt I wore it right to school, I couldn’t wait,” Kopay said.

There were dozens of kids in the stands at Sunday’s home game against the Hampton Hammerheads, and Holman says seeing the next generation of lacrosse fans coming to the games brings his career full circle.

“You know when I was a younger kid, when I was their age, I was doing the same thing,” Holman said. “To be able to bring that to Charlotte for younger kids is really cool.”

The Bootlegger’s next home game is Sunday Feb. 5 against the New England Chowderheads.