College Sports

‘I want to be like her’: Charlotte North has inspired the next generation at Boston College and beyond

“I think Charlotte’s legacy is that she’s teaching young girls to be proud of themselves.”

Charlotte North celebrates the Eagles' first-ever national championship. Patrick Smith/Getty Images

As Acacia Walker-Weinstein tries to encapsulate the uniqueness of Charlotte North’s legacy, the Boston College lacrosse coach doesn’t have to turn far for inspiration.

In the backseat, her 7-year-old daughter Wesley and 5-year old son Walker perk up when they hear North’s name mentioned. 

“I want to be like her when I get older,” Wesley said.

“No. 8! No. 8!” Walker gleefully added.

North posters are on display around their household and North paraphernalia is plentiful. Walker-Weinstein often sees her daughter in the backyard, using North’s shaft, practicing her favorite North celebrations. Wesley even asks Walker-Weinstein to purchase eye black to resemble her favorite player.

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The scene unfolds similarly at homes around the country. At a recent game in Denver, about 40 young girls showed up wearing eye black. One had a sign that read: “BC National Champions. Charlotte North.”

Head coach Acacia Walker-Weinstein’s daughter, Wesley, is a huge Charlotte North fan. – Courtesy Acacia Walker-Weinstein

In 2021, North powered Boston College to its first-ever national title and won the prestigious Tewaaraton Award, given to the country’s most outstanding player. This season, as a graduate student, she became the Atlantic Coast Conference’s all-time leading scorer, is currently second in Division 1 with 49 goals, and has guided the No. 2 Eagles to a 9-1 start.

BC recently set a program record with 5,937 fans for its game against North Carolina. For context, a March 2019 game between No. 1 BC and No. 5 Notre Dame — the year before North arrived on campus — drew 364 fans. The program generated a nation-leading 2.4 million social interactions in 2021 per SkullSparks, which is more than double the team with the second most (Maryland, 1.1 million).

The Eagles are a balanced team with many catalysts, but it’s no secret North — who has more than 50,000 followers on Instagram and recently launched her own business called Charlotte North Lacrosse — is the face of the sport and the team’s engine and energizer. The 5-foot-7 attack combines humility and unselfishness with confidence and pure dominance at a singularly high level. Those around her feel grateful to be part of the journey and absorb her never-ending positivity.

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“I think Charlotte’s legacy is that she’s teaching young girls to be proud of themselves,” Walker-Weinstein said. “She captures the heart of a lot of people, and I’m really proud of her.”

Finding a home

North, who grew up in Dallas, gravitated toward basketball and field hockey as a kid, and lacrosse wasn’t initially on her radar.

When her friends encouraged her to try lacrosse in seventh grade, she figured she might as well give it a shot even though it wasn’t too popular in the area. North loved it right away, and when former Georgetown goalie Maggie Koch decided to coach both Episcopal School of Dallas and North’s club team, North decided to take her craft even more seriously and pursue a future in the sport. 

Koch still watches all of North’s games. They chat nearly every day, and North credits Koch for mentoring her over the past decade.

“She really instilled a lot of self-confidence and belief in me,” North said of Koch. “That helped drive my work ethic and my ability to set goals and want to go out and achieve them.”

Duke, Stanford, and Princeton all recruited her, so it wasn’t as though she was a total unknown, but it wasn’t as though she had dozens of offers either. 

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As Episcopal School of Dallas’ all-time leading scorer in both basketball and lacrosse, she had always dreamed of playing basketball at Duke. She loved the vibes on campus and the people, so she decided to commit there. North will always cherish her two years at Duke, but she entered the transfer portal after her sophomore season in search of a perfect fit.

Walker-Weinstein, who regretted not recruiting North out of high school, made sure to maximize the opportunity this time around. They connected immediately, and North now refers to her as a life-changing figure. It’s clear the feeling is mutual.

“We called her the instant we were allowed to,” Walker-Weinstein said. “It was a conversation that I’ll never forget. I’m just so happy that she found a home here.”

“She’s playing for us”

As dominant as she is on the field, North’s teammates say it would be impossible to know she’s a superstar by watching her behavior or mannerisms. 

“She’s so humble and so kind and is looking out for everyone else before herself,” senior attack Jenn Medjid said. “It helps us a lot. She could be a jerk with how good she is. She’s the best player ever. It just keeps everyone ready to play and excited to play. Even though she’s the best, and all eyes are on her, she’s playing for us.”

Senior midfielder Cassidy Weeks said North is always the first one to speak up to get the team out of a rut, as she did in their game against Brown University, and the first one to celebrate a teammate’s goal. She often gets more fired up for theirs than her own.

“The fact that she rallies around all of us, and we’re able to rally around her, it really brings our team to the next level,” Weeks said. 

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Walker-Weinstein said it’s remarkable how much North inspires those around her. When her teammates see her scream at the top of her lungs, they feel comfortable doing the same without any hesitation. 

North, who re-tapes her stick, listens to the same playlist, and follows a strict meal plan before each game, is superstitious and takes each game extremely seriously. Then when it’s time to let loose and soak in the moment, she’s never one to hold back. 

She reminds young fans that it’s OK to feel alive and to celebrate, Walker-Weinstein said, and to be proud of everything they’ve accomplished — both individually and as a group. When she won the Tewaaraton, she immediately pointed out that it was a team award. It didn’t feel at all forced or insincere, because that’s how she always is.

“That’s probably my favorite thing about Charlotte, how she celebrates other people’s success,” Walker-Weinstein said. “That’s the culture that we want and the culture that we have.”

Charlotte North prepares to fire a shot on net.

Growing the sport

North, who will represent the United States at the World Cup this summer, has always admired players such as Kayla Treanor and Sam Apuzzo. As she’s gotten older, she’s had the chance to play with them, learn from them, and convey their wisdom to others.

She embraces her role as a mentor and leader. Others may shy away from the attention, but North handles it with grace and dignity. She goes out of her way to chat with Wesley, Walker, and other kids at practice and games and is delighted to be Wesley’s stretching partner at practice.

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“For as long as I’ve played, I’ve looked up to so many people who have revolutionized and trail-blazed in this sport,” North said. “They’ve inspired me tremendously to continue to do so.”

Back in high school, she had trouble finding women’s lacrosse games on TV. Now, they’re on all the time, and North has loved witnessing that growth. She’s too modest to admit it, but she’s a main reason why. Medjid said the young girls who approach North for her autograph do everything in their power to channel her mojo and play like her.

North is the biggest star there is in a sport gaining popularity by the year. When those up-and-comers turn on the TV, it’s natural that starpower catches their eye. Now, they get the chance to meet her at camps and clinics and shake the hand of their idol and the inspiration for their Halloween costumes. North feels incredibly fortunate to be in a position to try to inspire others.

“That’s the overall goal, is to grow the sport, on the men’s and the women’s side, but in particular on the women’s side,” North said. “Making it more accessible and really showcasing how beautiful and special this sport is.”

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