As lacrosse continues to grow the world, particularly in the United States, there have been people in the lacrosse world who have been the driving force for all of this change.
We at LaxAllStars would like to highlight one male and one female at the professional level who are making a huge impact in growing the game and what they are doing that is so influential. These are our LAS game changers.
All of the professional leagues in North America are fair game, so let’s run through our selections…
Game Changer (Men’s): Paul Rabil
It’s no secret that the million-dollar man has amassed a large following both in and out of the sport. The way that Paul Rabil has built his media empire is something that has yet to be seen in the lacrosse world. One prime example of this is his podcast, which has guests from not only the lacrosse community, but highly influential sports and business figures outside of the sport like Erika Nardini, CEO of Barstool Sports.
We talk about gamers and practice players. In business, you’ve gotta be a practice player. Just showing up in the pitch meeting and closing isn’t enough. My podcast with @EKANardini ? https://t.co/Ycx7vVUYJ7 pic.twitter.com/gDjhczoyis
— Paul Rabil (@PaulRabil) September 18, 2018
The fact that Rabil was the first professional lacrosse player to amass over $1 million in endorsement deals was big. It helped shed stereotypes of professional lacrosse players being weekend warriors and legitimized these athletes in the eyes of the American public. In my opinion, it helped grow the sport as more kids saw it become a bigger deal to be a professional lacrosse player.
Does the American public have a ways to go in terms of recognizing professional lacrosse players among casual sports fans? Of course. But Rabil got the ball rolling.
Game Changer #2: Kylie Ohlmiller
What Paul Rabil is to men’s lacrosse in terms of impact on the sport, Kylie Ohlmiller is to the women’s game. The former Stonybrook Seawolf and current New York Fight attacker has dazzled us with her stick-handling abilities and in doing so has revolutionized the women’s lacrosse game at just the right time.
With the 90-second shot clock coming about in collegiate women’s lacrosse and the 60-second shot clock in the WPLL, these changes have come about at a perfect time for Ohlmiller with her quick and flashy style of play. It has helped increase interest in the casual fan, much like a shot clock in the men’s collegiate game is supposed to do. Ohlmiller is just what women’s lacrosse needed to help increase its punching power in professional sports.
“We are dedicated to introducing players across the country to our pros, their role models. It helps show that they too can accomplish their dreams and play at the highest level.” Learn about the #WPLLClinic program & how you can bring pros to you! https://t.co/EPbIW1B0Aq pic.twitter.com/WTTriIgkjw
— WPLL (@prowomenslax) September 5, 2018
Let’s also not forget the impact that Ohlmiller has had on young girls. Ohlmiller has done a tremendous job growing the game among this age group, and should be commended for it.
It was a tough selection for who we picked as our biggest game changers. Other people in lacrosse considered were Lyle Thompson for the innovative ways he contributed to the men’s game, the Utah Lacrosse assistant coaches Will Manny, Adam Ghitelman and Marcuss Holman for what they are doing to grow the game out West, in addition Taylor Cummings for her nearly unmatched level of play.
Do you have a pro lacrosse game changer who you think should have made our cut? Sound off in the comments.