Editor’s Note: In this “Gets Branded” interview, Mike Brand chats with Melbourne, Australia native, Kade Robinson. Kade is currently in his first year at Mesa State in Colorado. Mesa State is an NCAA Division 2 school that only recently created a lacrosse program. Kade took some time out of his pre-season training to speak with Brand and fill us in on all things Mesa, Australian, and Lacrosse.
Being an Australian, how is your new life in Grand Junction, CO going at Mesa State?
Kade Robinson: It’s awesome. I’m loving everything about Grand Junction. The program here is amazing. Coach Stevens has hooked us up with some sweet gear supplied mainly by Maverik Lacrosse. Also, everyone tries to do my accent, which is kind of funny.
Have you hit any culture shock, and was your first day at school the first time you had been to the States?
Kade Robinson: No not too much of a culture shock, loving the Mexican food though. I was over here (North America) in 2008 for the U-19 World Championships, held in Vancouver, and we hit up L.A., New York City, and Hawaii last time.
What are some of the best qualities of your team so far and who are some of your standout teammates so far?
Kade Robinson: Well, from our only game so far, our defense seems fairly strong as well as our offense. Some of our standouts would include defenseman Johnny Nitti from Las Vegas and attackman Trevor Ecton from Kansas.
Had you always wanted to play in the States or was this something that came out of nowhere? And how did Mesa State find you?
Kade Robinson: I was always hoping to come over here and play but the opportunity never came around. Another Australian, Nathan Hunter-Gerber, that is in school with me, put me in touch with Coach Stevens and things went from there.
What are some of the biggest differences between Aussie and American lacrosse that you’ve noticed?
Kade Robinson: American lacrosse is mainly a lot faster. Also, there is a lot more practice and lifting over here than back home.
You mentioned you played in the last U-19 games. What did you take from that experience and what do you think your chances are in making the Australian men’s team in 2014?
Kade Robinson: I took a lot from it. I learned heaps from the Australian coaches and even from just playing in the games. I really got to see the standard required to play top lacrosse over here. I think I will have a decent chance of making 2014 if I put my mind to it and have the motivation to work harder than ever before.
Who are some of the next generation Australians we should be looking out for and are there any others playing in the states now?
Kade Robinson: There are a few playing at Limestone (NCAA Division 2 in Gaffney, SC) at the moment; Anthony Rodrigues and Jake Egan. Also there’s one Aussie at RIT (NCAA Division 3 in Rochester, NY). And, Hayley Sofarnos is on the women’s team at Penn State, and Cass Cusaro is playing for Australian legend Jen Adams at Loyola in Baltimore.
Back home Griffin Jenney and Spencer Davis are a couple young guns coming up. I’m not sure if they are looking to play college ball but they both have potential to play Division 1 lacrosse. They should both make the next U-19 Australian team.
What are some of the biggest everyday things you miss from home?
Kade Robinson: Things I miss from home would have to be the people and the beaches as well as a good meat pie! (Editor’s Note: when Connor Wilson lived in Perth, he was addicted to meat pies and chocolate milk)
As we chat the BCS Championship is coming down to the wire. How closely are you following American footie and who were you rooting for?
Kade Robinson: I haven’t really been following too much of it but I would have to say I was going for Oregon seeing as they are green and gold; the colors of Australia (well, at least their national teams)!
I hope you didn’t jinx the Ducks but you probably won the hearts of a few LAS staffers with your pick. Good luck up in Colorado and enjoy your little lax holiday here in the States!