Author’s Note: This article was updated on Friday, July 10th to reflect approved roster changes to the Denver Outlaws.
21 more guys are getting the opportunity to play professional lacrosse this summer.
Let that sink in, because it’s important. Cracking a pro roster can be an insurmountable challenge for countless athletes coming straight out of college into the circuit. There are very few roster spots to begin with and even with the division in the professional field lacrosse landscape jobs are still few and far between as droves of veterans have been waiting for their shot to ink deals. One major advantage these rookies get when job hunting is their incredible in-season fitness and game-speed, both of which have been lost in 2020, when jumping right into the pro season at the end of their college careers. A rookie’s second benefit is the ability to work their way into the rotation during the middle of the long summer season, also out the window in 2020.
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Remember, most of these guys never even played a conference game as a senior. They’ve been off the field since the NCAA cancelled the season prematurely on March 12th, making them the first real class of MLL rookies class to not walk right into the action as soon as their team falls out of the postseason. They’ve had months off to prepare in any way possible, except playing lacrosse 10-v-10 lacrosse around the clock like the groups before them. It makes it even that much more difficult for teams to justify using a roster space on one of their draft picks.
Teams had to narrow down their rosters to just 25 bodies for the 2020 MLL season in Annapolis, an eight day quarantined event serving as a completely condensed version of a summer’s worth of action. There’s no room to add players or change up the rotation once on the ground for the event, so you play with whatever you bring, start to finish. Coaches didn’t get the chance to see who would go clutch come Memorial Day Weekend. Instead, they were mostly left guessing off 2019 and word of mouth.
With more than enough tried-and-true names in the player pool, 21 pairs of dice were rolled on a class of exceptional MLL rookies. While the Cannons made enough offseason moves to bypass all but one rookie addition, defenseman Jason Brewster, the Barrage and Bayhawks are each bringing five new faces to the league, Philadelphia focusing on boosting offensive production and Chesapeake taking a defensive approach.
Only two non-Division I players will get a shot this season, Amherst’s Colin Minicus will represent DIII and James Wittmeyer of Mercyhurst represents DII. Virginia, Towson and Yale are the only programs with multiple grads represented with two each.
After the first roster release, the Outlaws were able to add two more rookies to the group heading to Annapolis. Two Army seniors were taken in the 2020 MLL Draft, but were marked Inactive for Military Service. Miles Silva and Tom Rigney were both moved to Active on the Denver roster and their immediately religionless first the shortened season.
12 other MLL rookies were drafted, but will remain “Protected” by the teams until 2021. These individuals didn’t fit the game plan for this summer for one reason or another but will still have a shot at next year. Five other draftees were selected during the MLL’s remote online draft in May, but contract terms have yet to be agreed upon. Only five individuals were selected by both leagues and chose to compete outside of the MLL.
2020 MLL Rookies
The 2020 MLL season will run the course of eight days, July 18-26, at Navy-Marine Corps Stadium in Annapolis, MD, home of the Chesapeake Bayhawks. Games will be broadcast on the
LaxAllStars.com will be covering the event each and every day, keep checking back for more pro lacrosse coverage and updates on the progress of the 2020 MLL rookies.
Follow the Pro Field Lacrosse Tracker to stay dialed in to where everyone is balling this summer.