We’ve been debating the talent and impact of a lot of lacrosse players this summer with mock drafts, All-Pro teams, and coverage of both pro leagues. Let’s keep thinking forward here. Between the The World Games 2020, and the 2023 World Lacrosse Championship, we’ve got multiple opportunities coming up for the boys in Red, White and Blue to defend their 2018 title. A new Team USA is on the horizon and that’s worth talking about, even now.
However, the years pass, players age, and new players emerge onto the scene. It’s time to build our theoretical 2022 World Games roster for the United States, assuming they will participating with the roster they plan to use the following summer. As of now, we still don’t know the format that The World Games is planning to use for the event. Thanks to the coronavirus shutdowns, all World Lacrosse events have been pushed back a year, moving the 2022 men’s field championships to 2023.
Either way, we will see Team USA back on the lacrosse field soon enough.
Picking Team USA
The rules here are simple: follow the same 23-man roster format that was used in 2018. We’ll match the positional breakdown to the one that Coach Danowski used last time. That’s it.
Other than that, nobody is safe (okay, fine, Tom Schreiber is safe). Let’s do this thing!
The USA carried four players listed as true attackmen in 2018: Rob Pannell, Jordan Wolf, Ryan Brown, and Marcus Holman.
We get four attack spots up for grabs. The first of those is the X spot, a.k.a. the quarterback. Rob Pannell held this spot down for the previous USA team, and he’s a candidate this go-round as well. He’ll be 32 by the 2022 World Championships. Unfortunately for the Atlas X-man, he’s not my pick this time. No, instead, I’m going with the PLL Rookie of the Year for 2022.
Yes, friends, welcome Grant Ament (Archers LC, Penn State ‘20) to Team USA.
Next up, we’re going to go ahead and keep one of the returners from the 2018 squad. A speed demon, a jack-of-all-trades attackman, and one of the best in the game, Jordan Wolf (Chrome LC, Duke ‘14) makes the roster again. He’s only going to be 30. That’s plenty of youth to hang around with the young guns.
Two spots left. We need a finisher. Ryan Brown played this role to the tune of a 2018 Worlds scoring title. He’s a strong contender to keep his job for 2022. He had a rough Championship Series, but so did the entire Atlas offense, so hard to hold that against him. But this time around, I want a lefty on the roster in the attack. So, we’re turning to Justin Guterding (Chrome LC, Duke ‘18) for our finisher role. I mean, guys, he wrapped his Duke career as the NCAA’s all-time leader in goals scored. Plus the chemistry with Wolf should be a great addition.
With our last spot, we’ve got a wildcard. We can really pick anybody for this one. There are so many options. Holman had a good 2018 for the USA. Brown is an amazing shooter. Other names I considered including, but wasn’t limited to, were: Ryder Garnsey, Michael Sowers, Kieran McArdle, Jules Heningberg, and (despite what happened with Chaos) Connor Fields.
But, c’mon, did you really think we were going to leave the thicc lord himself off the list? Matt Rambo (Whipsnakes LC, Maryland ‘17) is going to answer that (honestly super lame) Twitter challenge from Paul Rabil and go win himself a title with the USA. That’s our attack group.
2022 attack unit: Grant Ament, Justin Guterding, Matt Rambo, and Jordan Wolf
In 2018, Coach Danowski tapped six players for the offensive midfield: Paul Rabil, Tom Schreiber, John Haus, Matt Danowski, Ned Crotty, Drew Snider.
The first one is super obvious, and requires no other explanation except for his nickname. Captain America, come on down! So, with Tom Schreiber (Archers LC, Princeton ‘14) on the roster, we’ve got five spots. The middie group from 2018 is going to be pretty old for 2022, so we’re going to swap out a good number of these guys. The only returner we’re keeping outside of Schreiber is John Haus (Whipsnakes LC, Maryland ‘13) who remains one of the PLL’s most under-rated players.
Four spots to go, four new guys. Our next two guys are guys that can do a bit of everything. Both are strong defenders when called upon, but just as likely to find the back of the net. With a limited roster, having guys that can fill multiple roles is a huge bonus. So, our next two picks are our jack-of-all-trades guys. The first joins his fellow 2020 rookie phenom in Ament on our roster, as we welcome Bryan Costabile (Atlas LC, Notre Dame ‘20). The next is the anti-tilt god himself. Welcome Christian Mazzone (Archers LC, Rutgers ‘18) to our middie stable.
Two spots to go, and this opens up a different kind of multi- role player. In 2018, two players were listed as A/M, and so we’re looking for guys here that can do anything on offense. The first of these only has one proven season of pro production, but what a season it was. In our first MLL pick of the roster, we welcome Daniel Bucaro (Denver Outlaws, Georgetown ‘19) to the team.
That leaves us with one middie spot up for grabs, at least offensively.
Now, a lot of people are going to assume that I’m picking a Redwoods midfielder here. Sergio Perkovic and Myles Jones are going to have a lot of hype. But the international rules don’t have a two-point line, which really makes Perk just a lot less useful. Jones could easily be the choice here, but I’m going outside the box on this one. We’re sticking with Duke (hi, Danowski!) but in a different way. We’ve got a bunch of Whipsnakes. We’ve got a bunch of Duke. So, with our final pick, and with an A/M player in mind, the best mustache in lacrosse heads down joins the national roster. We complete our offensive midfield with Brad Smith (Whipsnakes LC, Duke ‘19).
2022 offensive midfield unit: Tom Schreiber, John Haus, Bryan Costabile, Christian Mazzone, Daniel Bucaro, and Brad Smith
With his third(?) retirement seeming to be permanent this time, we lose Beast. In 2018, the USA suited up Greg Gurenlian and Trevor Baptiste. Trevor Baptiste (Atlas LC, Denver ‘18) keeps his job for 2018. I briefly considered replacing him with Max Adler or Alex Woodall, but not yet. The other spot is another one of those super obvious locks, barring injury. TD Ierlan (Yale ‘21) is the best FOS I’ve ever personally seen. He’s going to play for the Americans sooner rather than later.
2020 face-off unit: Trevor Baptiste and TD Ierlan
Between SSDMs and LSMs, the United States carried six defensive midfielders for 2018: Michael Ehrhardt, Kyle Hartzell, Joel White, Jake Bernhardt, Steve DeNapoli, and Kevin Unterstein. For the record, that’s three LSMs and three SSDMs.
Now, in our third super obvious lock barring injury, we’re bringing back Michael Ehrhardt (Whipsnakes LC, Maryland ‘14) for 2022. He’s arguably the best long stick in the world. Period.
Our remaining LSM spots are really difficult to figure out. Our next guy will be a new face to the squad, though it should surprise no one to find Scott Ratliff (Archers LC, Loyola ‘13) on our roster. Rat and Ehrhardt could both honestly just run on offense and the USA would probably be fine. Our last choice is a really difficult one, at least for me. Reece Eddy had a fantastic debut season in the PLL. He could develop into a monster. CJ Costabile is a Duke guy, which seems to benefit him, and he’s another offensive threat, which is always fun. But, because I believe in him to come back, and because Ryan Conwell would kill me if I didn’t do this, our final LSM for 2022 will be Joel White (PLL free agent, Syracuse ‘11).
Two SSDM spots to fill.
Although I could totally see Bernhardt returning, I’ll be selecting two brand-new SSDMs, which is a near-impossible challenge considering the insane crop of SSDM talent out there right now. So, to shout out a bunch of dudes I considered, here were my cut nominees: Bernhardt, Dominique Alexander, Isiah Davis-Allen, Will Haus, Matt Whitcher, and many others.
But, we had to find two guys, and we have. The first might be one of the best defenders in the world regardless of stick length, and the 2020 MLL Defensive Player of the Year trophy on his shelf helps his case. So, Zach Goodrich (Boston Cannons, Towson ‘19) becomes our first. Our second? Well, we’ll see if he can make a little time for the country alongside a stunning pro career and a budding medical career. Our second SSDM will be Tyler Warner (Whipsnakes LC, Yale ‘18). Finally, with our last pick of the SSDMs, we’re going back to the well of Golden Domers, and selecting Jack Near (Redwoods LC, Notre Dame ‘15) as our final SSDM.
2022 defensive midfield unit: Michael Ehrhardt, Scott Ratliff, Joel White, Zach Goodrich, Tyler Warner, Jack Near
Three close defensemen made the trip in 2018 for the USA: Tucker Durkin, Jesse Bernhardt, and Joe Fletcher. Yup, we don’t even get to sub with these dudes.
That’s where it benefits the USA to have those insane LSMs we snagged earlier. So, out of the entire world of defenders, we need to pick just three for this list. In doing so, we’re taking a rather bold move here, and returning a whopping zero close defensemen.
Our apologies to the 2018 World Champions.
Who we replace them with is another story. Our first pick was also the PLL’s pick for the best close defender, as we lock up Matt Dunn (Whipsnakes LC, Maryland ‘16). Our second pick joining him will be our third Notre Dame man, as we take Eddy Glazener (Redwoods LC, Notre Dame ‘16) to Team America. Our last pick is a tough one. Again, there are so many good defenders. With apologies to Jack Rowlett, who narrowly missed the cut, our final defenseman for 2022 will be Matthew McMahon (Archers LC, Penn ‘15).
2022 defense unit: Matt Dunn, Eddy Glazener, Matthew McMahon
Last but certainly not least, our goalies. The 2018 team had John Galloway and Jack Kelly. Should Kelly get healthy again, he could be a contender again. Never count out Galloway making a return either. Still, though, I will be fully replacing the goalies, and thus the entire close defense.
But I mean, c’mon, this pairing isn’t obvious? The two best goalies in the world right now are both American. Blaze Riorden (Chaos LC, Albany ‘16) is the back-to-back PLL Goalie of the Year. He’s on the team. Hell, he can even run a little shorty if you get desperate (Please! C’mon!).
Our last roster spot is just as easy of a call, as we round out our 23-man roster with Kyle Bernlohr (Whipsnakes LC, Maryland ‘16).
2022 goalie unit: Blaze Riorden, Kyle Bernlohr
Too Early Team USA Roster: 2022-2023
An alphabetical 23-man roster of the hopeful Team USA selections as decided by LaxAllStars:
- Grant Ament
- Trevor Baptiste
- Kyle Bernlohr
- Daniel Bucaro
- Bryan Costabile
- Matt Dunn
- Michael Ehrhardt
- Eddy Glazener
- Zach Goodrich
- Justin Guterding
- John Haus
- TD Ierlan
- Christian Mazzone
- Matthew McMahon
- Jack Near
- Matt Rambo
- Scott Ratliff
- Blaze Riorden
- Tom Schreiber
- Brad Smith
- Tyler Warner
- Joel White
- Jordan Wolf