The top lacrosse stars will take the field Thursday for the 2014 Major League Lacrosse All-Star Game in Boston.
Starting in 2006, the MLL All-Stars began a tradition of clashing with the U.S. men's national team every four years in preparation for the World Lacrosse Championship, which the U.S. has won nine of 11 times with Canada taking the other two titles.
This marks the third time Team USA will collide with the MLL All-Stars, who are still looking for their first victory over the national squad. They'll get another chance at Harvard Stadium this Thursday.
When: Thursday, June 26 at 7:30 p.m. ET (Skills competition begins at approximately 8:30 p.m.)
Location: Harvard Stadium, Boston, Massachusetts
TV: CBS Sports Network
The sport's premier talent, featuring multiple representatives from all eight teams, will all lace up to showcase the young league, which began play in 2001. Here are the full rosters for each squad along with a highlighted look at a few of the marquee players to watch.
|Joe Walters||M||Chesapeake Bayhawks|
|Jordan Burke||G||Boston Cannons|
|Michael Manley||D||Rochester Rattlers|
|Joel White||LSM||Rochester Rattlers|
|Justin Turri||M||Rochester Rattlers|
|Drew Westervelt||A||Chesapeake Bayhawks|
|Eric Law||A||Denver Outlaws|
|Peter Baum||M||Ohio Machine|
|Brodie Merrill||LSM||Boston Cannons|
|Kevin Drew||A||Charlotte Hounds|
|Jeremy Sieverts||M||Denver Outlaws|
|Logan Schuss||A||Ohio Machine|
|Kevin Clowley||M||Florida Launch|
|Brett Queener||G||Florida Launch|
|Ryan Flanagan||LSM||Charlotte Hounds|
|Tom Schreiber||M||Ohio Machine|
|John Ortolani||FO||Rochester Rattlers|
|Matt Danowski||A||Charlotte Hounds|
|Brett Schmidt||D||Charlotte Hounds|
|Anthony Kelly||FO||Denver Outlaws|
|Mike Simon||LSM||Denver Outlaws|
|Steven DeNapoli||M||New York Lizards|
|Kyle Sweeney||D||Boston Cannons|
|Kevin Unterstein||M||New York Lizards|
|Marcus Holman||A||Ohio Machine|
|Brendan Mundorf||A||Chesapeake Bayhawks|
|Matt Abbott||SSDM||Chesapeake Bayhawks|
|Dan Burns||SSDM||Chesapeake Bayhawks|
|Greg Gurenlian||FO||New York Lizards|
|Steele Stanwick||A||Ohio Machine|
|Garrett Thul||A||Florida Launch|
|Matt Mackrides||A||Chesapeake Bayhawks|
|Drew Adams||G||New York Lizards|
|John Galloway||G||Rochester Rattlers|
|Joe Adams||D||New York Lizards|
|Kyle Harrison||SSDM||Ohio Machine|
|Kevin Leveille||A||Rochester Rattlers|
|Mitch Beslisle||D||Boston Cannons|
|Ned Crotty||A||New York Lizards|
|Drew Snider||M||Denver Outlaws|
|Chris Eck||FO||Boston Cannons|
|Brian Karalunas||D||New York Lizards|
|Kevin Buchanan||M||Boston Cannons|
|Jeff Reynolds||SSDM||Chesapeake Bayhawks|
|Lee Zink||D||Denver Outlaws|
|David Lawson||M||Rochester Rattlers|
|Michael Evans||D||Chesapeake Bayhawks|
|Jesse Bernhardt||D||Chesapeake Bayhawks|
|JoJo Marasco||M||New York Lizards|
|Max Seibald||M||New York Lizards|
|Tucker Durkin||D||Florida Launch|
|KyleHartzell||D||New York Lizards|
|Jesse Schwartzman||G||Denver Outlaws|
|Paul Rabil||M||Boston Cannons|
Stars to Watch: Team USA
Paul Rabil, Midfield, Boston Cannons
Paul Rabil has earned the right to be deemed the face of professional lacrosse in the United States.
The three-time MLL Offensive Player of the Year winner cemented himself as a superstar from the second the Boston Cannons drafted him in 2008. Rabil has tallied 15 goals, one two-point goal and a MLL-best 24 assists, leading the league with 40 points.
Four years ago, he earned Most Outstanding Player honors for Team USA in a second-place finish to Canada. Gearing up for another run on the national squad, he'll look to avenge that loss.
The numbers speak for his dominance, but he has looked to expand lacrosse's popularity off the field. According to LaxMagazine.com's Corey McLaughlin, he became the first player to become a millionaire through lacrosse- and endorsement-related income, which the 28-year-old attributed to reaching out to a younger demographic.
As the sport makes that push to become a mainstream recognized sport, you have to cross certain boundaries and get out of your comfort zone. Part of our challenge is being able to effectively communicate to the younger generation that a professional lacrosse athlete is just as good of an athlete as football or basketball. That drive isn't lost at the college level any more. That title might take a different approach to articulating that.
He'll lead the charge branding the All-Star festivities in a tune-up match for Team USA. A gifted passer who has resoundingly enhanced his unselfishness over the years, look for Rabin to shine the spotlight on his teammates.
Jesse Schwartzman, Goalie, Denver Outlaws
If Rabil if the offensive star, Jesse Schwartzman deserves top billing for protecting the net.
In the past five years, Schwartzman is the only goalie to allow less than 10 goals per game over a season, a feat he accomplished three times. This year, his 8.50 goals allowed average represents a career best, as does his .663 save percentage.
After going 14-0 under his watch last season before losing in the playoffs, Denver is 7-0 with him guarding the post this year. The 28-year-old, who was Rabil's teammate at Johns Hopkins, is simply playing on another level.
The 220-pound goalie is a brick wall guarding the net, one that the MLL All-Stars will struggle to circumvent. Look for him to make a convincing case to serve as Team USA's starting goalie during the World Lacrosse Championship.
Star to Watch: MLL All-Stars
Eric Law, Attack, Denver Outlaws
Used to enjoying Schwartzman's defensive protection, Eric Law will now have to find a way to get the ball past his Denver teammate.
Law's 22 goals only trail Boston's Kevin Buchanan, who will line up for Team USA during the All-Star Game. The Outlaws' star also has 11 assists to his credit, giving the second-year pro a gripe for not holding a spot on the national squad.
He quickly burst onto the scene during his rookie campaign, scoring on his first nine shots en route to posting a league-leading .636 shooting percentage. His 24 goals scored set an Outlaws rookie record.
While his conversion rate has dropped down to 52.4 percent, he remains the league's most efficient scorer. Only three players have generated higher clips, and none of them have attempted more than eight shots this season.
Perhaps deemed too inexperienced, the 23-year-old has proved that his success was not a flash in the pan. If the same All-Star format persists, expect Law to play for the other side in four years.
While this format gives Team USA a chance to practice for the world championships, it also creates a mismatch with the country's best players all lining up on one side. Because of this, Team USA will pick up another win over the MLL All-Stars, which are a second-tier squad in comparison to the real superstars lined up against them.
Note: All statistics and scheduling info courtesy of Major League Lacrosse.