By Paul Ryan | 2/7/14 1:30 PM
The 30-man roster for the US Men’s National Team has been named, but not without its fair share of questions. Several players were snubbed of roster spots, but that was bound to happen with such a talented pool of players to choose from. Here are some thoughts on the 30-man roster and who they might take for the final 23.
But before the roster is trimmed down, be sure to catch Team USA at the 2014 MLL All-Star Game on June 26 at Harvard Stadium (TICKETS HERE)
Paul Rabil, Rob Pannell and several others have been locks since the roster was nearly 100. It’s not surprising at all to see these guys here, but after them, who else was a complete lock? That just goes to show how deep US Lacrosse has become.
Returnees not a Guarantee
Only four of the nine players from the 2010 roster made the team, with Rabil, Max Seibald, Ned Crotty and Brendan Mundorf making the 30. The biggest surprise of the returnees not to make the cut was Drew Westervelt, who as I said right before the selection, would give the US a size advantage up front, along with a great skill set. The other guys not to make it were Chris Schiller, Stephen Peyser, Matt Striebel and Kyle Sweeney.
Wait, only one FOGO?
With Greg Gurenlian’s injury, many wondered who would replace him. The answer turned out to be no one, unless the US was looking to take one faceoff man the entire time. Chris Eck is certainly one of the best in the business at what he does, but if Eck gets injured in Denver, then what? The Americans might have put themselves in a tough spot with this one.
The Youth Movement
The US really went for the young guns in 2014, and why not? With so much young talent coming through the ranks, it’s not hard to see why the coaching staff loves the kids. Only two players over the age of 30 made the penultimate roster.
To break down the numbers, 13 of the 30 players on the roster are 24 or younger. Seven players that made their MLL debuts in 2013 are among the group, while another player is still in college. The average age of this roster is 26 years old, which is nearly a year younger than the average age in 2010.
Who was the biggest snub?
Let’s face it: all of these guys should have the chance to represent the US. It’s a shame they couldn’t split the Americans into two teams so we could see all of them in action. There really were no snubs in the traditional sense of the word, but there were some guys left off that have impressive resumes that are hard to overlook.
To me, the list comes down to three: Westervelt, Jeremy Sieverts and Kip Turner. Again, Westervelt was fifth in the entire league in points last year with 48. His 36 goals were a career high. He’s a goal-scoring machine that has also made a name for himself in the playoffs (five goals during Champ Weekend last year).
Sieverts has really found his game in the past two years, scoring 26 goals in 2012 and 27 in 2013. His scoring from the midfield (fourth in MLL in 2013) could sorely be missed. Turner, on the other hand, has proven his worth in the postseason and that’s exactly what the World Championships are. Turner’s clutch play and timely saves could have been an asset for the US.
What MLL Coaches think
“It is a credit to the MLL that so many guys were so successful in making the US team. Our players are the best in the world.” Dave Cottle – Chesapeake Bayhawks
“I’m extremely excited to see so many MLL players making it to the 30-man roster for Team USA but especially excited to see Garrett Thul and Tucker Durkin on that list. They both have excelled at every chance through the process thus far and no doubt will continue on that path. I wish all the players the best of luck trying to make the final 23-man roster and seeing Team USA in action this summer in Denver.” Stan Ross – Florida Launch
“The fact that the MLL is the home of the best lacrosse players in the world is once again proven with 28 of the 30 players chosen for the USA Team coming from the MLL. It is also very obvious that one could take 30 of the MLL players who did not make the roster and compete with anyone in the world with the likes of Danowski, Westervelt and Sieverts.” Tony Seaman – Denver Outlaws
“The Ohio Machine is very proud of Marcus and Steele and their accomplishment of making the 30-man roster cut,” said Machine Head Coach Bear Davis. “Marcus and Steele have great passion for the game and invest a lot of time in developing their craft. I believe both players bring a youthful excitement to the Team USA roster.” Bear Davis – Ohio Machine
"The Hounds were excited to have so many players on the USA training squad. It is a difficult process to narrow down the roster with so many talented players. I have great faith that Coach Meade and his staff will be ready to compete for a Gold medal this summer in Denver" Mike Cerino - Charlotte Hounds
If it was difficult to cut the group from 52 to 30, it might be downright impossible to condense it to 23. The final seven trimmed from the roster won’t know for another five months, which could make it even more heartbreaking. Looking at the 30-man roster, I think they’ll cut two attackers, two midfielders, two defenders and one goalie. Who are the guys to be cut? Your guess is as good as mine.