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SALT LAKE CITY, UT — Utah LC held their tryouts today at Salt Lake City Regional Athletic Complex. Last year’s Tewaaraton winner and NCAA Division I National Champion Matt Rambo was in attendance as a guest coach and evaluator.
Rambo brought a wealth of knowledge and experience to the tryouts. Said Utah LC coach Aaron Ika of having Rambo help with evaluations, “It’s awesome.” Rambo also coached a private session with the Corner Canyon Boys High School Lacrosse team. “He talked to them a lot about how important being a team is over being an individual, which was great to hear from someone of his caliber,” said Ika. “It was great to hear from someone else besides me or their parents about how important their grades were.”
While the name Utah LC is relatively new, the organization itself has existed for awhile on the Utah lacrosse scene. Ika discussed how the evolution of the club went from names like Utah Starz, Utah Select, Utah Prime, and Utah Elite. Utah Blackhawks and 212 Lacrosse have helped pave the way as well. “It’s been a collaborative effort by everyone to keep lacrosse going in the state.”
Utah LC partnered with Legends Lacrosse, allowing legends like Rambo to be brought in. Players such as Rambo, Dylan Molloy, and Colin Heacock have partnered with Legends, hoping to accomplish “raising the bar for lacrosse training, competition, and exposure” according to Legends’ website.
Ika spoke about the opportunities it has brought Utah players, “We’ve had four kids this summer go and work with the Baltimore Crabs, and they were able to tour Towson, Loyola, Maryland, and Hopkins,” said Ika. “They had access to their coaches, tour their facilities, and got to learn first hand what it is like being on the east coast playing lacrosse.”
When asked about the growth of lacrosse in Utah, as well as the University of Utah adding a men’s Division I lacrosse program, Rambo got excited. “This is a huge step,” said Rambo. “Just growing the game all over the country is the next step. It’s unbelievable. It’s awesome. I love it.”
Even though Rambo went to one of the biggest names in Division I lacrosse, he offered this piece of advice to players hoping to play at the college level, “The recruiting process is tricky. You should go where it fits perfectly for you, not just because of the big name school.”
Rambo also commented on how it takes more to set a player apart during the recruiting process. “It’s just how you respond. After you score a goal, are you thanking your teammate who set you up? If you make a mistake, what are you going to do after that?” said Rambo. “[Coaches] want to see you get up and make the next play because everyone makes mistakes.”
If there is a take-away from Rambo’s story, it is to persevere. “As a little kid I used to always play in the backyard and pretend I was in a national championship setting. I’ve been there twice before and didn’t get it done.” said Rambo. “I was heartbroken.” Finally, in the last college game of his career, Rambo brought home the title. “It was the typical line, ‘It’s a dream come true,’” said Rambo. “Winning it with all your brothers and your family and you’ve worked so hard for eight months working up to it, words can’t describe the feeling. A lot of emotions, all happy.”
Rambo shared advice to the Utah lacrosse community on being successful at the Division I level. “It comes with a lot of practice and hard work. Everyone can put in the hard work in practice with your team, but a lot of it is what you can do on your own,” said Rambo. Rambo added that it takes putting in “time and effort” every day, developing skills like shooting and stickwork.
Please visit Utah LC’s website for more information on future tryout dates, as well as other news and info.