Famous for being a thrilling – yet extremely tough and competitive – sport that implies teamwork and closes physical contact, lacrosse is the oldest organized sport in North America and currently enjoys growing popularity, especially among high schools and colleges. In this post, we wanted to pay tribute to the best Lacrosse players of all time!
With a history that goes back to 1100 AD, the original aboriginal Canadian version faced two teams (each consisting of 100 -1,000 men) that played on a large field that could reach several kilometers. However, things have gone a long way since then. Now, there are four versions: field lacrosse, intercrosse, women’s lacrosse, and box lacrosse. Each version comes with its own set of rules, equipment, and field. But they all have something in common with their skills and toughness.
Below you can find a list of the best Lacrosse players of all time!
List of the Best Lacrosse Players of All Time
#1 Izzy Scane
Izzy was in sixth grade when she first picked up a lacrosse stick. Since there were no lacrosse camps for girls at that time, she started to attend boys camps together with her brothers, turning lacrosse into a family affair. Highly competitive and determined, Izzy was dreaming of getting to Northwestern.
Her dream came true during her high school freshman year. Despite being cut from the U-19 U.S. women’s national team in 2018, she continued to fight for her dream and, the following summers, helped the U.S. U-19 team win the gold medal in Canada!
Apart from being a team captain, the list of her accomplishments is impressive: four-year varsity athlete, three-time All-State honoree, the State record holder for career points, Team MVP (2017), two-time All-American, All-Midwest honoree (2015), All-Conference honoree, two-time State runner-ups (2015, 2016), Catholic League champions and State champions (2017, 2018), Big Ten Freshman of the Year (2019), the Tewaaraton Watch List for 2021.
Izzy will also participate in the try-outs for the 2022 U.S. women’s senior team. This lady seems unstoppable.
#2 Jen Adams
There are several adjectives that no one hesitates to use to describe Jen Adams: innovative, game-changer, spectacular. One of the best lacrosse players in history, Jen Adams managed to lead her team, the Maryland Terrapins, to 4 of the seven straight national titles.
Thanks to this fantastic performance, she won National Player of the Year three consecutive years. In addition, she was the first to win the Tewaaraton Trophy, an award given to the nation’s top player each year. As a senior, Jen was the unarguable national leader in both assists and goals.
At the end of her career, she held two NCAA records: scored 445 scored points and 178 assists. She is currently the head coach of Loyola University’s women’s lacrosse team.
#3 Michael Powell
This former American lacrosse star has played professional lacrosse for the Boston Cannons, the Baltimore Bayhawks, and the U.S. team in the World Lacrosse Championship (2002 and 2006). He made it to the All-World Team. Michael Powell stands out for being a four-time First Team All-American and being the only player to have won the Jack Turnbull Award four times in a row as a top attacker in Division I lacrosse.
Even if he was a finalist for the Tewaaraton Trophy on four different occasions, he managed to win the trophy twice.
While attending the Carthage Senior High School, Powell became a high school All-American and held several high school records: most points in a season in 2000 (194 points), most points in a game in 2000 (15 points), and most assists in a season in 1999 and 2000 (120 and 150 assists respectively). In 2000, Powell enrolled at Syracuse. He will soon become the only Syracuse player who won the W.H. Brine Award two times and Syracuse’s all-time leading scorer.
Surprisingly, after he graduated, Powell decided to pursue a career as a musician. However, in 2005, Powell joined the Baltimore Bayhawks and led his team to the league championship with Gary Gait by his side.
Powell holds several NCAA records: most career assists (34 in 13 games), 6th on SU’s career goal (150), 2nd single tournament assists (11 in 2004), and 2nd most career points (58).
But there is much more about Powell than his outstanding performance in the MLL and the LXM: he sings, paints, writes about lacrosse and makes films and videos.
#4 Gary Gait
Famous worldwide, not only as an exceptional lacrosse player but also as a highly-skilled coach, Gary Gait is the head coach of the men’s lacrosse team at Syracuse University.
During his exceptional career as a player, Gary Gait played for the Syracuse Orange during his college years and in the MLL and the NLL as a professional lacrosse player. During his college year, USILA named Gait an All-American four times. In addition, he led his team to NCAA DI Championships three times, won the NCAA Player of the Year twice (1988 and 1990), and was named NCAA Most Outstanding Player in 1990. When he graduated, Gary Gait was the all-time goal leader at Syracuse University with 192 career goals.
During his 17-year NLL career, Gait won Rookie of the Year (1991), league MVP honors for five years in a row, and All-Pro honors during each season from 1995 to 1999. But there’s more to this legend: he led the league in both points and goals seven times and won three league championships. At the end of his indoor career, he led the league with 1,091 points.
From 2001 to 2005, Gait played in MLL, winning co-MVP honors (2005) and the league title three times. In 2006, Gait helped Canada win its first World Lacrosse Championship since 1978.
Due to his outstanding career and performance, Gait was included in the National Lacrosse League Hall of Fame and the U.S. Lacrosse National Hall of Fame.
Gary became famous for masterly using plays such as behind-the-back shots and passes with his twin brother, Paul. Paul and Gary are also famous for the “Air Gait”, an acrobatic scoring move and would later be banned in NCAA play.
#5 Paul Rabil
Famous not only for his successful career as a professional lacrosse player but also for being the founder of PLL (2019) and fighting for better wages that would allow lacrosse players to play the game full-time, Paul Rabil is considered by many one of the best players to grace this game.
Paul fell in love with the game when he was only 12 years old. In 2004, he became a professional lacrosse player, winning the WCAC championship four times and various MLL Offensive Player of the Year and MLL MVP titles.
By 2014, Rabil had already been named All-Star team seven years in a row and MLL First-Team All-Pro for six consecutive years. His MLL career comprises two Steinfeld Cup Champion (2011 and 2015), ten times All-Star Game (from 2008 to 2017), nine times First-Team All-Pro (from 2009 to 2017), two MLL MVP (2009 and 2011), and three times Offensive Player of the Year (2009, 2011, and 2012). His NLL achievements include the Champion’s Cup Champion in 2010 and two All-Star Game (2011 and 2012).
In 2011, Rabil won the MLL Bud Light Skills Competition and the MLL Fastest Shot Competition, becoming the first player ever to win them both. This was also when he decided to establish the Paul Rabil Foundation, a foundation to help children who struggle with learning difficulties by offering scholarships and creating lacrosse programs.
Even though Rabil decided to retire as a professional lacrosse player in September 2021, he will continue to support and work for the PLL league he co-founded.
#6 Matt Poskay
As a high school player, Matt Poskay held the national record for scored goals (362), which he managed to hold for almost ten years. But lacrosse was not the only sport Poskay was good at while in high school. He also played quarterback on the football team and point guard for the basketball team.
During his college years at the University of Virginia, Poskay was named an All-American two times and participated in the Division I NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Championship as part of his college team in 2003 and 2006. Selected by the Boston Cannons in 2006, he was named Rookie of the Year by his team. The following year, Poskay was named a MLL All-Star as well as the MLL All-Star Game MVP. In 2008, Poskay was called once again to the MLL All-Star team.
Poskay started his coaching career as an assistant coach, first at Arthur L. Johnson High School and then at Drew University. In 2011, Poskay became the Head Coach of Wagner College’s men’s lacrosse team. In 2018, Matt Poskay became the Head Coach of Montclair State University’s lacrosse team.
Among his achievements as a lacrosse player, we can highlight National Champion twice, MLL Offensive Player of the Year, and MLL Player of the Year. In 2013, Matt Poskay became the youngest inductee into the New Jersey Lacrosse Hall of Fame. He was only 29 years old.
#7 Jim Brown
One man, four sports, a legendary athlete status. Typically, is not difficult to classify and treat an athlete under one heading. But this is not the case with Jim Brown. While at Syracuse University, Jim Brown actively played no less than four sports: football, track, lacrosse, and basketball.
However, he will excel at two of them: football and lacrosse. Even if, back in 1971, his exceptional skills and accomplishments would help him make it in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, he was passionate about lacrosse. In Brown’s final year at Syracuse, he won All-America honors in both lacrosse and football.
Jim Brown started playing lacrosse at Manhasset High School as a midfielder. Gifted with outstanding toughness, speed, and agility, there is no wonder that he won three All-Star honors. While playing at Syracuse, he became an All-American twice (1956 and 1957).
Nonetheless, his skills on the field are far from fully mirroring his impact on the game. Brown broke the race barrier and became the first Afro-American player to be inducted into the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 1983. In 1965, Brown shocked the world when he announced his retirement from football. He was only 30 years old and at the height of his athletic abilities. However, he wanted to pursue an acting career, starring in movies such as The Dirty Dozen, Dark of the Sun, The Split, Three the Hard Way, or The Slams.
In 2011, Jim Brown’s influence and accomplishments won him the Tewaaraton Legend Award. Currently, Jim Brown entered a partnership with the PLL, a tour-based lacrosse league set up by two other lacrosse legends: Mike and Paul Rabil. In addition, Jim Brown serves as an ambassador and adviser for the PLL’s Assist Program, a program to foster inclusive and healthy communities.
We hope you enjoyed our list of best Lacrosse players of all time. We would like to hear about your favorite in the comment section and don’t forget to share the post with your friends who are also into Lacrosse!
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