At the US Lacrosse Convention, we caught up with several members of team USA. Today we feature New York Lizards faceoff man Greg Gurenlian.
How did you get started in lacrosse?
I started as a freshman in high school. I had a knack for facing off because of my wrestling background and I had quick hands naturally. I gravitated towards face-offs because the ball was already on the ground and I didn’t have to worry about catching or throwing it. I basically taught myself how to do it then tried to outwork everyone else and eventually get my stick skills up. I was fortunate enough to get an athletic scholarship at Penn State. While I was at Penn State, I kept getting better—I had great coaching. When I got drafted into the MLL, it was a natural fit for me. I liked the fact that it was a little bit rougher; the faceoffs were a little bit more of a grind. So, I feel like I am a better faceoff guy in the MLL than I was in college. I have been able to adapt really well over the years and that’s why I have been able to last so long because there is a really short shelf life for a faceoff guy.
Any advice for young players at the convention today?
I tell kids that this place is great because there is a lot of cool stuff to see—a lot of cool clothes, a lot of cool sticks. I always tell the kids don’t get too wrapped up in the fact that you’re a laxer—remember that you are an athlete. Get one stick that works really well; you see guys that throw crappy with four different sticks instead of just working with one. So I always tell them if you are a young guy get dialed in, learn how to string your own stick and worry more about its function because it doesn’t matter how cool your shorts are—no college coach is going to be impressed if you can’t throw and catch.
What is The Faceoff Academy?
Myself, Jerry Ragonese who is on the New York Lizards and Chris Mattes who is on the Florida Launch run The Faceoff Academy. We go all around the country and give all of the stuff we know now to kids that are nine and 10 years old.
Visit them on the web at: www.thefaceoffacademy.com