USA Profile: Michael Simon
Weight: 230 lbs
Position: Long Stick Midfield / Defense
School: Stevenson University
If I were to ask about Michael Simon, what could the average lacrosse enthusiast tell me? On a roster filled with great names like Paul Rabil, Matt Danowski, Ned Crotty, and Michael Evans, its hard to come across a name of someone the average fan knows a great deal about. The lacrosse pedigree in the group is strong, the names have been made since their days in college, and they are thriving as professionals now. Michael has taken the road less traveled and is now coming into his own as a professional.
Michael Simon was a high school defenseman out of Fallston High School in Maryland. He had played some good competition in the Maryland Public School League, but was not highly recruited. He set his sights on Villa Julie College and entered with the likelihood of seeing the field relatively early. Maybe an even better volleyball player, Michael had to harness his athletic ability into the defense schemes that coach Tim Puls had designed for the team.
This is where I first encountered Michael Simon on the field. I was watching as a proud alumnus as the Mustangs were playing in M&T Bank Stadium, home of the Baltimore Ravens, against rival Cabrini. Villa Julie ended up on the wrong end of a dominating win by Cabrini, but what I took away from the game is that there could be something more to this kid.
The next time I encountered Michael, I was beginning my college coaching career. The team had a lot of parts, but they were not adjusting to working as a whole. The athleticism in that team was evident and we started the season off well, defeating the reigning National Champion Cortland, at our field. The guys were excited and new this could be a long season. Unfortunately injuries ran deep and we didn’t get very far. You could see the light shine on some of the players as they saw success and were beginning to work to get there.
Michael Simon’s Senior Season was a banner year for now Stevenson University. He was the unquestioned leader on defense and he would be allowed to hound opposing players all over the field. The up-tempo style the team used required Michael and the rest of the defense to always push transition. He was running more now than he ever had in his life.
The fateful day arrived that I think brought Michael Simon to a place where he was finally hitting his stride. Our rival was without a doubt Salisbury and we enjoyed these games on every level. Michael had the assignment to guard Kylor Berkman, who already had more points than anyone in lacrosse and was garnering awards left and right. Berkman met his match. Michael in three games against Salisbury held Berkman to five points. I can even remember an article written by the Baltimore Sun where Berkman was quoted as saying we used “junk defenses” against him. Our junk defense was Michael Simon going one on one against Kylor Berkman. Michael had a good laugh about that one, but it wasn’t the recognition that he deserved.
Michael Simon at this point became an All-American, an Academic All-American, and played in the North-South All Star Game. He had worked so hard to earn the awards that he did, but would this be the end of the line for him. Michael wanted to keep playing and wanted to be the athlete he was destined to be. What to do next? After playing club ball with Magerks and other teams and leagues, he knew that he wanted to keep playing. Answer solved.
The open tryouts for the Chesapeake Bayhawks became the target and Michael hit that full speed ahead. He earned a practice roster spot on the team, but that also requires to be flexible, not disappointed in the many roster moves that require him to be waived, and the resignings. Michael preserved and continued on.
The Bayhawks playoff run in 2012 would be the welcoming party for Michael Simon within the professional lacrosse ranks. The semi-final pitted Michael with the chore of defending against Paul Rabil. The Vegas odds were on Rabil, but in the end Michael and the Bayhawks shut their opponents down and won the MLL Title.
A regular on the Bayhawks game day roster, Michael is enjoying the fun and dedication it takes to be a professional athlete. Running out of the tunnel and high-fiving kids is all a part of the professional game and Michael is enjoying where his career has taken him.
Now the USA tryouts came and Michael was on the list of invitees to make up the national team. The paperwork was in and Michael had just come off a terrific Bayhawks season, in which the team won their second consecutive title. The injury bug hit him twice this season, the last coming during the semi-final, which held him out of the championship game. Undeterred Michael played as he always does, with all the ability he has and with that chip on this shoulder to prove that he deserves to be on the field with the players that everyone sees on TV and in magazines.
Michael Simon is on the list of 53 hopefuls still with the opportunity to don the Red, White, and Blue for his country. He continually works out with the regular household names of lacrosse and does so not as a wanna be, but as someone who has earned his stripes. As Jay Dyer pushes him to his limits, Michael understands that it is only furthering his career and his ability.
I want to go on record that I admire the way Michael has dedicated himself to be the best person he can. It shows on the field, but if you get the chance to meet Michael off the field, his energy and enthusiasm is contagious. He walks around with a smile that denotes that he has reached maybe the highest level of the game he loves to play. Its been a journey that required more strength and dedication than he had previously given. Michael Simon has made a name for himself and has given those playing lower levels than the Virginia’s and Hopkins a path to reaching their potential.