One Down! One To Go?By Heather Crowley
As Max Seibald stood on the field, the final seconds ticked off the clock on another championship game. The hard fought battle between two teams for a World Championship ended differently than every other title game in his career. With a victory over Team Canada in the World Games, Team USA midfielder Seibald finally got the championship monkey off his back.
A gold medal waited at the end.
For once, he got to jump on his teammates, hold up a trophy and see fans cheering in the stands for their new champions. There would be no hanging of the head or thoughts of lost opportunity, only lost gloves in the melee of elated winners. Vindication came for Seibald on an overcast Manchester day and for the first time of his 16 year lacrosse career his team was the last one standing in a championship clash.
“I think I hugged everyone on my team and staff at least three times,” Seibald said. “Everyone was just grabbing everyone and it didn’t stop for a while. I got to cut down the net and keep a piece for myself for the first time in my lacrosse career.”
Seibald is no stranger to heartbreak on the lacrosse field. During his career Seibald managed to make his way to the championship game on almost every level, but fell on the wrong side of the scoreboard. Last summer, in his rookie season, Seibald ‘s Denver Outlaws lost the Steinfeld Cup by one goal to the Toronto Nationals. In college, Cornell lost in perhaps the most dramatic Championship game in the history of the tournament in overtime to Syracuse. Even the Empire States games yielded a silver medal while he played in high school.
Despite the losses, Seibald’s talent was no mystery to those who watched or played against him. As a senior at Cornell, Seibald won the Tewaaraton Trophy and was consistently racking up individual accolades for his performance. Yet the elusive title never seemed to find the hardworking player. This year Seibald was selected to represent Team USA in Manchester, England in the FIL World Games and all that changed.
“Winning the gold is an amazing feeling, not much can compare,” Seibald said. “To be able to represent your country, and fight in your own way to defend its honor, and come out victorious is such a gratifying feeling. That experience has meant so much to me, and it was an absolute honor and also an extremely humbling experience to play wearing the red, white and blue, with the letters USA across my chest.”
In the MLL Seibald is known for his athleticism and speed, victimizing defenders with his ability to accelerate right to the net. The midfielder improved his shooting percentage significantly from his rookie season to his second year, going from .237 to .333. To date, Seibald has 16 goals and 25 points in just seven games. As a rookie the young player entered a Denver squad with numerous veterans and managed to be named captain of the team.
“I was honored and excited to find out that I was one of the Outlaws captains,” Seibald said. “I knew that meant that with the responsibility of being a captain also came high expectations, so I was ready to continue to work hard and put the team goals ahead of any of my personal goals. I think that in itself gave me more confidence in my game and led me to be more assertive on the field and in my leadership within the team.”
Although Seibald may star out west in Denver, he is quickly becoming one of the most recognizable faces on the lacrosse field. He is currently signed with Nike and is shooting a commercial that will feature some of the biggest stars in the sporting world, such as LeBron James and Robinson Cano. The speedy midfielder runs his own lacrosse camps, Maximum Lacrosse Camps, based on Long Island.
In the All-Star Game Seibald stole the spotlight during halftime. He grabbed attention in the lacrosse world when he tied Paul Rabil for the fastest shot at 111 MPH. Seibald prepared for the shot he knew could change the way fans viewed him and proved he could hang with the best shooter in the world.
“I believe I can compete with Rabil in any aspect of the game, especially the fastest shot contest,” Seibald said. “I am a competitor and I hate to lose, so going into it, yes I believed I could win (and I still do). As embarrassing as it is, I hurt myself on the second shot when I hit 111, so in the tie breaker shot, I gave it all I had left, but was working with a bummed ankle.”
Although the middie may need to wait another year to challenge Rabil’s shot, Seibald will get a chance at the Cannons this Saturday. Both teams have clinched playoff berths and are the top two seeds. If they both move forward to the MLL Championship game the captain will lead the Outlaws in their quest for their first ever Steinfeld Cup against the Cannons for the title.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
So who’s who on the Outlaws according to the captain?
The Joker - Ryan McFayden
The Quiet One - Lee Zink
The Genius - Connor Martin (Musical Genius)
The Stick Doctor - Coach Alex Smith
The Adventurer - Steve Giannone
The Family Man - Brian Langtry
The Popular One - Jesse Schwartzman
The Best Shooter - Drew Westervelt
2010 Major League Lacrosse Championship Weekend presented by Warrior
August 21-22, Annapolis, MD
For information and tickets go to www.majorleaguelacrosse.com