This past weekend the Ohio Machine began its 2012 inaugural season training camp.
Players came in from all over the country ranging from California to Maryland to Florida. On top of a wide array of states, the players also have a wide array of Major League Lacrosse experience. The roster consists of eight players who have played four or more years in the MLL. Although the team roster is filled with veterans, this was the first training camp experience for many players on the team. “We are just getting into it but being my first training camp, it’s been super exciting and I’m really looking forward to the season starting,” said first-year midfielder Will Harrington.
As soon as the players landed on Saturday, they were taken to OSU Morehouse Medical Plaza to meet the highly-talented Wexner Medical Center team led by team doctor, Dr. Paul Gubanich, for team physicals and top of the line sports performance testing.
On Sunday the players arrived to Upper Arlington High School at 7:00 a.m. to prepare for the first day of day of tryouts. The players began the day by working on various fundamentals and ended training camp with a full field scrimmage. “We started out working on a lot of recognition and communication drills, things where the players had to connect the dots together and start playing team lacrosse,” said Head Coach Ted Garber.
For some of the players just having the opportunity to compete for a spot was a great experience. “I just graduated last May and now I’m trying out for a Major League Lacrosse team,” said former Assumption College goalie Scott Vogel. “I watched most of these guys on TV and being able to play with them and face their shots is pretty cool.”
Training camp also served as an arena for players to showcase their skills. During practice, goalie Stefan Schroder served as a vocal leader within the net. Afterwards Schroder stressed the importance of good communication. “Communication is the most important job for a goalie. I have to make sure the defense is on the same page so they know what they need to do. The less I talk, the harder my job is.”
Besides working on the X’s and O’s, the players also worked on building their team chemistry. “It’s great to see everyone on the field and it’s the first step to becoming a close-knit team,” said Machine President John Algie. “We don’t just look at an individual’s skills but at how their skills fit within the team.”
Sunday’s practice also marked the return to Upper Arlington for several of the Machine players. Defensemen Brett Hughes, Max Schmidt and Brian Yontz and midfielder Brady Williams each returned to their high school alma mater after completing outstanding lacrosse careers at Upper Arlington.
“It was incredible. I was thinking about it this morning and it’s a dream come true,” said former Maryland defenseman Max Schmidt. “You dream as a kid to play professional lacrosse and this field is where I was born and raised and where I learned all I know. Coach Teddy Wolford has been a huge staple in my career and for him to be here was really special.”
The players will return to Upper Arlington High School next Sunday and will continue to vie for the 31 roster spots on Sunday with one goal in mind.
“Our goal is simple: winning a MLL Championship,” said 10-year MLL veteran Andrew “Buggs” Combs. “All we need is heart and hustle, those two things beat talent every time.”