GLEN RIDGE, NJ – Glen Ridge native Matt McMahon is a professional lacrosse player in the Premier Lacrosse League.
McMahon plays for the Archers. The teams in the league are not tied to specific cities. Rather, the teams tour 12 different major markets.
The league, consisting of six teams, made its debut this season on June 1. Its headquarters are located in Los Angeles, Calif.
McMahon is a 2011 Glen Ridge High School graduate. In his senior season, he helped the Ridgers capture the Group 1 state championship.
The 6-foot-4, 225-pound defenseman continued his career at the University of Pennsylvania where he was an honorable mention All-America and and first team All-Ivy League.
The Glen Ridge Paper conducted a Q&A with McMahon.
Q: What got you interested in playing lacrosse when you were a kid?
A: Family mostly. My uncle played collegiately at William & Mary and my brother played for the then-brand new GR lacrosse program. Those two were big role models for me growing up and their love for the game was contagious. My brother put a stick in my hand when I was 12 and I never put it down.
Q: What was it like to play in your first game in the Premier Lacrosse League?
A: Playing in the first-ever PLL game at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough was an incredible experience and one that I will never forget. There was so much emotion and enthusiasm from the crowd, the players and the folks that had been working tirelessly to build the league from Day 1. To see it all come to fruition in the form of a world-class event, one like the sport has never really seen, was really fulfilling for everyone who took part.
Q: What are some of your impressions of playing in the Premier Lacrosse League?
A: The most overwhelming aspect of this summer has been the satisfaction of getting to see what the game on a truly professional stage. The production level with the NBC broadcast has been phenomenal and feels like the first time our sport has been presented in a way that people can fully appreciate the skill, speed and precision of the game. The response from both new fans and old has been incredibly reassuring that this is a special game and meant to be seen and played by everyone.
Q: You’re a defenseman. What are some of the aspects of playing that position?
A: What I love most about playing defense is the inter-connectedness of all the players on the defensive unit. When a defense is really playing well, all seven guys are moving and reacting as one. Anticipating the play of both the other team and my fellow teammates is a really fun aspect to the sport. There is a lot more glory on the offensive end, but being involved in a really cohesive group and collectively accomplishing your goals can be really rewarding.
Q: What was it like to play lacrosse at Glen Ridge High School?
A: My time playing at GRHS was when I really developed a deep love for the game. My graduating class at GR had a strong group of athletes that grew up playing for hours and hours everyday at Carteret Park, so when we got to high school, we had developed a special bond. Winning a state championship with that group of friends our senior year was a major highlight in my playing career and a reflection of all the time we spent playing together as kids.
Q: What advice would you give to an aspiring lacrosse player?
A: Get outside and play with your friends. Play as many sports as possible and don’t get too caught up in specializing in lacrosse. I didn’t play summer lacrosse until my sophomore year of high school and my time spent playing other sports helped me develop leadership skills and a strong competitive spirit which has helped me immensely throughout my career. Playing with your friends in the park helps you develop instincts and skills that can’t be developed any other way.
Q: What are your short-term and long-term goals as a lacrosse player?
A: My short-term goal is to win the first-ever PLL championship and to be named to the All-PLL team. This is truly the highest level lacrosse I have ever played and to reach the summit both individually and as a team would be a dream come true. Long-term – I want to keep working to build the league’s exposure to mainstream sports fans. I think lacrosse is a magnificent game that has never been showcased in the right way before. I think if people watch a PLL game, their opinion of lacrosse will be changed forever. I’d love to keep growing the popularity of the sport so that many more can enjoy the game in the future.
Photos Courtesy of Matt McMahon