December 21, 2009

This article appears in the December issue of Lacrosse Magazine. Don't get the mag? Join US Lacrosse and its 300,000-plus members today to start your subscription.

Best of 2009
Male Player | Female Player | Male Performance | Female Performance | Male Coach | Female Coach| Game | Comeback | Breakthrough | Look | Mainstream Moment | Fan


'09 Rewind: Paul Rabil, Male Player of the Year

Finally, U.S. professional lacrosse has found a willing and fitting star.

Boston Cannons, Washington Stealth and U.S. team star Paul Rabil emerged as a legitimate star in 2009.

© Kevin P. Tucker

We tried to jam square pegs in round holes.

We looked to the Gait brothers and, more recently, John Grant. They were studs, no doubt, but entirely un-American. They didn’t fit. So we searched.

Remember when Major League Lacrosse tried to push Michael Watson and Mike Battista on us like they were the second coming? They were good, but not superstars. So we searched.

How about the Mikey Powell era? Has there ever been a player so on top of his game, yet so disinterested in it? Older brothers Casey and Ryan could carry the mantle, but they likewise fluctuated in and out of the spotlight. So we searched.

Stop searching. Welcome to the Paul Rabil era.

Rabil, a second-year pro out of Johns Hopkins, has the stuff stars are made of. On the field, the Boston Cannons and the U.S. training team midfielder has no equal. The way he swishes and dishes, slices and dices — if Walt Frazier called lacrosse games, he’d have a field day.

A physical specimen at 6-foot-3, 225 pounds, Rabil has the talent to match his chiseled frame. Did he really rip a 111-mph shot in the MLL All-Star Game skills competition? That’s the stuff we love. Bring the heat.

Rabil led the MLL in scoring — the first pure midfielder in the league’s history to do so — en route to an MVP season.

He also got untracked as an indoor rookie in the National Lacrosse League, scoring 16 goals and adding 18 assists as a transition player.

Lastly, for those of us that need a feel-good touch: Rabil, partially deaf since birth, signed on as the first national spokesman for the National Cued Speech Association.

It’s Rabil’s world. We’re just living in it.

HONORABLE MENTION

Max Seibald, Cornell/Denver Outlaws/Team USA
The Tewaaraton Trophy winner and USILA Player of the Year scored 12 points in 10 games as an MLL rookie.

Dan Dawson, Boston Blazers/Toronto Nationals
The NLL's 2009 MVP (30g, 74a) with the expansion Blazers contributed to the Nats' MLL run.

Brodie Merrill, Toronto Nationals/Portland LumberJax
Merrill was yet again the MLL's Defensive Player of the Year and the NLL's Transition Player of the Year.


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