University at Albany’s talented Thompson trio is planning a family reunion that will place them on the international lacrosse stage for the first time.
Lyle Thompson, his brother Miles, and their cousin Ty, who all played for the Great Danes this season, will be joined by Lyle’s and Miles’ brothers, Jerome Jr. and Jeremy, on the Iroquois Nationals’ roster for the 2014 Federation of International Lacrosse World Championships, to be held July 10-19 in Denver, Colo. Jerome Thompson Sr. will be one of the coaches.
With their unparalleled creativity, acrobatic moves, prolific scoring and deft playmaking, these Native Americans not only earned tremendous national publicity for their sport and the UAlbany program, but they also helped the Great Danes reach the NCAA tournament quarterfinals in Hempstead, where they lost to Notre Dame, 14-13, in sudden-death overtime.
Lyle, who will be a senior next season, shared the Tewaraaton Trophy, lacrosse’s version of the Heisman Trophy, with Miles and also was named the USILA Lt. Raymond J. Enners Division 1 Outstanding Player of the Year, as well as the Lt. Col. J.L. “Jack” Turnbull D1 Most Outstanding Attackman. A nominee for the Best Male College Athlete ESPY, Lyle was also the America East Player of the Year and became the Great Danes’ all-time assist leader with 156. Lyle also set the NCAA single-season scoring record with 128 points and matched the NCAA single-season assist mark with 77.
Miles and Ty both graduated this spring. Miles tied the NCAA single-season record for goals (82), and is playing professionally for the Rochester Rattlers of the Major Lacrosse League. He left as UAlbany’s all-time leader in points (293) and goals (189). Ty added 41 goals this season for the Great Danes and finished his career with 154 goals, fourth on UAlbany’s all-time list.
“I would say this season has definitely given us all a lot of memories,” said Lyle. “This should be a great experience all playing together. In the backyard, we always played games against each other as a family, but in organized lacrosse, this will be the first time we’ve all played field lacrosse on the same team. Plus, with my father as one of the coaches, it will be nice, because I’ve definitely given him credit for teaching me the game.”
Miles, who recently strained a hamstring while playing with the Rattlers, said he will miss several Rattlers games while playing in the World Championships. He said if the Rattlers make the playoffs, they will still be playing through August.
“They already know I’ll be missing some games next month. They will be missing a lot of the guys who also will be playing at the Worlds,” Miles said. “My injury isn’t that serious, and I’ll be back soon.”
Miles agreed with his brother that this is a great opportunity for the Thompson family.
“It will be just like a backyard dance for us,” he said. “Having my father as the coach and all of us guys playing together will be great. I think we have a chance to do well, because we have a lot of younger college guys competing. But this won’t be the last time that the Iroquois team will have a chance to do well. There are a lot more younger Native Americans who are playing in college now, and we should have good teams for many years to come.”
Ty, who has opened his own lacrosse equipment and apparel company since graduation, said that even though he’s been extremely busy with his own business, he continues to stay in shape.
“I’m dog-tired after work, but I still play lacrosse for at least two hours every day. I’ll be ready for the Worlds,” he said.
“This is pretty cool that we’re all playing together and representing our people at the World Championship. For me personally, I think we can win the whole thing. We have a lot of talent on our team.”
UAlbany lacrosse coach Scott Marr said he has never coached such a talented group.
“Coaching all three has been an experience of a lifetime. What they’ve done for our program and the game of lacrosse has been exceptional,” he said.
“Their creativity and unselfish play has opened the eyes of kids across the country to how the game should be played. Just as important, in the locker room they are all about team, helping the team accomplish our goals; working hard in the classroom to represent themselves, the university and their community in a positive light to keep opportunities open for future Native American players.”
The Iroquois Nationals, who have never finished better than fourth at the World Championships, will play in the Blue Division that includes the United States, Canada, England, Japan and Australia.
The last time that the Nationals competed in the World Championships was eight years ago. They didn’t play four years ago in England because of a passport controversy.
“Obviously, we’re not selling ourselves short,” said Lyle. “This is the best Iroquois team we’ve ever had, offensively. We are a little weak defensively, but if we play the way we can, there is no reason we can’t play neck-and-neck with Canada and the U.S.”