Blogs and Commentary

posted 12.16.2013 at 6.03 p.m. by Corey McLaughlin

New York Lizards Make Wills First Female in MLL

Devon Wills will have the chance to become the first woman to play in Major League Lacrosse.

The New York Lizards on Monday signed Wills and she will join the team for training camp in early April with a chance to make the Lizards roster.

New York is coached by Stony Brook women's coach Joe Spallina, and the team engaged in discussions last week to sign Wills, the two-time FIL Women's World Cup champion goalie with Team USA, after she was not taken in Wednesday's supplemental draft.

"I’ve never been shy to shake it up,” Spallina told Lacrosse Magazine in an email.

"I think it's a huge honor and I am super grateful for the opportunity that Coach Spallina is giving me by picking me up" Wills said Monday in a press release through the team. "This is a huge opportunity to challenge myself. This is sports and I'm really excited to see if I'm good enough to play at this level. If I'm good enough, that's great, but if not, I'm still really grateful for the opportunity."

The fact that the Lizards signed Wills makes sense. Spallina has familiarity with the women's game -- even joking after winning the 2011 NCAA Division II women's championship at Adelphi that then-Panthers goalie Frankie Caridi should get a tryout with the Lizards, for which he was then an assistant coach.

New York has stability with starting goaltending in Team USA hopeful Drew Adams, but does not have an established backup. The team has former Duke and Stony Brook goalie Sean Brady on the roster, and also signed former Charlotte Hounds and Drexel goalie Mark Manos last week after the supplemental draft.

"It's kind of been in the works for a while. It's such an incredible opportunity to not only grow as a player and grow as a coach, but also to help grow the game," Wills told Lacrosse Magazine last week. "At first I just thought it was an interview getting thoughts on if a girl could potentially play in the men's game. They could consider a lot of people to do it. I'm sure I'm one of the only people who would say yes.

"It's definitely going to be an adjustment. It's going to make me a better goalie. That's a big part of this decision, just wanting to get better every day."

Wills, an assistant coach at USC, reacted to the signing Monday night.