August 9, 2013

Boyle 'Totally Grounded' in Decision to Retire from Team USA

Gibson, Earl, Wolf withdraw from tryouts as well

by Corey McLaughlin | | Twitter | McLaughlin Archive

Three-time U.S. men's national team attackman Ryan Boyle has retired from Team USA.
© John Strohsacker

Three-time U.S. men's national team attackman Ryan Boyle likes how it ended in 2010 in England, with the ball in his stick and a gold medal to come in a post-game ceremony. Boyle is retiring from Team USA.

Boyle, who played for the U.S. in 2002, 2006 and 2010, winning gold in '02 and '10, told on Friday it's time for him to move on. He said the decision applies only to Team USA and not Major League Lacrosse, where he will finish his 10th professional season Saturday with the Boston Cannons.

"After being through it three times, I know exactly what goes into it," Boyle said. "Between the tryout and the trimmed-down roster and the events, it's a lot. It's a big commitment, which is understandable.

"It's arguably the highest honor that one can achieve in the sport. That's what I believed growing up and what I still believe. At this point in my life, I wasn't ready to make that commitment, if I even was selected."

Additionally, the New York Lizards' Matt Gibson (concussion) and David Earl (trying out for Team Canada), and Duke's Jordan Wolf (undisclosed injury) will not be at Team USA tryouts Aug. 30-Sept. 1 at Goucher College in Baltimore, according to US Lacrosse. The now 94-player pool will be trimmed to 40 afterward, with final 23-man roster not coming until after Champion Challenge in January.

Boyle, who could have joined an elite club of four-time Team USA members — National Hall of Famers Vinnie Sombrotto and John DeTommaso are the only ones to do it — ends his U.S. career ranking third all-time in Team USA history in assists (24), seventh in goals (23) and fifth in points (47). He had eight points in the 2010 tournament, in which the U.S. beat Canada 12-10 for the title.

"I don't have any regrets. I really enjoyed my experience. I had a chance to win a gold medal in 2010 with some coaches that I hold dear to my heart, including [Mike] Pressler and Tony Resch, who was my head coach with the [MLL's] Barrage for a number of years. I got to do that with some of my best friends in the world, like Matt Striebel and Kyle Sweeney and Brian Dougherty.

"The game ended with the ball in my stick. I feel pretty good about everything that happened. It's time to move on. I feel totally grounded in that decision."

Boyle this year overtook Casey Powell as Major League Lacrosse's all-time career points leader. Boyle now has 420. Powell, who came out of retirement to join the Chesapeake Bayhawks midseason and make a run at his third U.S. team, has 405. Boyle has 25 points in 13 games with the Boston Cannons this season, the lowest output of his professional career. He topped out at 58 points in 2012 with Boston and in 2007 with the now-defunct Philadelphia Barrage, both teams that won MLL championships.

Boyle's decision means the U.S. will have a new quarterback of its attack unit next summer in Denver. There are three Tewaaraton Award winners among the 18 remaining attackman set to gather for tryouts — Ned Crotty (2010), Steele Stanwick (2011) and Rob Pannell (2013) — plus a host of other talents, including reigning MLL MVP Brendan Mundorf.

"There's a number of younger players that I think the world of. I wish them the best of luck," Boyle said. "I have full confidence that they will bring home the gold in Denver. I'll just be a casual fan, and spectator like everybody else, but certainly I'll be rooting on the red, white and blue."

Stanwick is a younger version of Boyle, sharing similar backgrounds, playing experiences and skills. Each talked about their relationship at last fall's "Duel in Denver" when the pair played on the same team.

"He's a guy I always looked up to and modeled my game after so it's exciting to be out here with him," Stanwick said then. "I've been literally getting advice about everything: career stuff, lacrosse stuff, socially. It's been really nice. He's a guy I look up to and respect."

Boyle made his first U.S. team after his freshman year at Princeton and played in the 2002 world championship following his sophomore season with the Tigers. Boyle's friend and former Princeton teammate Matt Striebel still will seek four-time Team USA membership.

Boyle said his decision is final — he called Team USA head coach Richie Meade directly to tell him — and he hopes the attention going forward can be focused on those players who are trying out.

"The focus should be on the team," he said, "and nothing else."

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