By Jessica Braveman | 8/18/14 1:55 PM
BOSTON (August 18, 2014) - US Lacrosse and Major League Lacrosse have named Chesapeake Bayhawks' Matt Abbott as the winner of the USL/MLL Sportsmanship Player of the Year Award, and the Rochester Rattlers as the winner of the league's 2014 USL/MLL Team Sportsmanship Award. Both selections were based on voting conducted among the league's game officials.
The team sportsmanship award is being presented for the first time in 2014 and is part of a joint partnership between Major League Lacrosse and US Lacrosse to promote good sportsmanship in lacrosse. Three 2014 monthly sportsmanship winners - Rochester Rattlers, Florida Launch and Boston Cannons - were also selected by the league's officials for the first time in 2014.
"Growing the game has a lot of responsibility tied to it, and as professional lacrosse players and ambassadors for lacrosse, there is an even larger responsibility in being a great role model for younger players," said Stephen Berger, men's game director at US Lacrosse. "On behalf of US Lacrosse, I'd like to congratulate Matt Abbott as the winner of the sportsmanship award and for 'competing with class' and 'honoring the game' both on and off the field."
Abbott, a midfielder for the Bayhawks, put up eight goals and eight assists this season, and was named to the 2014 US National Team roster, where he was given the opportunity to represent his country and win the silver medal at the FIL World Lacrosse Championships last July. The six-year veteran is known for his positive behavior on and off the field. On the field, Abbott is thought of as one of the best all-around lacrosse players, being able to adjust his style of play to match any game situation. His versatile skills allow him to assist his teammates in any way possible. When not in season with the Bayhawks, Abbott stays involved in the game of lacrosse, keeping up his conditioning and working as a part-time assistant coach at Colgate.
"This is a huge surprise, but I am incredibly humbled and honored to receive this award," said Abbott. "This game has given me plenty of opportunities and I always try to play the game a certain way. I have a lot of respect for the game and always try to play it the right way. I am grateful to US Lacrosse and the MLL for honoring me."
Abbott's year-round involvement in the sport and his willingness to play multiple roles for his team were certainly reason for the award.
"US Lacrosse would like to congratulate the Rochester Rattlers for their exemplary sportsmanship throughout the 2014 season and for this selection from the league’s game officials," Berger said. "We had three worthy recipients of the monthly team sportsmanship award, and we are encouraged that selecting just one team for this inaugural award was a difficult selection for the officials to make. That speaks to the high level of sportsmanship that many of the teams exhibited throughout the season."
The Rochester Rattlers, winners of one of the monthly awards earlier this season, have displayed tremendous sportsmanship in their journey to the top of the MLL standings, something the coaches and players all take pride in.
"This is a very important award for us. Competing with class is something I picked up early on in my coaching career and is something we stress with our players every week," said Rattlers Head Coach Tim Soudan. "We have a great group of guys who go above and beyond to make sure that they carry our values on and off the field. We always preach about being a family and I am very proud of this group and honored we received this award."
You can catch the 2014 Team Sportsmanship Award winning Rochester Rattlers next weekend as they head to Georgia to take on the Denver Outlaws in the 2014 MLL Championship Game on Saturday, August 23 at 7 p.m., at Fifth Third Bank Stadium at Kennesaw State University. Tickets for the Championship Game can be purchased HERE.
US Lacrosse and Major League Lacrosse encourage all lacrosse participants take the pledge to compete with class and honor the game. To read more about this sportsmanship initiative, please visit uslacrosse.org/competewithclass.