*Please note that England, Scotland, and Turks and Caicos are referred to as their own countries for the sake of this article even though they are all part of the United Kingdom*
Lacrosse has a long and storied history in North America with Native Americans playing the game for thousands of years. The games history is truly special and maybe the best backstory that any sport has.
Because lacrosse originated in North America the game’s best players are still from North America. The First Nations, USA, and Canada churn out top-level talent each and every year into the NCAA and even in pro game.
Over the past few decades the game has been rapidly growing on a global stage and finally we are starting to see players from outside North America come over and play in the NCAA. There have also been a few to play pro lacrosse as well.
As the game continues to evolve internationally the talent pool will get bigger and better outside of North America each year. This past season there were just 17 NCAA players from outside of North America and one from a U.S territory.
While 17 is a small number it is a step in the right direction. Players coming over to play in the NCAA from other nations outside of the U.S. and Canada show the growth of the game internationally, and gives us a glimpse into what the future could look like.
Who are these trailblazers, where are they from, and what impact did they have for their teams in 2019?
Outside of the U.S. and Canada, Australia has been one of the best countries in developing lacrosse talent and has continued to send players to the NCAA almost every year for the better part of the past decade.
In terms of Non-North American players in the NCAA in 2019, Australia was still the most represented country. There were six Aussies playing in the NCAA this past season with DIII having the most with three. In DII there were two Australia natives and only one in DI.
The lone Aussie in DI was Cornell freshman faceoff man Tim Graham. The Melbourne native played in 11 games for the Big Red, winning 21-61 faceoffs for a win percentage of 34%. In addition he had 2 goals and scooped up 8 ground balls.
Coker freshman midfielder Henry Haskett and Lake Erie sophomore midfielder Thomas Polden were the only two players in DII from Australia this past season. Haskett played in 12 games and tallied 3 points (1G,2A) fro Coker whole Polden played in 10 games for Lake Erie as a sophomore, staring in one. He had 3 ground balls and 2 caused turnovers for the Storm.
With three players from Down Under, DIII had the most Australian players this past season. SUNY Cortland, Endicott, and Westminster (Pa.) each had one Australian native on their roster this spring.
SUNY Cortland freshman faceoff man Aaron Salter, a Perth native, played in 8 games and went 9-19 at the faceoff dot. Westminster (Pa.) freshman midfielder Mathwin Hamish tallied 4 goals for the Titans, seeing action in eight games. As the only senior from Australia in the NCAA, Endicott midfielder Kenneth Speak tallied 4 goals for the Gulls.
2019 was historic year for lacrosse in Belgium as we saw the first Belgian born player in the NCAA this past season.
That player was Mount Olive freshman attackman Tim De Ceuster. During his freshman season he saw action in 6 games and scored 5 goals. In Mount Olive’s 19-2 win against Chowan De Ceuster made history, scoring his first goal and becoming the first Belgian to score a goal in NCAA history.
For those who don’t know, Curaçao is an island nation north of Venezuela and is a constituent country of Netherlands.
DII Medaille had the only, and likely first, player in the NCAA from Curaçao on their roster this season in defenseman Rahim Melon. The senior just started playing lacrosse this season and played in all 17 games, starting in 15. Melon had 2 assist, scooped up 51 ground balls, and had 22 caused turnovers.
Melon played soccer at Genesee Community College before playing a year at Missouri Valley, finishing up at Medaille.
Historically, England, like Australia, has had the most players hop across the pond to come play NCAA lacrosse. While there hasn’t been a ton, there have certainly many a few each year for the better part of the last decade or so.
Mount Olive junior midfielder Tim Collins, Mount Olive senior attackman Scott Dagnanleach, and LIU Post junior midfielder Alex Russell were the only three English NCAA players this past season, both playing in DII.
Collins saw action in 14 games while tallying 8 points (4G,4A) for Mount Olive and Russell tallied 38 points (21G,17A) while seeing action in all 16 games for the Pioneers, starting 5. Dagnanleach saw action in 7 games, starting in 5. He tallied 6 points (4G,2A) while also scooping up 8 ground balls and causing 3 turnovers this past season.
The lacrosse community in Finland had a lot to cheer about this year with Joakim Miller making the Philadelphia Wings roster in the NLL, and seeing playing time before being released mid-season. There was also one of the first, if not the first, Finnish player in the NCAA as well.
Competing in DII, Averett had the only Finnish NCAA player on their roster with junior defenseman Miska Granlund. This past season he started in all 13 games, scooping up 33 ground balls and having 16 caused turnovers for the Cougars.
2019 saw two Germans playing NCAA lacrosse, one in DI and one in DIII. It was the first time that Germany had any players in the NCAA at all, which is another big moment for European lacrosse.
Vermont freshman attackman Per-Anders Olters was the first German player to be recruited and sign to play NCAA lacrosse. The freshman saw action in just two games, but made history on March 3rd in Vermont’s 15-6 win against Hartford, becoming the first German to score a goal in NCAA history.
DIII St. John Fisher was the other team that featured a German player on their roster this past season. Junior goalie Darin Eakins saw action in all 18 games, starting in one. He made 181 saves with a .584 save percentage. Eakins played at Genesse Community College for his first two years of college lacrosse before coming to St. John Fisher.
One of the three players in DI hailing from outside of North America in 2019 comes from Ireland, and was also the second player from outside of North America in the Ivy League.
Princeton senior defenseman Aran Roberts was the lone player in the NCAA repping Ireland this season. Roberts saw action in 12 games and started in 11. He tallied 1 assist while scooping up 11 ground balls and having 6 caused turnovers.
Like England, there have been a few players from Scotland that have come over and played in the NCAA over the years. This past season there was just one player from Scotland in the NCAA, playing in DIII.
Cameron Steer, a sophomore at Medaille, was that lone Scottish player in the NCAA this season. The midfielder started in all 15 games for the Mavericks, scooping up 24 ground ball and causing 10 turnovers.
Turks and Caicos
2019 saw one of the first, if not the first, NCAA lacrosse players from Turks and Caicos take the field, playing in DIII.
Thomas midfielder Rajhan Munnings was the lone player representing Turks and Caicos in NCAA lacrosse this season. The midfielder saw action in 5 games, scooping up 6 ground balls and having 1 caused turnover.
Munnings was initially recruited to play Hockey for Thomas and ended up played both sports as a freshman.
U.S. Virgin Islands
DIII La Roche freshman midfielder Giovanni Anderson actually hails from St. Criox in the U.S. Virgin Islands. While he is not being counted on this list of players because the U.S. Virgin Islands are part of America, it is worth mentioning.
Giovanni played in 12 games for La Roche in 2019, scooping up 8 ground balls and causing 1 turnover.