History was made this week in Major League Lacrosse.
The New York Lizards took goalie Devon Wills in the league's supplemental draft, making her the first woman selected by an MLL team. Wills, a former standout goalie at Dartmouth and a two-time Women's World Cup gold medalist, is currently an assistant coach at USC.
"It was an honor to be considered, and I have a lot of respect for all the guys in the supplemental draft," Wills said. "Now comes the time for me to compete and take my chance to fight for a spot on the first team."
Wills told Newsday that the idea of trying out for an MLL team hadn't occurred to her until Lizards coach Joe Spallina asked her if she would consider it.
Spallina, a former star midfielder at Adelphi, is also the coach of the Stony Brook women's lacrosse team.
"He actually asked me if I thought it was even possible and then he started pushing buttons," Wills told Newsday. "He'd say, 'I'd love to see you in a uniform or get you out to practice.' He'd make one-liner comments and when I said 'let's do it,' he was all aboard."
Wills will have a chance to make the roster at tryouts in April. If she was to make the team, she wouldn't be the first woman to play professional men's lacrosse (although she'd be the first to do so in the MLL). Ginny Capicchioni signed with the now-defunct New Jersey Storm of National League Lacrosse and played 11 minutes in the team's season finale in 2003. Jen Adams was selected by the Washington Power with the 114th overall pick of the 2011 NLL draft but never played for the team. The NLL, unlike MLL, is an indoor league.
Two decades ago another female goaltender played against men. Manon Rheaume, an Olympic silver medalist in hockey, signed with the Tampa Bay Lightning and played one period of an exhibition game. She was the first woman to play in any of the major North American sports leagues.
Wills took to Twitter to express her excitement for the opportunity.
I'm so excited and honored for this incredible opportunity to tryout with the @LizardsLacrosse! Looking forward to the test!
— Devon E Wills (@devon3wills) December 16, 2013
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