Elite Sports NY sat down with Pro Lacrosse Player Kieran McArdle to discuss his career and adjustment to the professional game.

By Steven Cifuentes

2014 Major League Lacrosse Rookie of the year, Kieran McArdle, took the time to sit down with Elite Sports NY this week to discuss his career and how he has adjusted from college to the pros.

McArdle currently plays for the Florida Launch of MLL, but his road to this point was not always smooth.

Many of the large Division 1 lacrosse programs ignored McArdle’s impressive high school resume. This led him to play with a chip on his shoulder throughout his entire college career. McArdle chose to take on the task of putting St. John’s Red Storm Lacrosse back on the map, and boy did he ever.

Kieran re-wrote the St John’s record book and helped lead the resurgence of St. John’s Lacrosse as a major player in the Big East Lacrosse landscape. From second team All-American, to nominations for the Tewaaraton National Player of the Year, there were many college coaches that regret looking the other way.

After a stellar college career, the lacrosse world could not ignore Kieran anymore. He ended up being drafted by the Florida Launch fifth overall in the 2014 MLL draft.

All he did in his first season was score 34 goals and lead all rookies with 49 points. He was honored as the 2014 MLL Rookie of the Year.  To top that McArdle just finished his second regular season and led the entire league in goals (47) and finished second in the league in overall points (65).

McArdle is the perfect example of a player that was underestimated in the beginning, but through hard work and commitment has turned a lot of heads and is proving all of his doubters wrong.

What advantages did playing for Connetquot High School on Long Island have on your career?

Playing Class-A New York State Lacrosse is considered the best competition in the country. I went up against high Division 1 caliber defensemen every time out and practicing every day against my high school teammate Michael Pellegrino (current a Boston Cannons defenseman) really helped my game. I was recruited by St. John’s when I played vs. West Islip in the playoffs and I felt that the competition and exposure combined to help me get to where I am.

What do you recommend to any kid who one day wants to play Division 1 Lacrosse?

Everyday going out there and trying to improve your skills and take what the coaches have taught you, and going out to the field on your own working on different stick skills and moves. You need to have that stick in your hand everyday and that drive to get better. A lot of kids think that it comes naturally, and for awhile it does come naturally, but if they want to get to the top level they have to put in the time and work on their own and not just during practice or camps.

How did you end up at St. John’s and is there a reason you chose the Red Storm over some of the bigger schools like Syracuse?

I was not highly recruited by the top schools out of High School like Syracuse, even teams in my own backyard like Hofstra and Stony Brook overlooked me. That always drove me to get better and every time I played or practiced on my own I thought of the teams that overlooked me. After meeting the coaching staff and that combined with the academic level of St. Johns it was a great fit for me.

What did you find was the biggest difference between college lacrosse and Major League Lacrosse?

The skill level overall, you have guys that play d-midfield and transition that are all College All-Americans. The speed of the game was also an adjustment especially with the shot clock in place.

Do you think the NCAA should look to implement the shot clock, similar to the Pro game, instead of the current system?

No doubt, the NCAA game the refs have too much involvement in the game. You go to one game and after a minute the ref puts the shot clock on, then another game the team holds the ball for two minutes to trigger the shot clock. When it comes down to the end of the game they will put the shot clock on quicker then they did at the start of the game. I would love to see a shot clock in the NCAA game it speeds up the game and stops teams from stalling.

What veterans took you under their wing to assist your transition to the pro game?

Definitely Casey Powell his leadership on the field, in the locker room, what he teaches you throughout the season and the way he approaches the game everyday. It was very inspiring and something I want to emulate as I continue in my career.

Speaking about Casey Powell, do you marvel at how long he has been playing this game and he is still playing at such a high level?

No doubt, I don’t know how he does it for the all years he has played indoors and outdoors his body has taken a beating over the years. It is just awesome seeing him go out there every game and seeing what he is still accomplishing.

From 2014 Rookie of the year to top goal scorer this year, what have you taken from year 1 to year 2 to keep playing at such a high level?

My offseason approach involved working out everyday and keeping that stick in my hand and shooting everyday. I got adjusted to the game more and I was motivated by trying to avoid that sophomore slump everyone talks about. I keep driving myself to be better everyday.

Have you had any off the field moments that make you realize the impact you are having on the young lacrosse players today?

When you go to camps and get asked for autographs or see kids looking up to you during a shooting demo. I remember when I was in their shoes looking up to guys that played pro lacrosse. It really is a cool experience and inspires to me to keep working and doing what am I doing to succeed.

Thanks to Kieran McArdle for taking the time to sit with Elite Sports NY.  While the Florida Launch fell short of a playoff spot, you can check out some great lacrosse action this weekend as the Major League Lacrosse semi-finals take place Saturday August 1st starting at 4 pm ET.

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