On this week’s episode of New England Lacrosse Journal’s “Chasing The Goal” podcast, hosts Kyle Devitte and Jack Piatelli were joined by Rivers head coach and Fighting Clams director Justin Walker, as well as Noble and Greenough head coach and 3D Lacrosse administrator Matt Rowley for part two of their appearance on the show.
Walker recently sold the Clams to 3Step, a company that also owns 3D Lacrosse. This essentially makes longtime friends Rowley and Walker co-workers.
As the head coaches of two successful Independent School League programs, Rowley and Walker have developed hundreds of players at the prep school and club level.
In the second part of this two-part podcast, they talk about the recruiting process, how their roles as club and prep coaches intersect, and the ISL in general.
The full podcast, as well as part one, can be accessed below and is available on all major platforms. If you enjoy it please leave a rating and a review.
This podcast is sponsored by the University of Nebraska High School and the NCAA. For more information on UNHS, visit highschool.nebraska.edu/nelj. For more information on the NCAA championships, visit https://www.ncaatickets.com/sport/mens-lacrosse.
Kyle Devitte: How many times do kids (that you coach) go to schools that you’re like, “You shouldn’t have gone there? I told you not to go there and you went there anyway.” How many kids don’t listen in a class on average? One? Two?
Matt Rowley: I mean, a couple.
Justin Walker: For me, it’s s a lot actually. It’s pretty high. I think maybe a dozen? I’d say a fifth to a sixth of my class go to places I don’t think they should have gone, and I’m pretty outspoken.
KD: Because they’re over-reaching or not?
JW: Usually it’s an over-reach, OK?
Jack Piatelli: I believe they just don’t know better. And my finding is that the parents are too involved. It’s what the parents want and not actually, you know, what’s best for your own kid.
MR: Well, I’ll say this, too. I think five years ago, when kids were getting recruited out of eighth grade, kids were going all over the place to places they shouldn’t be going for any number of reasons. And that rule, I think, has really helped the kids to take a more mature and sort of nuanced look at where they’re going to school rather than, “I think I look really good in that helmet.”
KD: So, let’s talk about the ISL. Everyone wants to talk about the playoff, even though we’re not close to that yet. We just kind of are warming up, right? How has the league played out differently than what you thought it would? Which teams have surprised you? How has your team surprised you and which results stick out for you?
MR: So it’s interesting because a lot of these teams we haven’t seen in three years. So, it’s hard to even know why. Like, St. George’s, for example, They’ve been the consensus surprise of the league. But no one has really seen them play since, you know, 2019. So it shouldn’t be that shocking that we have no idea who they are and what it’s like to play against them.
JW: And I think context is important. They got to remember this last season, right? It was all over the place in terms of teams that played versus didn’t play. There were like what, four or five teams that played less than five games?
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