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Former SJU lacrosse star shines as a pro

Former SJU lacrosse star shines as a pro
Former St. John’s standout Kieran McArdle has established himself as one of the top offensive threats in the MLL, eanring him a second all-star nomination this season.
Photo by Greg Bartram/Florida Launch
By Laura Amato

Kieran McArdle loves running—at least when there’s a lacrosse stick in his hand.

The former St. John’s lacrosse standout, who is currently in his third season with the Florida Launch of Major League Lacrosse, has established himself as one of the premier offensive forces in the league and he’s the first to admit that his success is built on his pure enjoyment of the game.

That game, of course, is fast. It also requires a good amount of running.

“It’s a quick game, it’s up and down,” McArdle said. “You’re not sitting there, it’s not boring. Kids pick up a stick and even if they don’t have the skills yet, they’re still enjoying it. The speed of the game is really helping it.”

McArdle loves the game and, since he turned pro in 2014, he’s found the game has loved him right back.

He was named the 2014 MLL Rookie of the Year and made his second MLL All-Star game appearance in three seasons Saturday.

“Just getting that call, it’s a real big honor to be up there as one of the best players in the league,” McArdle said. “There’s just so much talent and it’s probably so hard to pick those all-star teams. It’s just a huge honor any time I get to play with that kind of that talent.”

McArdle’s on-field talent is undeniable.

He set a new Launch record for points in a single season last year, notching 65 in 14 games. This year, McArdle leads Florida with 26 points, including 16 goals, heading into the all-star break.

The offensive leader of his team, McArdle has settled into his role over the last few years, but it hasn’t always been easy. In fact, when he first joined the Launch, McArdle was a bit intimidated by that pace of play he now loves.

“The speed from college to pro is a huge jump,” he said. “You have the shot clock in place so there’s not much settling down. You maybe get one spin and you’ve got to go to the cage. It’s real fast-paced, up and down, and in the beginning that was hard for me to adjust to.”

McArdle is thankful for the recognition he’s received and is also proud that he’s found so much success in a sport he loves. But he isn’t letting the attention go to his head.

He is, first and foremost, focused on winning. If he can do that, everything else will fall into place.

“I just try to play my game to the best of my ability,” McArdle said. “As long as I’m working hard on and off the field and putting the time in, I think that will show when I’m out there.”

McArdle is relishing his time on the field, but he knows that, eventually, the “real world” will come calling. He’s got a plan for that moment.

He is one semester away from completing his master’s degree in education—something he’s been working on while also playing professional lacrosse—and is anxious to start his career as a physical education teacher. If he happens to stumble across a high school lacrosse team that needs a coach, all the better.

“I’m incredibly excited about teaching,” McArdle said. “That’s the plan for the future.”

Before he trades in his lacrosse stick for a lesson plan, McArdle is focused on helping the Launch turn their season around. With five games left on the schedule, the team still has a shot at making the playoffs.

McArdle is determined to keep his squad’s chances alive. He’s even willing to run a bit more.

“We play two quarters well and then the other two quarters we fall apart,” he said. “I’d just like to see our team come together.”

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