The U.S. men’s indoor team will meet for the first time since the fall when it convenes in Baltimore this week. Highlighting the training camp will be a Blue-White exhibition at the Coppermine DuBurns Arena on Wednesday at 5 p.m. 

This week’s training weekend will be another step for coach Regy Thorpe and his staff in deciding the final roster for the World Indoor Lacrosse Championship from Sept. 19-28 in Langley, British Columbia.

Here are five storylines surrounding the U.S. men’s indoor national team ahead of its trip to Baltimore:

NLL Rookies Return

It’s a new age for American box lacrosse players. Joining the likes of Tom Schreiber and Joe Resetarits this year was a crop of NLL newcomers — a sight that has Thorpe happy. He made it a goal last year to introduce more of his training team members to the NLL.

Mission accomplished. A total of eight U.S. training team members made their debut in the NLL this season — with some making an impact right away. Most notably was the Philadelphia Wings’ Trevor Baptiste, who set the NLL rookie record with 362 faceoff wins.

Baptiste’s teammate, Matt Rambo, finished fifth on the Wings with 26 goals and 30 assists, a strong showing for the hometown kid. Connor Kelly (San Diego Seals) scored 17 points in seven games this season.

Thorpe knows that this past season provided valuable experiences for some of his younger players. This week will be the first chance for the NLL rookies to showcase for the staff what they’ve learned.

Goalie Battle

One of the more intriguing positional battles falls between the pipes for the U.S. national team. Three goalies — David Mather, Gowah Abrams and Jacob Lazore — will make the trip to Baltimore hoping to provide a good showing for Thorpe and his staff.

Mather has the most experience on the international stage, serving as the back-up goalie for the 2015 U.S. national team. Abrams and Lazore, both of whom rose through the Six Nations pipeline, are trying out for the U.S. national team for the first time.

Abrams was the only of the three goalies to appear in the NLL this season. He played in four games for the Wings, saving 77 shots and allowing 27 goals. Mather spends his time playing with the Onondaga Redhawks, while Lazore is a veteran of the CanAm professional league. 

“This is one of the most fun groups I’ve played with,” Mather said in the fall. “We work together really well. There are a lot of times you get caught up fighting for a job, but at the end of the day, we aren’t the one making the decisions. It’s not our job. We just go out and play and try to win a game. That’s our goal.”

Veterans on Offense

A strength of this U.S. team lies in its offense, which features NLL veterans like Tom Schreiber, Joe Resetarits and Kieran McArdle. Each has extensive experience contributing on NLL rosters and could form a core of the U.S. offense come September.

Resetarits leads the group with seven seasons in the NLL. He spent the 2019 season with the Rochester Knighthawks and the New England Black Wolves, dropping 67 points in 17 games. The former Albany product scored 100 points and made second-team All-Pro in 2018.

As for Captain America, a.k.a. Tom Schreiber, he and McArdle helped the Toronto Rock advance to the East playoffs, where they fell to the Buffalo Bandits. Schreiber matched a career-high with 94 points on 29 goals and 65 assists to fuel the Rock’s successful season. He continues to thrive in the NLL in his third season.

McArdle, also in his third season with the Rock, set a new career-high with 40 points on 12 goals and 28 assists. He and Schreiber have developed a chemistry that should benefit the U.S. as it works to develop an offensive identity.

“We’ve become very close friends over the past three years,” McArdle said of Schreiber. “Being able to travel with someone and learning the game together and kind of bouncing ideas of each other, questions and things like that, has meant a great deal and helped my transition tremendously. Having him around has been great moving forward, and just gaining a great friend as well has been real cool.”

Leadership

Through the first few training events with the U.S. men’s indoor team, a few vocal leaders have risen. International veterans like Kevin Buchanan, Greg Downing, Brett Manney and Joel White make their voices heard during practice and games. 

Buchanan, the two-time World Indoor Lacrosse Championship participant, is hoping for another run at gold alongside fellow two-timer Greg Downing. Buchanan played in four games with the Black Wolves in 2019, while Downing had a career-high 118 loose balls in 18 games for the Blackwolves.

Manney, also a member of the New England defense, has played a vital role in leading the unit for the U.S. A member of the 2015 team, Manney played in 18 games with the Black Wolves and chipped in 51 loose balls and 13 caused turnovers this season.

White, who did not participate in the 2018-19 NLL season, heads to Baltimore as an unquestioned leader on the transition/defensive unit. He’s played in eight seasons with four different franchises in the NLL. 

We’ll hear from voices like Buchanan, Downing, Manney and White throughout the training week. Other names like John Ranagan (83 games in the NLL), Taylor Stuart (three season in NLL) and Marcus Holman (2015 national team member) will also share their knowledge.