April 7, 2017 - Major League Lacrosse (MLL) - Atlanta Blaze
KENNESAW - Dylan Donahue, acquired from the Charlotte Hounds this past fall after a standout rookie campaign, will be reuniting with his Syracuse University classmates Kevin Rice and Randy Staats when the Blaze take the field in 2017.
Donahue, known for his cerebral playing style, first picked up a stick when he was just four years old. Growing up in the small town of Camillus, NY, "mini-lax" in backyards was the game of choice for youth and Donahue recalls his house as constantly littered with sticks of his own, his friends, and his family. After an incredible high school career at West Genesee that saw him named a U.S. Lacrosse All-American, Donahue followed in the footsteps of his father, brother, and uncles and accepted an offer to play lacrosse for John Desko at Syracuse University (the Donahue family's love for the Orange lacrosse program runs deep-Donahue's sister, Riley, would go on to accept an offer to play lacrosse for the Syracuse women's program two years later in 2014).
While at Syracuse, Donahue made significant contributions all five years he was a part of the program. A three-year starter, Donahue concluded his career with the Orange as a two-time All-American and Tewaaraton Semifinalist his senior year. While known predominantly as a goal-scorer his first two years at Syracuse, Donahue evolved over his career and graduated with 84 assists in addition to a stunning 143 goals. In the three seasons Donahue, Rice, and Staats played together at Syracuse, the trio contributed a mind blowing 398 points and led the Orange to an NCAA Quarterfinal berth in 2015.
Donahue's professional career began when the Hounds drafted him second overall in the 2016 MLL Collegiate Draft. Donahue's rookie season started modestly, but he heated up quickly and posted six points over his last three games alongside a star-studded attack unit comprised of Ryan Brown and Joey Sankey. Donahue's arrival in Atlanta was welcomed with open arms given the success of Atlanta's other Syracuse products, and fans and coaches alike have high hopes for the second-year attackman.
Name: Dylan Donahue
Team: Atlanta Blaze
College: Syracuse University
High School: West Genesee
Q and A:
What advice would you give to a young player who wants to make it to the professional level?
A: I would say try to play as much lacrosse as humanly possible. It doesn't matter if its pickup lax in the backyard or some box league you're playing in. Learn to enjoy playing the game with your friends and play it as much as possible. A huge chunk of lacrosse is mental-the more you play, the easier it becomes and certain situations [will] become second nature to you.
If you could go back and say anything to high school age Dylan, what would it be?
A: Go to the cage!
What was the hardest part of transitioning from Syracuse to the MLL?
A: The speed-players are faster, the ball moves around faster, and every play happens faster. [However] the more you play it, the more the game slows down for you.
Because being an MLL player is generally not a full-time job, what's your life like outside of lacrosse?
A: I started a lacrosse training company called Lacrosse Sniper School and was [also] an engineer but I retired from engineering a week ago in order to dedicate more time to my company. The plan is to keep building it up and keep improving my training programs to give players opportunities that I was lucky enough to have.
What are your thoughts on rejoining Randy and Kevin for this season?
A: [I] couldn't be more stoked. It was a riot playing with them at Syracuse and I don't see it being any different here. It will be fun to see if we can pick up where we left off.
I know you're somewhat familiar with Kennesaw and Fifth Third (having played ACC games there with Syracuse). What is your favorite part about playing in Georgia?
A: The heat. just kidding. I think the best part is the amount of youth lacrosse players in the area. It is really great to see their passion for the game [and] it reminds me of how much fun lacrosse is and why we all started playing in the first place.
What is the best part about being a professional lacrosse player?
A: You get to keep playing on a team and building relationships that only teammates have.
About Fifth Third Bank Stadium
Fifth Third Bank Stadium is an 8,300-seat state-of-the-art stadium built in 2010 in partnership with the former Women's Professional Soccer team Atlanta Beat, designed to showcase a variety of events. It has hosted Major League Soccer, KSU Soccer and Lacrosse, the Southern Lacrosse Showdown, NCAA Women's College Cup, concerts and music festivals. Situated within a beautiful 88-acre KSU Sports and Recreation Park, the facility is conveniently located just one mile from both I-75 and I-575 in Cobb County, which is often referred to as Atlanta's sweet spot.
About Atlanta Blaze
The Atlanta Blaze, Major League Lacrosse's newest franchise kicked off their inaugural season in Kennesaw, GA on April 23, 2016. The Atlanta Blaze call Kennesaw State University's Fifth Third Bank Stadium in Cobb County, Georgia home. Single Game and Season Tickets are currently on sale. To purchase tickets and for more information call 855-44-BLAZE or visit AtlantaBlaze.com
Stay connected with the Atlanta Blaze on Facebook (Atlanta Blaze MLL), Instagram (AtlantaBlazeMLL), Twitter (@AtlantaBlaze) and Snapchat (Atlantablaze).
Stay connected with the Atlanta Blaze Dancers on Facebook (ATL Blaze Dancers), Instagram (ATLBlazeDancers) and Twitter (@ATLBlazeDancers).