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Lyle Thompson One of the Best Native Lacrosse Players Ever

November 30, 2019 - Major League Lacrosse (MLL) - Chesapeake Bayhawks News Release

Boston, MA - Lyle Thompson grew up on the Onondaga Reservation, just south of Syracuse, New York. Onondaga is one of the six nations of the Iroquois Confederacy. Like any other Native American Reservation, lacrosse is incredibly significant for the Onondaga people. The reservation's website says, "Lacrosse at Onondaga is considered sacred. It is a game that was given by the Creator, to be played for the Creator."

Growing up Lyle Thompson felt that significance telling Forbes, "I always felt I was born into this game. This game is tied to our culture." As a kid, Thompson was named an All-American in high school, but it was in college when people realised he was special.

In 2014, Lyle Thompson and his brother Miles were both named Tewaaraton Award winners for their superb seasons at the University of Albany. Lyle Thompson followed his 2014 campaign by winning the award once more in 2015. Lyle is the only back-to-back Tewaaraton Award Winner and the brothers became the first Native Americans to win the award that is designed to "honor the Native American heritage of lacrosse."

To this day, the Thompson brothers are the only Native Americans to win the Tewaaraton. Lyle is the NCAA's all-time leading point scored with 400. That is 105 points more than the next closest Native American, his brother Miles with 295. Lyle's 175 goals in college are second among Native Americans with Miles edging his younger brother by 15 goals.

Professionally, Lyle is the only Native American to win the Coca-Cola Major League Lacrosse Most Valuable Player Award. Thompson won the award in 2019 after leading the league in goals and points. In the same year, Thompson also became the first Native American to win the MLL Offensive Player of the Year Award.

On the international level, Thompson has had the privilege of putting on the Iroquois National Team jersey. He has played a leading role on the team in several international tournaments including the FIL World Indoor Championships and the FIL World Lacrosse Championships.

Thompson is doing his part to make sure the Native American lacrosse legacy lives on. Nick Sakiewicz, who is the commissioner of the National Lacrosse League, where Thompson plays his indoor lacrosse told The Guardian, "They [the Thompson brothers] are incredible examples of what a complete professional athlete should be. The fact that they are bringing greater awareness and highlighting their platform of the rituals of Indigenous people is another example of the great leaders and people they are."

Lyle Thomson career statistics on the field prove he is one of the greatest lacrosse players ever, but it's his leadership off the field that proves something far greater. Thompson is a role model, creating a legacy for himself that won't soon be forgotten.

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