Devon Wills becomes the first woman to sign with Major League Lacrosse

The New York Lizards of Major League Lacrosse (MLL) made history this week when it signed U.S. women’s national team goalie Devon Wills. Wills made herself available for the league’s supplemental draft but was not chosen. However, after the draft she signed with New York and will join the team in April when the team begins its training for the upcoming season. She will have the tough task of fighting for a spot on the final roster. The Lizards’ coach, Joe Spallina, spoke about Wills before the draft:

“I think Devon is a tremendous athlete and player, but the style of lacrosse is drastically different…Devon is a world class goalie. I would love for her to succeed. It would be groundbreaking for the sport.”

Devon Wills (right) with Caroline Cryer in 2009
Caroline Cryer, an attacker, from Centennial and Devon Wills, goalie, of Denver, were on the USA 2009 Elite World Cup Team that won the FIL Women's Lacrosse World Cup 2009 in Prague. Joe Amon / The Denver PostGetty Images

Wills attended Dartmouth College and was a three-time All-American. She helped lead the Big Green to the 2006 NCAA final where the team fell to Northwestern. Wills now works as an assistant coach at USC for one of the stars of that Northwestern squad. Lindsey Munday, who is also the captain of the U.S. team, describes Wills as “someone who likes a challenge” and who is “going to train and do the work and have the mentality that she can do it. She knows it’s not going to be easy, but she’s up for the challenge.”

Wills, as the starting goalie for the U.S. team, has backstopped the squad to two gold medals at the FIL World Cup. This past summer she was also named to the World Cup All-World Team.

I have to admit I have a soft spot for goalies. I was one, in several sports. Which makes people question my sanity, on several levels. Goalies are known as an odd bunch. Maybe we are, but you have to love goalies like Wills and Manon Rheaume who take their love for the kinds of challenge others wouldn’t even touch, and use that to do something others never dream of doing. Hats off to Wills for accepting this challenge and to the Lizards for taking a chance on Wills.

Best of luck in 2014, Devon, we’ll be rooting for you.

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