While most college students are spending their summer completing internships or finding jobs, Ron John is preparing for the World Lacrosse Championships.
John, a rising junior at the University of Albany and an Angola native, will represent the Iroquois Nation at the championships in Netanya, Israel July 12-21. He’ll be joined by two other Western New York natives, Zed Williams and Frank Brown, as well as four other current and former Albany players.
“For a while now it’s felt surreal,” John said. “Now that it’s coming up, we are leaving in like three days, it feels pretty awesome. It’s amazing.”
Williams is an Irving native and a 2017 University of Virginia graduate. He was named a USILA All-American and an Inside Lacrosse All-American during his senior season and led UVA with 25 assists. Williams was drafted by Rochester in the third round of the 2017 MLL draft. Brown is a Red House native and a 2016 Hobart graduate. He compiled 81 goals and 39 assists during his college career.
John, who had three goals and three assists this season, will be joined by teammate Tehoka Nanticoke and Albany alumni Lyle Thompson, Mike Thompson and Ty Thompson. John said it will be surreal to play with the Thompson brothers, who he has looked up to and admired.
Albany’s head coach Scott Marr will serve as an assistant coach and offensive coordinator for the Iroquois Nation. This, John said, made the process easier as he was able to give him pointers throughout the tryouts.
“It’s great, I have one of the greatest coaches I’d say in the universe,” John said. “He’s so understanding and he’s so down to earth with everyone. Playing for him for two years he’s used to me and I’m used to him. Now that we are going to go to Israel together is pretty amazing, quite the experience for the both of us.”
The Iroquois tryout process began at the end of last summer and continued throughout the past year. They played scrimmages against Albany and the Israeli national team in October and then resumed in May after the school year ended for another round of practices. The final roster was decided early this week.
John was also a member of the U19 Iroquois Nationals that competed in the 2016 World Games.
The Iroquois Nation won the bronze medal at the 2014 World Championships and has a long history of lacrosse success. Their first game will be against the United States at 8:30 p.m. July 12. This is the first time the championships will be held in Israel and will be the largest world lacrosse event, with 46 countries set to compete.
“We have all the ingredients to make a really good team and I think we can honestly take it all once we all get together and once we all start playing our game," John said. "It’s going to take some more chemistry, but other than that the sky is really the limit because we have all the talent, we have all the coaches, we have it all once we put it together we can see how far we can take it.”