(October 3, 2017)… The Rochester Knighthawks are proud to announce that Hall of Famer Tim Soudan has come on board as one of the coaches of the Knighthawks Winter Program. The Fairport, NY native joins a staff that already includes Knighthawks players Brad Gillies and Luke Laszkiewicz.
“I was honored when they asked me,” said Soudan. “When I figured that it fit in my schedule, I was really excited. Teaching box is different from what I do all the time. It’s fresh for me and it’s something I have a passion for; I like sharing that passion with the kids.”
By Soudan joining the coaching ranks, it’s a major boost for the Knighthawks and their goal of expanding their box lacrosse programming.
“Having someone of his caliber join the program is huge,” said Gillies, who serves as the Knighthawks’ academy director. “The Knighthawks Hall of Famer brings more expertise to our staff and shows why we are the ones to come to when playing box in Rochester.”
Soudan is one of the most well-respected lacrosse players and coaches in western New York. During his National Lacrosse League playing career, the UMass product spent 11 of his 15 seasons with the Knighthawks. “Soudo” was one of the Knighthawks’ leaders from the team’s inception in 1995 until his retirement following the 2005 campaign. He still ranks sixth in team history in games played (125) and goals (156), and 10th in assists (161) and points (317). In 2009, he was inducted into the Knighthawks Hall of Fame.
The 49-year-old, who currently coaches lacrosse at Fairport High School, remains committed to growing the box game in his hometown. It’s precisely why he has integrated box lacrosse concepts into his Blaze Lacrosse practices and has his kids compete in an indoor league in the winter.
Players attending the Knighthawks Winter Program will learn those same skills from one of the top professional and international coaches. Soudan has had the honor of playing and coaching at both levels. After a three-year playing career with the Rochester Rattlers, he eventually took over the head coaching and general manager duties for the professional outdoor lacrosse team.
Internationally, Soudan has represented his country three times as a player, which included winning gold medals at the 1994 and 1998 world lacrosse championships. More recently, he coached the United States at the 2012 Bowhunter Cup against the Iroquois Nationals. Three years later, he served as the assistant general manager for Team USA at the 2015 FIL World Indoor Lacrosse Championship.
Soudan, who has excelled at the professional indoor and outdoor levels, knows firsthand the benefits playing box lacrosse can have on your field game.
“The close quarters and quick decision-making is what really helps field players get better,” he said. “With a short shot clock, there are a lot of possessions back and forth and there are less people on the field, so the focus is on you. You are either carrying the ball or playing defense on somebody. That in and of itself gives you reps and understanding of body weight and body positioning. It’s the challenge of taking somebody on one-on-one.”
The Winter Program will consist of five practices and two tournaments, including the organization’s first ever Upstate Winter Shootout on Saturday, Feb. 3 and Sunday, Feb. 4. At both tourneys, the Jr. Knighthawks will compete at the PeeWee (5th/6th grade), Bantam (7th/8th) and Midget (9th/10th) levels.
As a proud alum of the Knighthawks, Soudan has shown his support for the Jr. Knighthawks in the past as a coach and as a father. For the past two years, his son, Tanner, has played for the Jr. Knighthawks. Having Tanner on the Midget team was a bonus, but not the deciding factor for Tim coaching in the Winter Program.
“Tanner being involved is a big plus for me,” said the elder Soudan, “but I would have done it anyway because of how much I believe box lacrosse helps lacrosse players get better.”
Over the past several seasons, Soudan admitted he has seen a vast improvement in practices and during games. The veteran NLL standout said that the Knighthawks have a big advantage over other box programs in the area.
“It’s the top-notch instruction that drives it,” he said. “There is no one else in Rochester who can do what the Knighthawks can. At the end of the day, the best teachers are the guys who have done it their whole lives.”