The following originally appeared as part of an article written by Ken McMillan for Lacrosse Magazine that appeared on www.lacmagazine.com on Sept. 27, 2009.
And then there were three
Eight netminders attended the Team USA tryouts in June, and three survived. The battle for the last two spots figures to be intense and tight between Maryland graduate Brian Dougherty, Navy grad Mickey Jarboe and Army grad Adam Fullerton.
"I think they are all number one, number two and number three," Pressler said. "There is no agenda here. We are going to evaluate every position, including goal, on the three weekends. There is no preconceived idea who is one, two or three. I made that very clear to them. All three are off to a good start."
"It's a tight, tight battle," said defense candidate Jack Reid. "I never would have wanted to step in the pipes and eat rubber all day, and I certainly don't now with the shots they are facing. They did a tremendous job. They are the ones who are talking to us and we carry it out from there."
Playing for two teams
Adam Fullerton desperately wants to make Team USA as one of the squad's two netminders, but he's also part of a much bigger team: the U.S. Army.
Fullerton was a third-team All-American while playing for Army. Since his graduation from West Point in 2008, Fullerton has been based at Fort Carson in Colorado Springs. That came in handy this year since he was able to play for the Denver Outlaws, a finalist in Major League Lacrosse.
Making the U.S. training team was just a wild dream for Fullerton once the process started, but he gained confidence during tryouts at Bryant University, and was a unanimous choice by the selection staff to advance to the current round of tryouts.
"It feels awesome," Fullerton said. "It's just another chance to represent the USA in a different way. They preach that here at the (U.S.) Military Academy, and that's what I have been doing through five years, at the prep school and West Point and the military. This is just another way to do it."
Fullerton helps soldiers with deployments to and from Fort Carson. Many of his former Army teammates have already served abroad, including his twin brother Pat. Adam says it feels strange to be stationed in the United States and living out his lacrosse dreams while others are in combat.
"It weighs on me, it does," Fullerton said. "I talk to all my classmates, all my teammates that I played with here, and talk to them about that. They are all deploying. I look at myself and I get this incredible opportunity to play lacrosse, and I feel bad, I feel guilty about it, but every one of them to a person said, 'Adam, if we were in that spot we would do it too.'
"I am still able to do my job in the Army and balance lacrosse on the side. All these guys have normal jobs and they can balance their work life with their lacrosse life. As long as I can keep doing that effectively and still be effective at work, I am okay with what I am doing. Once it becomes an issue where I can't devote myself completely to my job in the military, then I have to reevaluate what I am doing."
The training camp at Michie Stadium was a homecoming for 2008 Army graduate Adam Fullerton.
"I told coach (Joe) Alberici, ‘I never thought I would be so excited to come back to West Point as I am today,'" Fullerton said. "It's great. I got to see a bunch of the (Army) lacrosse guys. I coached (Army junior varsity) lacrosse last year. I saw my old teammates. It is a nice homecoming."
"Any time we can put on an event like this at West Point, it's great for the sport, it's great for the school and it's great for the (Army) team," Fullerton added.
Fellow goaltender Brian Dougherty also has West Point ties -- his father coached basketball for Army and he was born in nearby Newburgh, N.Y.
Serving the bigger team
The players from Team USA did not lose sight of what it meant to be on the campus of the U.S. Military Academy, where future military leaders in the Army are trained to defend the nation.
"Just being here at the Academy this weekend, the U.S. guys got a little taste of what it's like to serve," said goalie candidate Adam Fullerton, an Army graduate and current officer in the U.S. Army. "I think it puts it into perspective a little bit and maybe makes you realize what you are playing for."
"The honor is so high," said attackman candidate Kevin Leveille. "It's almost overwhelming, to play right there where these guys fight and represent our country, and do our part as lacrosse players representing our country is really a good vibe. It just keeps us working hard."