Paul Rabil grew up not too far off what many considered the norm, playing soccer and basketball in his hometown just outside of Baltimore, Md. Then, one day, he decided branch out — give a new sport a shot.
“I sort of found lacrosse in the seventh grade, through middle school, and I haven’t looked back since,” he said.
Fast forward 10 years, and the 23-year-old has worked his way to the top. He was a No. 1 overall pick in the 2008 Major League Lacrosse (outdoor) Draft, and the No. 2 overall pick in the 2008 National Lacrosse League (indoor) Draft. A member of Washington’s new professional NLL team, the Stealth, Rabil was named to the 2009 NLL All-Rookie team, and led the Stealth with 34 points. He also has two Division I National Championships under his belt at Johns Hopkins University.
On Monday, one of the sport’s brightest young stars, put on a free shooting clinic for area youth lacrosse players at the Sammamish Community Fields.
“I just love working with kids and trying to pass down information that I’ve learned,” he said.
The kids loved it too — in particular the speed at which Rabil brought the ball to the net. His fastest shot ever was clocked at 111 mph.
“It’s incredible, it’s just amazing,” said 14-year-old Derek DeYoung, noting he can shoot it close to 70 mph.
Nick Evezich, 12, was equally impressed.
“I just think he shoots great,” Evezich said. “He can decide what he needs to do and when he needs to do really quickly — like that behind the back shot he was explaining. He just knows how to judge the field and all that.”
Rabil said he enjoys teaching kids the fine points of shooting, even though his style may be a little unorthodox. One of his greatest joys, however, is helping the sport grow.
“There’s definitely areas, and this would be considered a top one, where lacrosse is absolutely blossoming,” Rabil said. “It’s great to be a part of it, and it’s great to be a part of an organization that’s now out here and has the rights to this market.”
The Washington Stealth, which moved from San Jose, begins its season in January at Comcast Arena in Everett. The regular season runs through April with playoffs in May.
Excitement was already building from the 100-plus kids in attendance at Monday’s clinic.
“I’m going to try and get season tickets to it, that would be fun,” Evezich said.
For more information on the Washington Stealth and ticket information to go www.sjstealth.com.