Life is good for 23-year-old Lyle Thompson. His kids are healthy and happy, and he and his longtime girlfriend Amanda Longboat are planning a wedding this summer -- or maybe in the fall.
Professionally, things are great as well. Lyle has one more season at the University of Albany, and is coming off one of the greatest seasons in Division I history, in which he had 51 goals and 77 assists for 128 points, the highest single season total in DI lacrosse history. And last summer, the co-Tewaaraton Trophy winner, and his brothers (Miles Thompson and Jeremy Thompson), helped the Iroquois Nationals win the bronze medal at the World Lacrosse Games in Denver.
ICTMN caught up with Lyle to ask him what’s next:
It will be a little different without (brother) Miles and (cousin) Ty on the same attack line this year. What’s your take on the 2015 Great Danes team?
It will basically be my offense. But it’s not about me going to the net for triple doubles. It’s about me having confidence in the teammates I have now and getting them used to taking shots. Last year, it was me, Miles and Ty taking 70 percent of the shots. My job this year is to get everyone involved.
There are a couple of guys from Onondaga Community College you’ll be playing with this season. Tell me about Seth Oakes and Ky Tarbell.
I grew up playing with these guys, so it should be a lot of fun. Just to let you know how close we are, they’ll both be in my wedding this summer. Seth was on the U19 team that went to Finland. He’s very similar to Miles. He’s better than Miles in some spots and weaker in others. But with Miles (who will be an assistant coach this year) coaching him, I think he’s going to make a huge impact. Ky is another one that’s going to be pretty good.
The Iroquois Nationals medaled for the first time in history at the World Lacrosse Games. What was it like to play with all three brothers and your cousin?
My dad (Jerome Sr.) was one of the coaches, so it was huge for my family. It was the first time we’ve all played together on the same team. I didn’t grow up playing with Jeremy and Hiana, so I obviously don’t know their styles like I do Miles’s. It was exciting, but when the game was on the line, you have to forget about family and do what’s best for the team.
You played on the world stage with the Iroquois Nationals junior team. What did you learn playing at the highest level?
One thing I did realize, I need to get stronger and faster to play at that level. I had a lot of experience playing against the double and triple team at Albany, which carried over to the world team where I still drew that much attention. It was a whole different stage for me playing against professionals and basically, the best of the best. I had to read the defense that much faster, so it took some adjustments.
During a rain delay against the Australians, Olympic gold medalist Billy Mills dropped by and spoke to the team. What did you take away from that experience?
His message was to never quit and to always believe in yourself. Believing is more than half the battle. Everything he went through to get to where he is today shows all of us that if you believe it, you can achieve it. Never give up.
You have been on the cover of the New York Times, on ABC World News, CBS Evening News, ESPN’sSportsCenter and featured in numerous magazines. How have you been able to remain humble and continue to walk in harmony?
I give a lot of credit to my parents [Jerome Sr. and Deloris Thompson] and my brothers. Dad used to tell us the most important thing you can give your kids is your time. That’s what I do for my own kids [Godehoag, 3, and Ehwageyosta, 18 months] because they’re the ones that really keep me on track. Being a good parent is important to me more than anything else.