Just one month after being selected to Major League Lacrosse as part of the Rochester Rattlers, the newest addition to the Major Lacrosse team's roster, Seneca Star Zed Williams, has recently scored two goals in his first Major League Lacrosse game. He was also selected last week as player of the week by the Rochester Rattlers for scoring two goals against the Chesapeake Bayhawks and for an exciting OT win in the game.
Major League Lacrosse didn’t exist when Zed Williams was six years old, but he knew then he wanted to reach the various pinnacles. That drive led to the Cattaraugus Reservation product set national records in high school, earning him a scholarship to the University of Virginia, a program that has sent the second-most athletes to the pros. On May 28, he became the next in line — and the next Native American to play the Creator’s game at the highest level — as the Rochester Rattlers selected the Seneca athlete with the 22nd overall pick.
“I’m just excited to keep playing,” Williams, 22, told ICMN. “It means more to me for the kids. I really appreciate every single Native American fan I have. I’m going to continue to get better and be there for the kids and show them that lacrosse will take them places.”
Because the MLL draft occurs near the midway mark of the season, the 6-foot-2 Williams had to jump into the mix — and he’s already made a big splash. On June 10, against Chesapeake, he scored the two goals, including a game-winner in overtime to help the Rattlers to a 17-16 win. The team is 4-3 overall with seven games left.
“I’m just going to give it my best shot and go wild,” Zed Williams says of playing in the pros.
Williams, an honorable mention All-American by the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association, lit up the stat sheet last season. He was the first NCAA Division I athlete to reach 20-20, 30-30, 40-40 and 50-50 in terms of points and ground balls. His 54 ground balls ranked second in the nation among non-defensive players or specialists. He also led his team with 25 assists.
“There is an artistic approach to the game of lacrosse with which Zed brings to the field,” Virginia coach Lars Tiffany says of Williams. “He sees both space and teammates simultaneously as he explores the opposing defense and leaves his mark. Exceptional at the two-man game as well, Zed has the unique ability and style that complement most of his teammates.”
As a sophomore, Zed Williams switched from midfielder to attack. Tiffany says Williams was “asked to play with few restrictions, allowing his creativity to flourish unabashedly.”
The Seneca who earned All-Atlantic Coast Conference honors joins college teammate Frank Brown (58th overall pick) at Rochester. With their teammate Tanner Scales, who was selected by the Denver Outlaws, Virginia now has 52 all-time selections in the MLL draft, trailing only Syracuse (61).
“I feel very blessed to come to that program,” Williams says. “There’s a lot of great players to come out of the program.”
Hailing from the Cattaraugus Reservation, Williams shattered two national records in his career at Silver Creek High School. His 444 goals broke Grant Whiteway’s (Billerica, Mass.) record of 353 and his 729 points topped Tim Stratton’s (Manheim Township, Pa.) 589.
Cary Rosenbaum (Colville Confederated Tribes) is a correspondent with Indian Country Media Network. Follow him on Twitter: @caryrosenbaum