The GA Swarm hosted a press conference on October 26th featuring the Thompson brothers and the first Georgia drafted player, local favorite Rick Lewis of Cumming, GA. The inaugural season for the NLL Georgia Swarm begins in January 2016. The first professional lacrosse team in Georgia was relocated this summer from Minnesota.
Lyle Thompson, No. 1 overall NLL draft pick, is impressed with his new bobble “braid” doll which will be given exclusively to season ticket holders and 6-game pack purchases. Amy Morris/Ciraphotogrpahy.com
Standing with Co-Owner and Georgia Swarm President Andy Arlotta, Miles and Lyle wear their new Georgia Swarm hats. Amy Morris/Ciraphotogrpahy.com
Press conference at The Infinite Energy Center, the new home of the Georgia Swarm. From left to right- Andy Arlotta, Swarm co-owner and president; Lyle Thompson, Miles Thompson and Rick Lewis. Amy Morris/Ciraphotogrpahy.com
The season is gearing up with some of the best Lacrosse players in the sport, including renowned players from the Onondaga Nation- second-year forward and Tewaaraton recipient Miles Thompson and rookie Lyle Thompson, number one draft pick and two-time Tewaaraton Award winner. Lyle says the biggest challenge during the inaugural season will be “putting people in the stands. As a first year team you want to win and that's how you put people in the stands.” He was asked about the chances of winning a championship, “You've got to put your expectations high...I'm gonna go ahead and say that we're a championship team here.”
Both players are excited to be reunited and playing on the same team again. Lyle stated, “I kind of expected to go number one, but I was more looking forward to being drafted by Georgia... I wanted to be teamed back up with my brother and end up down here, and that's all I really wanted but when they called my name, you know, no better feeling…I've been playing with him my whole life, the chemistry is going to be there... I know we can help each other and help this team become a great team.”
After the press conference at The Infinite Energy Center in Gwinnett Co., GA. L to R Andy Arlotta, Swarm co-owner and president; rookie forward Lyle Thompson, second year forward Miles Thompson and rookie transition player Rick Lewis. Amy Morris/Ciraphotogrpahy.com
L to R- Georgia Swarm announcer Tim Hanchey, Lyle Thompson, Michael Garrison Swarm Business Developer Director; Rick Lewis, Miles Thompson, Alec Schimke Director of Media Relations. Amy Morris/Ciraphotogrpahy.com
First in line fan, Tony Ponce of Lanier high School, get a hand shake from Lyle Thompson the NCAA all-time leading scorer totaling 400 career points. Amy Morris/Ciraphotogrpahy.com
Fan photos from The Georgia Swarm autograph session at Dave and Buster's Sugarloaf Mills location. Amy Morris/Ciraphotogrpahy.com
Miles said he was checking his phone for the draft updates. “Once I seen that he went to Georgia I yelled, I actually yelled! I was pretty pumped to reunite with him.”
They expressed how they support each other and try to help each other do their best. From Lyle: “…we are always there for each other, I think it's the opposite of competitiveness. You know me and him-I always want the best for him and he always wants the best for me...I know for sure he has a lot of confidence in me, he always puts the ball in my stick and wants me to create.”
Co-owner and President of the Swarm, Andy Arlotta said, “We were ecstatic to be able to get both Lyle and Miles on the team. This is something we've been working on for about five years now and there was no question we were going number one with Lyle...These guys are two of the most prolific Lacrosse players on the planet today and anytime an organization can get that, plus the fact that these guys are just class act young men and that's what we strive for in this organization.”
Both Thompson brothers are very respectful of the game that they have grown up playing and maintain that when they take to the field with stick in hand they are honoring the Creator. Lyle says that “being Native American, the game carry's a lot more meaning for us...so anytime we step on the field, anytime we have a Lacrosse stick in our hands we play with a different mind set... I'm just thankful for everything it's given me. You know I've traveled the world through Lacrosse, I've gotten an education through Lacrosse, a lot of things that I wouldn't have had happen if it wasn't for Lacrosse. You know, I'm thankful and I believe my job is to give back and to help as many people as I can through this game and the way I do that is being the best player I can be.”
Swarm President Andy Arlotta begins his 8th season with the Swarm. The Minnesota Swarm was well known to support the Native American community. When asked if the Georgia Swarm will continue with community support and outreach programs Mr. Arlotta replied, “Absolutely and we're looking at continuing to work with some of the communities in Minnesota still. I just feel its so important, its a Native American game, we've been blessed with this opportunity to be at this level and it's important for us to give back to the same communities that gave us this game so its been one of our number one objectives.” The Georgia Swarm has already hosted 2 clinics and is making efforts to get familiar with the local Georgia communities.
Young fans brought their LAX gear to get autographed and pose for photos at The Georgia Swarm autograph session at Dave and Buster's Sugarloaf Mills location. Amy Morris/Ciraphotogrpahy.com
Lacrosse fans Tony Ponce and mother Sherry Ponce posing with the new Georgia Swarm additions- Lyle and Miles Thompson and first local draft pick Rick Lewis. Amy Morris/Ciraphotogrpahy.com
A young LaCrosse fan wears a braid to impress the Thompson brothers. Amy Morris/Ciraphotogrpahy.com
Lyle and Miles Thompson and Rick Lewis busy signing autographs at a fan meet and greet autograph session at Dave and Buster's Sugarloaf Mills location. Amy Morris/Ciraphotogrpahy.com
Later that night, the Georgia Swarm headed over to a fan meet-and-greet autograph session at Dave and Buster's in the Sugarloaf Mills Mall. About 150 fans came out to show their support and meet the players who shook lots of hands, signed autographs and posed for fan photos. The first home game will be January 9th against The Toronto Rock at their new home field the Infinite Energy Center in Gwinnett County, Georgia.