SPARKS, Maryland – Former Marquette All-America men’s lacrosse player Liam Byrnes is among the 24 players (12 men, 12 women) named by USA Lacrosse to represent the United States at The World Games 2022, a multi-sport competition that will feature over 3,600 athletes from more than 100 countries competing in 34 sports from July 7-17 in Birmingham, Ala.
The lacrosse competition will use the new high-intensity Sixes discipline developed by World Lacrosse for events such as The World Games. Sixes is a fast-paced version of the sport played on a smaller field (70 x 36 meters), with fewer players (6-v-6), a condensed game length (four 8-minute quarters) and a 30-second shot clock.
Byrnes was inducted into the Marquette M Club Hall of Fame earlier this spring and has become one of the best men’s lacrosse players in the world. He earned MLL Defensive Player of the Year in 2019 and was a second team all-pro in the Premier Lacrosse League in 2021. He is currently in the middle of his National Lacrosse League season with Panther City LC in Fort Worth, Texas.
Byrnes pushed the men’s lacrosse program to national prominence in his redshirt senior season as the Golden Eagles won the BIG EAST Championship over No. 1 Denver in 2016 and earned the No. 6 seed in the NCAA tournament with a first round home game at Valley Fields . Byrnes was named BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Year that season on his way to USILA Second Team All-America honors and is the only player in program history with over 200 ground balls and 100 caused turnovers.
The Sixes discipline was formally announced in May 2021 by World Lacrosse after more than three years of work. World Lacrosse, which continues to sponsor major international championships for box and field lacrosse, appointed a working group to develop a version of the sport that would complement the existing box and field versions of the sport that would meet the following five objectives:
- Support and encourage the continued growth of lacrosse worldwide
- Provide greater access to lacrosse by eliminating barriers to entry (eg, cost, team size, field size)
- Appeal to the next generation of sport participants and fans with a discipline that features tempo, speed, scoring and less specialization
- Over time, create greater competitive balance internationally by bringing more nations within reach of the podium at major international events
- And, fit within the 21st Century Olympic framework, where the International Olympic Committee and Host Cities are working to reduce the cost and complexity of staging the Olympic Games.
The men’s lacrosse competition at The World Games will take place from July 8-12 and the women’s competition runs from July 12-16, immediately on the heels of the World Lacrosse Women’s Championship, which is scheduled for June 29 – July 9 at Towson University and will utilize the traditional field version of the sport. Due to the back-to-back championships, USA Lacrosse made the decision not to have its women’s players play in both events and will have separate rosters.
The men’s team for The World Games, coached by Maryland assistant coach Bobby Benson and Yale head coach Andy Shay, features three USA gold medalists among its 12 players – Ryan Conrad (2016 US men’s U19 team), Jack Kelly (2018 US men’s senior team ) and Michael Sowers (2016 US men’s U19 team).
The women’s team for The World Games, coached by Florida head coach Amanda O’Leary and Florida assistant coach Regy Thorpe, is made up primarily of current collegiate players, with 11 of the 12 players competing in the 2022 NCAA season. The roster features four gold medalists from the 2019 US women’s U19 team – Kasey Choma, Madison Doucette, Belle Smith and Caitlyn Wurzburger.
The US began formal training for the Sixes discipline with two training camps last summer and then competed against Canada and the Haudenosaunee during the Super Sixes event at USA Lacrosse headquarters last October. During Super Sixes, Canada and the US men and women each went 3-1 with the Haudenosaunee men and women each compiling 0-4 records in the double round-robin event.
Here is the complete US men’s roster for The World Games:
|Matt Brandau||Yale ’23|
|Liam Byrnes||Marquette ’16||Waterdogs (PLL), Panther City (NLL)|
|Ryan Conrad||Virginia ’19||Waterdogs (PLL)|
|Adam Ghitelman||Virginia ’11||Archers (PLL)|
|Zach Goodrich||Towson ’19||Cannons (PLL)|
|Jack Kelly||Brown ’16||Redwoods (PLL)|
|Justin Guterding||Duke ’18||Whipsnakes (PLL)|
|Connor Kirst||Villanova ’20 / Rutgers (Gr.)||Whipsnakes (PLL), Georgia (NLL)|
|Brad Smith||Duke ’19||Whipsnakes (PLL), Albany (NLL)|
|Michael Sowers||Princeton ’20 / Duke (Gr.)||Waterdogs (PLL)|
|Brian Tevlin||Yale ’22|
|Ryan Tierney||Hofstra ’21||Cannons (PLL)|
About USA Lacrosse
USA Lacrosse, a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit corporation, is the governing body of men’s and women’s lacrosse in the United States, leads the US National Teams Program and establishes universal standards. With nearly 400,000 members across the country, USA Lacrosse unites the community of players, coaches, officials, parents, and program leaders. Working together, we inspire participation, enrich the athlete experience, and support the growth of the sport.