In case you missed it, a Major League Lacrosse (MLL) team has come to Atlanta. The Atlanta Blaze has made its home OTP in Kennesaw, and will be hosting games at the Fifth Third Stadium at Kennesaw State.
We were lucky enough to sit down with Henry Schoonmaker for an interview right before the first face off of the year. He shared some inside scoop on how he and the team are preparing for the Blaze’s inaugural season.
The Atlanta Blaze is the MLL’s ninth team, and its roster is stacked with young talent. Schoonmaker, 22, is a Syracuse graduate hailing from Portland, Oregon. He is optimistic about the team’s youthfulness and competitiveness. A midfielder for the Blaze, Schoonmaker, #77, assists with coaching a local youth program and helping promote the Blaze through community events in his off time.
When we asked him how he liked being in Atlanta and part of a young, new organization he said that it was a very nice contrast to his college experience: “It was great playing at Syracuse — a big, established program. It will be fun to be a part of helping to build something new.”
Originally drafted by Chesapeake, Schoonmaker came to Atlanta through a trade. Other players on the Blaze have been acquired similarly, or have been drafted directly from college. Two players are finishing up their college seasons with Duke University right now. One of the more veteran players is local Scott Ratliff, a Marietta native, who is sure to bring in some hometown fans.
If you are involved in lacrosse, there is a good chance you might run into some Blaze players in the off season, as many of them work as coaches and host clinics.
The MLL season starts before the college lacrosse season and the National Lacrosse League (indoor lacrosse) have completed, so the Blaze will not be at full roster until mid season. No worries though — the team is ready to work and play hard! According to Schoonmaker, the youthfulness of the team helps drive their determination to be physically fit and compete against the other established MLL teams they will face this season.
Blaze games will be a great opportunity to get the family out to a professional sporting event without having to go downtown and without breaking the bank. If you haven’t seen a lacrosse game yet, you really should — they are so exciting!
The season’s home opener is April 23rd, with a post-game concert immediately following starring Eric Paslay and Clare Dunn. There are some other exciting events planned this season too, so be sure to check them out.