Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are A-Changin’” should be the tune Logan Soelberg hums when he boards a flight this fall at LAX and heads to Yale to play lacrosse for the reigning NCAA champions.
Lacrosse is the sport on the East Coast that everyone assumes no one on the West Coast knows how to play at an elite level. So Soelberg, a 6-foot-2, 190-pound senior at Encino Crespi, has the opportunity to be a trendsetter in changing stereotypes.
“There’s a lot of talent but not the exposure the East Coast gets,” he said. “It’s a lot of football players who transition into lacrosse as to people bred into lacrosse who grow up with a stick in their hand, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. They get physicality and toughness out of it but don’t have those stick skills or the lacrosse IQ. It comes with time. The West Coast is a little behind but will catch up in time.”
Soelberg played football, basketball and baseball growing up in Santa Monica. Then, in seventh grade, he discovered lacrosse.
“I wanted to make a transfer to a sport where I could be running around all the time,” he said. “I wanted to run around with my friends and have a good time and maybe whack some people with sticks. I didn’t start too early or too late.”
So what did Soelberg do right to become a lacrosse star?
“It’s really about getting in the correct position to get looked at by certain teams,” he said. “I went to a combine where there were coaches there who felt I could make an impact on their teams.”
He committed to Maryland as a sophomore. Then he scored 67 goals last season at Crespi as a junior. Yale started expressing interest and Soelberg decided to take his 4.2 grade-point average and lacrosse skills to the Ivy League. He’ll have to apply for financial assistance, since Yale doesn’t offer athletic scholarships. Student loans could be in his future, but he’s going to get the East Coast lacrosse experience.
Football’s loss is lacrosse’s gain. He used to be a quarterback and shows off his running and leadership skills during games. He’ll fake left and run right. He can send the rubber ball on a line drive into the goal with precision and speed.
Four times he has broken his collarbone — twice in lacrosse, once in football and once snowboarding.
“It has a very nice combination that you have to be athletic but also tough,” he said of lacrosse.
High school lacrosse should get a boost next year in Southern California. Boys’ lacrosse is likely to be recognized as an official championship sport by the CIF Southern Section. To hold a championship, 20% of the membership schools must have teams. This year, there were 119 boys’ teams, which surpassed the 20% figure after the July deadline. There were 92 girls’ teams, short of the 113 needed out of 565 schools.
Next week, lacrosse will hold its L.A. Lacrosse Foundation Post Season Tournament with Los Angeles and Orange County brackets for boys and girls.
“I think you just have to prove it on the field,” Soelberg said. “You go back to tournaments on the East Coast. And they get to see how you play and see if they like your tenacity, your physicality.”