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Penn State Lacrosse Alumni Discuss Going Pro, Offseason Habits, & Sport’s Future

Grant Ament made waves in the lacrosse community when he left Penn State men’s lacrosse last spring to pursue professional opportunities. The Doylestown native shut out the noise and had a phenomenal rookie season in the Premier Lacrosse League (PLL). 

Despite playing a shortened season, Ament racked up 20 points in six PLL Championship Series games (six goals, 14 assists.) He came in second in assists and fourth in points per game among all PLL players. His impact on the Archers was immediate, leading all attackmen on the team in points and assists by a landslide. 

Coming into a new organization can be tough for some players, but Ament said he was “grateful” to be with the Archers.

“I know that I’m around a bunch of genuinely good people,” Ament said. “Which, being a new kid on the block, it makes it very comforting. Guys like Scott Ratliff, Adam Ghitelman, Marcus Holman… when you surround yourself with those types of guys it makes things pretty easy for you.”

Coming into the locker room, Ament was greeted by fellow Penn Stater and Archers teammate, Drew Adams. Adams, who graduated in 2009, has known Ament since they did a commercial together for Maverik Lacrosse in 2012.

“That was definitely one of the highlights of the three weeks for me was just getting to spend more time with [Ament]. We had met a few times in the past but had never really got good quality time together like we did out there,” Adams said. “He played great, and I think off the field he really made a great impression on all the guys — the way he carries himself and prepares, just approaches relationships.”

Adams, a veteran goalie, has been playing professionally since 2009. He played in the Major Lacrosse League (MLL) for the New York Lizards until 2019, when he transitioned to playing in the PLL for the Archers.

Adams and Ament aren’t the only two former Penn Staters who play in the PLL. Defenseman Chris Sabia has competed in the league since the inaugural season in 2019 after graduating from Penn State. After playing for the PLL’s Chrome in 2019, he was picked by the PLL’s newest team, the Waterdogs, for their inaugural season this summer.

While Sabia quickly bonded with his new teammates, he admitted it was odd to be covering his old teammates during the series.

“It was really weird,” Sabia said. “Walking out and covering Jordan Wolf and Justin Guterding, [Jordan] MacIntosh – it was really strange because a year ago we were on the same team.”

Unlike other professional athletes, there are few professional lacrosse players who make the sport their full-time career. In the offseason, most players are busy with their full-time jobs and families.

Adams, who works as a product manager for Comcast, usually starts his morning around 6 a.m. with his two young children. He then starts working remotely between 8:30 and 9:30 a.m.

“I manage a team of software engineers and designers, and we basically build experiences that support sports content,” Adams said. “So we build an on TV app that you press a button on a remote and it pops up scores and schedules and highlights.”

Around midday, Adams will squeeze in a workout before returning to work. At the end of the day he spends time with his family. 

“This time of year, lacrosse is kind of on the back burner right now,” Adams said. “I have a trainer that I work out with a couple days a week and I still do a lot of stuff to stay in shape this time of year. In terms of playing and actually being out on the field, I’m really not out on the field at all this time of year. I’m more focused on just staying in shape, keeping my body in a good place.”

Like Adams, Sabia also works full-time as an advisor support consultant. 

“I think everyone would rather be in the office,” Sabia said. “I’ve been working home now for almost seven months, which is just crazy. It’s all like a blur. Sooner or later I hope we’re back in the office and life will be back to normal, or close to it.”

Working until the early evening, Sabia will usually get in a workout afterward. On the weekends he’s either spending time with his girlfriend, fishing, or golfing. 

“[Golf is] just one of those sports where it doesn’t matter how athletic you are or how good you were at a sport, it just humbles everyone,” Sabia said.

Sabia still has close ties to Penn State and works with strength coach Matt Dorn for training plans leading up to the season as well as in the offseason. 

“[Dorn’s] great,” Sabia said. “He’s the best at what he does so it’s been going well.”

In the offseason, Sabia’s training consists of lifts and going for the occasional run. Recent Penn State graduate Ament also gets his training plans from Dorn.

Ament is one of the few lacrosse players who is making a career out of the sport. He recently signed sponsorship deals with New Balance and Warrior and has launched a coaching app called Attack Academy with PLL Atlas attackman Rob Pannell.

During his limited free time, Ament enjoys reading when he can. His current pick is “Relentless” by Tim Grover.

“Other than (Attack Academy) and playing, I’m not going to do a desk job,” Ament said. “I think very few people in the world can say that they are a full-time professional athlete, and while I have the time to be able to do it, I want to maximize that time and live the dream that every little kid wants to live one day.”

Ament realizes he’s in the minority of professional lacrosse players, and that it is a relatively new development to be able to be all in with the sport.

“For me, to be able to be financially supported by both the PLL and those other buckets, is really a dream come true,” Ament said.  “Quite frankly, five years ago we wouldn’t even be having the same conversation.”

Adams, a veteran of the sport, can attest to how far the sport has come. Adams, Ament, and Sabia all believe that with the growth lacrosse has had over the last decade that it is inevitable professional lacrosse players will one day have the same opportunities as other major athletes.

“I look at where the sport’s gone since I’ve been playing professionally…it went from making barely enough to buy drinks after the game, to making a pretty comfortable living if you don’t have kids and a family and you’re right out of school,” Adams said. “I’m optimistic that at some point it could be a sport where you might not be making a million bucks a year, but you could make enough to live comfortably even if you have a couple of kids at home.”

Ament believes that with the increasing popularity of the sport, salary caps will continue to rise as the sport gains a larger audience. 

“It is really cool for us to kind of be paving the way for that,” Sabia said. “Being trailblazers…I think that’s really cool to kind of set that path for others to follow. I’m hoping for one day that – a kid that was just like me can have this be his full time job and make some money to support his family.”

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About the Author

Acacia Aster Broder

Acacia is a junior from Philadelphia majoring in digital and print journalism with a sports certificate. Although she considers herself a Philadelphian at heart, she is a Toronto and Seattle sports fan. Follow her on Twitter @acaciaaster or Instagram @acaciaastr for hockey takes and mediocre analysis.

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