Sports

South Surrey lacrosse star breaking new ground

South Surrey’s Spencer Bromley, who has played the last few years with the Burnaby Mountain Selects, will play next season at Merrimack College. - Contributed photo
South Surrey’s Spencer Bromley, who has played the last few years with the Burnaby Mountain Selects, will play next season at Merrimack College.
— image credit: Contributed photo

Years from now, when Merrimack College’s men’s field lacrosse team is chock full of Canadians, those at the school may look back to Spencer Bromley as something of a pioneer.

OK, perhaps the Grade 12 Earl Marriott Secondary student isn’t exactly the second coming of Jackie Robinson, but his signing with the NCAA school – located in North Andover, Mass. – earlier this winter broke down a barrier none the less.

When Bromley suits up for his first game with the Warriors next season, he will become the first Canadian to ever do so.

“I was pretty surprised when they told me that, actually. It’s cool, but I just figured there would’ve been somebody before me,” Bromley said.

Upon committing to the school, Bromley said the team’s head coach, Mike Morgan, informed him he was recruiting a second Canuck, this time from Calgary.

“He said now that I’m coming, he has started to recruit more out here,” Bromley said.

Bromley, who has played with the Burnaby Mountain Selects program for the past five years, came to Morgan’s attention during the prestigious Champ Camp tournament last summer in Baltimore.

During the tourney, Bromley, who plays attack with Burnaby Mountain, had a particularly strong game against another club team whose coach, it turns out, was Morgan.

“After the game, we just ended up talking for awhile. A little while later, I did a fly-down to check out the school, practised with the team, and that was that,” Bromley said.

The process of choosing where he wanted to play for the next four years was far from easy, however. Bromley had interest from a number of other schools, and said coming to a final decision “was a very stressful process.”

“I’ve been going down to these tournaments of a long time, trying to get looks from universities,” he explained.

“It’s a long and crazy process, when you’re talking to 20 schools at once, trying to maintain your school work and also still playing lacrosse five times a week.”

Eventually, he chose Merrimack because it was the best combination of lacrosse, academics and location.

Bromley was one of nine recruits signed by Merrimack during the NCAA’s early signing period in November, and Morgan was thrilled with his first-ever Canadian signee.

“Spencer has a great feel for the game and can finish as well as anyone we saw this summer,” Morgan said in a release. “He has played for some of the best box teams up north and brings a very crafty field lacrosse game as well.

“He adds a great inside presence to our team and should help us in that area next year.”

Though he’s played plenty of box lacrosse in his young career – in Delta and also with the Semiahmoo Rock – Bromley said the field game is better tailored to his game.

“They’re two completely different games, but in box lacrosse, it’s a lot harder for a smaller player like myself – it’s pretty physical. In field, there’s a lot more room,” Bromley explained.

And while the distance from home to North Andover – a little more than 5,000 km – is fairly significant, Bromley long ago came to grips with the fact that if he wanted to continue his career, he was going to have to swap the west coast for the east.

“If you want to play in college, that’s pretty much the place you have to go,” he said.

“It’s what I’ve always wanted to do. I tried hockey and baseball when I was younger, but lacrosse really just stuck with me – I don’t know what it was.”

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