Denver Outlaws attackman Cross Ferrara

Cross Ferrara brings hard work and D3 grit to Denver Outlaws

By Topher Adams | Jun 20, 2024

Cross Ferrara burst onto the scene as an unheralded fourth-round rookie with his game-winning goal against the Whipsnakes last season. Over a year later, Ferrara is not just a good story, but part of the glue helping to remake the Denver Outlaws.

In overtime against the Utah Archers, Ferrara received the ball on the high right wing on a powerplay. After Denver cycled the ball, it was Ferrara who made the incisive pass, ripping the ball through a sea of Utah defenders and into the stick of Brennan O’Neill for the win.

Ferrara never expected to be a professional lacrosse player. He didn’t even think he’d be a college lacrosse player. It wasn’t for a lack of talent on the lacrosse field; college just wasn’t a priority right away.

He looked at schools, but Ferrara was set to work at his family’s construction company in Delaware and enjoy hunting and fishing. Then hunting and fishing put Salisbury on his radar.

“My father was like, ‘The hunting is great around Salisbury, and the fishing’s great,'” Ferrara said. 

The outdoors piqued Ferrara's interest in Salisbury, but head coach Jim Berkman was what sold him on joining the Sea Gulls. Ferrara clicked with Berkman -- who’s won 13 Division III national championships at Salisbury -- and knew he wanted to join the program.

“He reminds me so much of my grandfather and the way he runs his business,” Ferrara said. “It kind of just felt like home.”

Berkman helped unlock Ferrara as a lacrosse player. Ferrara has a strong work ethic that he credits to his family, but Berkman and the staff at Salisbury helped translate that work and untapped potential on the lacrosse field.

“I still worked hard, but there was a lot more in the tank and he and he kind of got that out of me,” Ferrara said. “I don't think I'd be in the position I am today if it wasn’t for Coach Berkman.”

At Salisbury, Ferrara became a historically dominant attackman. He is the Sea Gulls' all-time leader in points (473) and goals (362). Ferrara really exploded toward the end of his career with 91 and 88 goals in his last two college seasons. 

His final season culminated not only in countless individual accolades, but also in the ultimate team achievement: a national championship.

“I would trade all the personal accolades for a championship any day of the week,” Ferrara said.

After his legendary run with Salisbury ended, Ferrara assumed his lacrosse career was over. He didn’t think pro lacrosse was really an option. But at least one coach in the PLL closely watched his final year in college and took a chance on him: Tim Soudan.

Soudan’s son Tanner joined the Sea Gulls in 2023, Ferrara’s last season. From the first time he saw Ferrara play in Salisbury’s fall Maroon and Gold intrasquad game, Soudan was impressed.

“He was unstoppable,” the Outlaws head coach said.

Soudan was able to learn more about Ferrara by being around the Salisbury program, and he ultimately selected the D3 standout in the fourth round of the 2023 College Draft. 

Ferrara wasn’t expecting a chance to play pro lacrosse, and the PLL wasn’t even on his radar until the day before the draft.

“The day before the draft, Coach Berkman asked me if I'd be interested in playing pro," Ferrara said. "And I was like, ‘What are you talking about?’” 

Coming from Division III, Ferrara didn’t have much experience with the players in the PLL. While a standout from a top Division I program spends his college career battling against future pros, Ferrara had never faced his new competition.

But that wasn't intimidating for Ferrara -- it was liberating. He played free and just focused on executing and doing his job, he said. That approach worked for Ferrara as he made the team out of training camp and started most of his rookie season at attack.

In his burgeoning professional career, Ferrara is proving that the best of Division III can compete at the highest level.

“Some people hate on D3 lacrosse, but when you get to the best of the best of D3 lacrosse, they can compete with the best of them,” Ferrara said.

Now in Year 2, Ferrara is still a big piece of Denver’s offensive core. The influx of new talent -- including O’Neill, Josh Zawada and Jack Myers -- pushed Ferrara to the midfield, but he’s still a key cog in the offense.

He has three assists in two games as a midfielder. He also starts on the team’s top powerplay, where he made his biggest contribution to the season so far. Regardless of what position he plays or what he’s asked to do, winning is the priority for Ferrara.

“I just take what comes to me, and then that's really about it,” Ferrara said. “You always want to do good for yourself, but I want the team to do good first.”