“He’s the glue guy”: Mikie Schlosser’s impact in the Waterdogs locker room
By Lauren Merola | Sep 16, 2022
Schlosser greeted McArdle with his normal niceties. A hug here and “You’re doing great” there was customary for Schlosser, but staying on the sideline during a Waterdogs possession after the whistle blew, that was new.
Out with an injury, Schlosser adapted to help the team in any way he could. He became half-coach and half-cheerleader.
When McArdle reached him during that timeout, Schlosser pulled out the iPad to show McArdle what the Chaos defense was doing, and where they were sliding from.
“He showed me the slide was coming from my backside,” McArdle said. “That helped me out a lot.”
The Waterdogs beat Chaos, the defending champion, 18-9. That was on June 24, the last time the two teams met. They’re set to face off in the championship game in Washington D.C. on Sunday, and, after going down in the first quarter of the semifinal game with a lower extremity injury, Schlosser’s role from Week 4 will be no different.
“His role doesn’t change,” captain Steven DeNapoli said. “Even when he was playing and suiting up, Mikie’s still the same person. He’s still going to come at you with a smile. He’s going to hype you up. He’s going to be a little bit of a coach. He’s going to be a little bit of a trainer. He’ll read the situation on what we need. If everyone’s really tense, he’ll crack a joke. When we need to get serious, he’ll be there to give advice to the young guys and help the offense out.”
Throughout the season, his status on the field fluctuated, but Schlosser’s willingness to help his team win remained consistent.
Copelan said he trusts Schlosser “implicitly,” so having him reviewing film on the iPads during the championship game and talking his teammates through plays will be a big help. He’ll still be a valuable member of the team, “despite being there on crutches.”
Which won’t be mentioned. Not once.
Copelan said he hasn’t heard Schlosser pout since going down with the season-ending injury. Instead, Copelan’s seen Schlosser’s focus shift toward his teammates.
“I know he’s bummed, but just from knowing Mikie, he’s not going to let his injury impact what we have to do as a team,” DeNapoli said. “He’s not taking any spotlight or pity. He’s there to be a part of the success of the team.”
The team that wants to see him on the sideline no matter what.
The team that just lost its best downhill dodger for the biggest game of the season.
“When you see Mikie come out of the box, he turns on those jets and when he’s running full speed, he’s really hard to cover,” McArdle said. “He brings that long-range shooting and shooting on the run. He’s a strong downhill dodger, which we don’t have a ton of on our team.”
Midfielders Jack Hannah and Connor Kelly will get more touches on the ball with Schlosser out, but Copelan, McArdle and DeNapoli know who has to step up to walk away with the club’s first-ever championship.
“Everyone,” they all said.
According to DeNapoli, Schlosser strikes the perfect balance between calm and competitive. When there’s downtime, Schlosser fills the locker room with laughs. When it’s go-time, he’ll zone in and hype up his teammates.
Schlosser’s hyper-competitive side doesn’t hide under his long hair or Teva sandals, which DeNapoli said he wears “everywhere.” To the Waterdogs, his need to win is obvious. It’s in the pass he made to an open man when he could’ve taken the shot. It’s in the film he studied live during a game so his teammates had a better breakdown of the defense. It’s in the team chemistry he’s helped build by orchestrating Zoom meetings and extra days together in whichever city the team is playing in. It’s in his return from injury to put his body on the line once more.
“He’s the glue guy,” DeNapoli said. “That’s exactly who Mikie is.”
That’s exactly why Schlosser was nominated for the 2022 Jimmy Regan Teammate Award. He didn’t win, but his nomination didn’t surprise any of his teammates. In McArdle’s nine years as a professional lacrosse player, he said Schlosser is on a “very short list” of his top teammates, despite only playing together for the past two years.
“Mikie goes out of his way to make whoever he’s talking to feel really special,” Copelan said. “He’s a genuine, authentic old soul.”
DeNapoli doesn’t remember specifically meeting Schlosser for the first time at training camp in 2021 because after meeting, DeNapoli felt like they had been friends for years. Immediately, DeNapoli knew Schlosser cared about him, the team and their success.
Schlosser won’t play in the 2022 championship game, but his days as a Dog are far from over.
“Whether he’s playing or not playing, he’s a huge part of the Waterdogs and the future of the Waterdogs,” Copelan said.