Often imitated, never replicated: Ryan Powell’s unforgettable resume

By Lauren Merola | Aug 3, 2023

Young waves of talent are constantly crashing lineups and stealing starting spots in professional lacrosse. Veterans are dethroned yearly by rookies who excel at what older players could once do best.

Turnover is natural, and often accepted. Unless you’re Ryan Powell.

Powell, a 2023 Professional Lacrosse Hall of Fame inductee, adapted his game to his age, propelling a career with honors galore that ended at age 32, with a gold medal in hand from the 2010 World Lacrosse Championship.

“As he got older, he knew who he was and he knew who he wasn’t,” Atlas coach Mike Pressler, who also coached Powell and Team USA in 2010, said. “A lot of players, especially as they get older, it’s tougher for them to accept who they are now as opposed to who they were 10 years ago. With Ryan, that wasn’t the case.”

Even in 2010, after hanging up his cleats in the MLL in 2008, Powell was still “an incredible feeder,” Pressler said.

“He was so far ahead of everybody, like two, three passes ahead. A consummate playmaker,” Pressler said.

It all culminated in the most impressive resume Pressler, and many lacrosse players alike, have ever seen.

“I'm not sure there was a greater body of work, a greater body of success individually and as a team, nobody had it better than Ryan Powell,” Pressler said.

Below are Powell’s accomplishments, listed linearly, starting with his days at Syracuse.

Division I Lacrosse

Attackman at Syracuse University (1997-2000)
  • A four-time All-American, Powell amassed 137 goals and 150 assists for the Orange. 
  • He is tied for second, along with his older brother Casey, on Syracuse’s all-time career points list with 287. The two are only preceded by their younger brother Michael (307). 
  • Powell also ranks fifth on Syracuse’s all-time career assist list, placing him in between his brothers.
  • Powell was given the Lt. Raymond Enners Award (Given to the best player in Division I) and the Jack Turnball Award (Given to the best attackman in Division I) his senior year.
  • Powell won a national championship at Syracuse in 2000.
  • “If you look at his resume, I'm not sure I’ve ever seen a guy win more championships or MVPs or Player of the Year’s than Ryan Powell,” Pressler said.

Major League Lacrosse

Attackman for the Rochester Rattlers (2001-2005), San Francisco Dragons (2006-2007) and Denver Outlaws (2008)
  • Powell recorded 360 career points in the MLL, earning the league’s inaugural MVP in 2001.
  • Powell was named both the MLL MVP and Offensive Player of the Year in 2006, becoming the first player to win both awards in the same season and the first player to receive MVP honors twice.
  • He was a five-time All-Star, being named the All-Star Game MVP in his final outdoor season in 2008.
  • Powell is 10th on the professional field lacrosse all-time assist list with 170.
  • “His IQ, the way he saw the game, was from above the game,” Pressler said. “Ryan was looking down at the field as opposed to looking onto the field.”

USA Men’s Lacrosse

Attackman for Team USA (2006, 2010)
  • In 2006, Ryan played for the U.S. in the World Games, winning a silver medal, with his brothers Casey and Michael.
  • He made the roster again in 2010, captaining the team alongside Kevin Cassese.
  • “I came to tears when Pressler called me to tell me I was elected,” Powell told USA Lacrosse Magazine in 2018. “That was very emotional for me because I knew that I was a little bit later in my career. It’s one thing to make the team and it’s a whole other thing when you’re selected by the coaching staff and players to be a team captain.”
  • On selecting Powell for the 2010 roster, Pressler said: “For any coach, you always say to yourself, to play a player, you have to trust him. You have to know what you’re going to get. Playing Ryan Powell in those World Games, we knew exactly what we were going to get. He’s always risen to the occasion. The bigger the game, the bigger the Ryan Powell-factor you can count on. You can’t say that about everybody. That’s one of the vivid things I remember about coaching him and looking at his resume as we were selecting him for the 2010 world team.”
  • Powell was inducted into the U.S. Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 2018.

Powell adds another Hall of Fame to his resume this weekend, when he is inducted alongside Ryan Boyle, Greg Cattrano, Roy Colsey, Jesse Hubbard and Brian Spallina into the Pro Lacrosse Hall of Fame.