Lacrosse is blessed with a new generation of talented players, poised to lead the game to levels not yet seen from both a competitive and participation standpoint. Perhaps the young man best positioned to become the future face of the NLL is New York Riptide forward Jeff Teat.
After establishing rookie records for assists and points during his debut campaign, the 26-year-old Teat led the league in goals last season with 56, while finishing third in assists with 80. His combined point total of 136 fell only one shy of Dhane Smith’s all-time single season record.
Not bad for only his second year in the league!
The man of a million moves is most certainly hoping that the upcoming season serves as a further padding of his individual resume, while simultaneously providing the former first overall pick with his very first taste of winning as a professional, in the wake of two below .500 placements in the standings.
“Going into this year, you start off level, then you continue to make small strides every time you’re with each other and be the best teammates you can be, and everything will take care of itself,” noted Teat.
The Cornell alum added, “I’m a big believer in consistent improvement and learning from others. I think for me this offseason has been huge, hitting the weight room, adding strength, physicality and durability to go along with what I have. It’s so important to learn from other veterans around the league to always add to your IQ, having a stick in your hand every day and watching film.”
For their part, the Riptide front office cannot be accused of standing idly by this summer, after pulling off a mega players-and-picks three-team transaction with the Wings and Seals. Kiel Matisz and Matt Anderson join Teat on Long Island, with Scott Dominey and Mike McCannell setting up shop in South Philadelphia, while Trevor Baptiste and Kyle Jackson will now spend their winter weekends in sunny San Diego.
Teat is overjoyed to take the floor with a player the caliber of Matisz.
“Kiel Matisz is awesome. He’s a great leader who has been there before. I met him formally two weeks ago, and he’s just a great guy to have in the locker room. He can come in ground us and show us the way both on and off the floor.”
Teat is well aware of how team success can truly galvanize both his own fortunes and that of the Riptide organization, considering everything that comes with calling the megalopolis of New York home.
“That would be the dream. That would be awesome if that were to happen in the next 5 or 10 years. The hope is that we can lay a good foundation with team success where kids and families will want to come out to the games and that continues to snowball and gain traction. Plus, we’re helping in the community as much as possible,” explained the Brampton, Ontario native.
Amid competing for both the NLL’s Riptide and the PLL’s Atlas, while coaching seventh and eighth grade lacrosse at The Hill Academy during the days in between, the young superstar proudly boasts that his love affair with the sport is a 24/7 level of passion.
When comparing the dueling league experiences, not surprisingly, Teat’s glass half-full approach to life came shining through.
“It’s a good balance between the two. You have pros in both leagues. In the NLL, there’s a little bit more familiarity especially with your home organization, traveling to the same place every weekend or every other weekend, with the same arena and same hotel. I love doing that. On the flipside, in the PLL, you get to see some new places, traveling to a different city each week with the entire league, and seeing some more faces.”
Teat added his two cents regarding his approach to fitness and overall body preservation, amid his very busy schedule.
“It’s similar training in the weight room, getting bigger, faster, stronger. Playing in both leagues, when you’re in-season or later in the season your body gets worn down, then it becomes about maintenance and being ready to play every single weekend at optimum performance.”
And when it comes to guiding the next generation of lacrosse icons, Teat’s love affair with coaching the youth of Brampton was on full display.
“I enjoy it so much. Coaching and being around them is great, they’re super fun and great kids. They have a laugh at whatever they’re doing and are dedicated to being the best lacrosse players and best people. They don’t take it for granted at all. They’re so coachable and so appreciative.”
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