I have been friends with Ryan Wallace for several years and he is doing an awesome job growing the game of lacrosse all over the world. Ryan is a player, coach, official, and just an all around great person to represent for the sport of lacrosse. I look forward to running into Ryan either in the USA again or in another country as we both continue our efforts in growing the game of lacrosse! I'm proud to have Ryan Wallace as a member of the Total Lacrosse Hall Of Fame, Class Of 2018!
JV: What age and where did you begin playing lacrosse?
RW: I started playing lacrosse in my senior year of high school. We had to start the team from scratch at our high school. So it was me and 8 of my friends playing catch in a field in Kansas in 1999 that started everything for me. I grew up playing Soccer and doing Martial Arts, so I like the physicality of the game. We weren't very good those first years, but it was still fun even though we were terrible. I actually took a year off from playing and learned to become a referee my Freshman year of college. We didn't have a team, so I played Ultimate Frisbee and reffed a lot of games. Reffing gave me the chance to watch lots of games and learn and get paid for it. For $50/hour that's pretty much the best college job I can think of.
JV: You have traveled to many countries playing, coaching, and officiating lacrosse; Can you talk about where you have traveled to, what your experience has been like traveling the world, and are you ever coming back to the USA?
RW: Lacrosse has afforded me the chance to travel and live in the UK, Italy, Germany, Costa Rica, Spain, Ireland, now Finland, Croatia, Israel, Kenya and Uganda. It's actually refereeing that gets me invited most places. Way more than playing or coaching. Once I'm there to Referee the games or Tournaments, I'm also there to help teach and coach players what they should be doing. And of course you meet tons of friends and people take you out in their city or country and show you around and buy you a few beers. What could be better? Not sure when I'm coming back to the US. I have to get to South Korea, Japan, Australia and all of South America first.
JV: What are some of the Club teams and tournaments you play in and have played in?
RW: I've reffed at some really great tournaments over the years and played with some great teams. Usually I play for the less experienced teams at the Tournaments I go to. Brian Witmer says he's not a great player, but he's a great teammate. I try to be the same way. So I play with lots of different teams, lots of different people. When you do that, you have to be a good teammate, you have to share the ball, and you have to help the players around you get better. I've played in the SEMLA Minor Flags in the UK, some tournaments in Milan, Barcelona, Prague lots of times, Scandinavia Cup in Oslo. Ales Hrebesky, Israel Premier League in Tel Aviv, Mardi Gras in New Orleans, Berlin Open, Lowlands Amsterdam. Lisboa Cup in Lisbon is my new favorite. My dream is to go to the End of the World in Patagonia.
JV: How does it feel to be inducted into the Total Lacrosse Hall Of Fame Class Of 2018?
RW: Total Lacrosse Hall of Fame is a huge honor for me. I'm just a regular kid from Kansas. I'm not even any good haha.
Total Lacrosse Magazine