Xavier Arline Living Best of Both Worlds as Navy QB and Attackman


Xavier Arline leads Navy in assists (nine) and points (16).

Xavier Arline didn’t want to choose.

Growing up, his Memorial Days were planned well in advance around college lacrosse championship weekend. He played both football and men’s lacrosse at Shoreham-Wading River High School on Long Island. North Carolina pursued him for lacrosse. He chose to attend the Naval Academy in part because of the opportunity to play quarterback for an FBS school.

Lacrosse, though, stuck with him even as he spent his first year in Annapolis dedicated to learning the intricacies of Navy’s option offense.

“Lacrosse is a part of who I am,” Arline said in the days leading into his junior year of lacrosse. “It’s part of my identity and it’s brought so many relationships and connections and also something that just brings so much joy to my heart. I needed to be back and playing.”

Arline lost the lacrosse season of his senior year of high school to the pandemic. The closest he got to the sport as a plebe at Navy was to try blending into the background in the bleachers at practice, only for coach Joe Amplo to ask him to come down to the field and watch the rest of the session with him.

Viewing Navy games online from his dorm room wasn’t ideal. Neither was trying to get back into the sport last year while coming off a hamstring injury suffered in the Army-Navy football game in December 2021.

“In my head, I was the same player I was in high school,” said Arline, whom Inside Lacrosse ranked as the nation’s No. 5 recruit and qualified for the round of 50 during U.S. U19 national team tryouts. “But on the field, I honestly needed time to knock the rust off. I needed time to play and that was frustrating for me mentally. Probably the hardest time for me at the academy was coming back from that.”

Arline peaked at the perfect time last spring, delivering two goals and two assists in an overtime victory at Army. And after coming out of football season without lingering injuries, he felt far sharper as lacrosse season approached.

His eagerness for it was every bit as strong.

“Even when things aren’t going well, when you just have so much confidence and you’re having fun, it’s just so relaxing,” Arline said. “Football is fun and it’s great, but it’s a lot more tense and stressful. A fumble in football as a quarterback is detrimental. You throw the ball away in a lacrosse game and you make a play and it’s a turnover, it’s a part of the game. I can just go out there and be myself.”

And perhaps be an inspiration as well. Arline, who has started Navy’s first five games and has seven goals and team highs in assists (nine) and points (16), recalled advice his quarterback trainer often offered. Because of the jerseys athletes wear, they have an opportunity and responsibility to change their little section of the world.

“Why not let a kid know when he’s young that he can do whatever he wants to do, no matter how hard it is, no matter what institution it is?” Arline said. “If you have a dream, go chase it. That’s really what I’m doing. Hopefully, people recognize that’s what I’m doing. I’m not trying to hurt anyone’s feelings. I’m trying to live out my dream because I only get to do it once.”

Arline’s plans could have been scuttled in the wake of Navy’s decision to change football coaches in December. But the newly hired Brian Newberry told Arline he wouldn’t break a promise that was made when Arline arrived at the academy.

Instead, Arline will be a full-time lacrosse player until spring practice begins in mid-March, then toggle between the two — likely spending three days a week with each.

“I’m grateful for him for allowing me to do this because he easily could have been like, ‘No, you’re full time,’ and it would have been over and I probably never would have played lacrosse again,” Arline said.

From a strictly logistical sense, the only obstacle between Arline and squeezing three seasons of lacrosse into his academy career is navigating the five weeks of spring football this March and April. It’s possible he will miss a game or two to fulfill his football commitments.

To Arline, it’s a far more appealing price than not playing lacrosse at all. Of course, there are other costs — including time management at an institution with no shortage of demands.

“Some might think I’m crazy, but it’s just what I love to do,” Arline said. “At same time, balancing two sports is like balancing two girlfriends. You have to keep everybody happy and that’s hard to do because there’s really not enough time to do it perfectly.”


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