PHOTO COURTESY OF PREMIER LACROSSE LEAGUE

An Unexpected Call Led to Dylan Molloy's Return to the Pro Field


Looking for a spark on offense, Chrome LC head coach Tim Soudan went to the Premier Lacrosse League player pool. One player stood out: Dylan Molloy.

The Brown graduate and former Major League Lacrosse All-Star had not been added to a team’s roster since the MLL-PLL merger in December 2020. Wanting to get a sense of where Molloy was in terms of lacrosse, Soudan called Molloy to ask if he was physically fit. In response, Molloy sent a picture of where he was at that very moment: the gym.

Soudan was pleased and added Molloy to the Chrome roster in time for him to make his PLL debut in Week 7.

“I was not expecting a call from him at that specific time,” Molloy said. “I thought it was mailed in at that point of the season. I assumed whatever was going on was going to keep going on. I was staying in shape for my own personal reasons.”

Molloy had been a staple in professional lacrosse since being drafted first overall in the 2017 MLL Collegiate Draft. The 2016 Tewaaraton Award winner made an immediate impact his rookie season, scoring 21 goals and adding six assists in eight games, helping the Florida Launch earn a spot in the MLL playoffs for the first time. The following season, he earned his first All-Star appearance and finished fourth in the league in scoring with 41 goals and 18 assists.

In 2019, he joined his hometown New York Lizards and finished second on the team in scoring behind Rob Pannell. He was also named MVP of the All-Star Game.

At the start of the 2021 season, though, he was without a team, hanging out with friends every weekend instead of bull dodging his way onto the Top 10 plays countdown on “SportsCenter.”


“I wanted to show I still had it.”

— Dylan Molloy


“It was very frustrating. There were a lot of factors out of my control at this point,” Molloy said. “It was nice to be with the family and friends, but I got a lot of questions from people why I wasn’t playing, and it felt funky. I wanted to show I still had it.”

When the PLL was founded in late 2018, Molloy was one of the 100-plus players listed to leave the MLL for the PLL. When rosters for the inaugural season were released, Molloy was assigned to the Redwoods. But in early May 2019, Molloy was released from his PLL contract, and he re-signed with the MLL and the Lizards.

At the time, PLL Head of Lacrosse Josh Sims tweeted, “After serious consideration with Nat St. Laurent and his staff, the Redwoods Lacrosse Club has decided to release Dylan Molloy due to his inability to make training camp and commit to our regular season schedule. We wish him the best.”

Fast forward to 2021, and Molloy’s name was back in the player pool. With a resume like his, it was surprising to many that he was a free agent for the first six weeks of the season. Star attackmen like Jordan Wolf, Randy Staats, Matt Rambo and Michael Sowers had all missed multiple games due to injuries; Curtis Dickson was on the unable to travel list; Matt Gaudet had his contract terminated by the league. But still, Molloy wasn’t invited to training camp.

At this point in professional lacrosse, it isn’t unusual for an individual to not play due to work commitments or other family obligations that interfere with the schedule. Some fans assumed this must be the case regarding Molloy. On multiple occasions, though, Molloy replied to various tweets, saying he was “able and committed to playing lacrosse.” The situation lent itself to accusations from fans that the league had “blackballed” him.

Molloy said he had reached out to coaches about playing and there was interest around the league, but when asked about the accusations, Molloy refused to speculate why it took until the penultimate week of the season to land on a roster. He’s just thankful to finally get an opportunity.

“It’s just like any turnover. It’s on to the next one,” he said. “It’s not consistently in my head. If ever asked about this year, it’s not something you’re going to forget about. But day to day, I’m happy to be playing again.”








For his part, Soudan was not affiliated with either professional outdoor league in 2019 and thus was not privy to any of Molloy’s contract discussions. All he knows is that there was no pushback or memo when he sent in Molloy’s name to be add to his Chrome roster, and he told him as much.

“I like him as a human being and player, and that’s all I need to know,” Soudan said. “I just put his name in and never got a phone call, which means the league is accepting of him. I don’t know where the nonsense comes from.”

He may have been frustrated that he wasn’t playing, but Molloy was more than enthusiastic to join forces with Soudan and the Chrome.

He did not get to play against Soudan in the MLL, as the Launch played both games against the Rochester Rattlers before Molloy suited up in 2017, and Soudan stepped down when the Rattlers moved to Dallas in 2018. He did say, though, that Soudan’s reputation preceded him, and their conversations cemented those sentiments.

“He was very straight to the point but seemed like he respected his players and would do anything for them,” Molloy said. “He has a longstanding relationship with a lot of his players and would go to bat for them. That’s someone I want to play for.”




PHOTO COURTESY OF PREMIER LACROSSE LEAGUE


In Week 7, the Chrome played Friday against the Atlas and Sunday against the Chaos. Molloy was immediately inserted into the starting lineup alongside Colin Heacock and Jackson Morrill on attack. In the first game, he scored two goals with two assists and picked up three ground balls. His four points were the best on the team. In the second game, he scored another two goals but also committed three turnovers. The Chrome lost both games.

Molloy said he had fun seeing familiar faces, but he was not pleased with his performances.

“I was pissed off,” he said. “It’s not how I remember playing. It wasn’t up to my standards at all.”

His coach was a bit more optimistic. Soudan said he expected the turnovers while Molloy got his first taste of game action in some time. He also expected Molloy to have an even bigger impact in the final game of the season against the Cannons, a game the team must-win in order to secure the final playoff spot.

“It’s nice to have a marquee guy to step in,” Soudan said. “He’s a highly intelligent lacrosse player. He has a style where he knows what he needs to do. I don’t think he dodged as well as he thought he could. With fresh legs against the Cannons, I think he’s going to be a handful.”

The 2021 season will be the fewest games Molloy has ever played as a professional, including the 2020 season that was reduced to five games due to the COVID-19 pandemic. That being said, there is still an opportunity for Molloy to make a big impact, especially if he can help the Chrome reach the playoffs.

What Molloy will remember most fondly about this season is the support he received from the fans and from Soudan, and he wants to reward them all for their faith in him.

“It’s been a while since I won the Tewaaraton, so it’s not like I was fresh in the spotlight, so it was nice to see people still wanting me to play,” he said. “[Coach Soudan] knew I wasn’t coming in hot off the press with a season under my belt. He was willing to deal with some turnovers and mistakes. He knew I was coming in to do whatever the team needed. I was trying to find my spot. He liked me doing those dodges, and I had some success. … His trust was great. I like having his respect, but I want to deliver.

“It was cool to be back and welcomed back,” he added. “It was fun to be playing and sweating again.”