Eric Law a 'Calming Presence' for Young Atlas LC

The second-seeded Atlas had the highest scoring offense in the 2021 regular season. Four of the team’s players tallied more than 20 points.

Three of those players — thanks to the team’s youth-focused approach this past offseason — were second-year midfielder Bryan Costabile and rookies Jeff Teat and Jake Carraway.

But in the team’s first-round playoff matchup against Cannons LC, it was the playoff-tested Eric Law who took control with a game-high seven points, leading the team to a 13-9 victory and booking a trip to the Premier Lacrosse League semifinals.

“It was one of those games things just open up for you,” Law said. “I’m just happy I could step up and be there for my teammates when they’ve been the ones the whole rest of the year that have been stepping up, putting the whole team on their backs.”

After the Atlas suffered through two underwhelming seasons in 2019 and 2020 despite a star-studded roster, head coach Ben Rubeor shook things up, trading away veterans Paul Rabil, Rob Pannell and Ryan Brown.

Law, entering his ninth year of professional lacrosse, wondered if he would be the next player traded. Instead, Rubeor called him and explained that he hoped Law would be the team’s quarterback on offense. Rubeor needed a veteran presence who could show the young players how to be a pro.

“You start to see some of the pieces fall, and you know that it’s going to be a, quote, rebuild year and going young, and you might be that next one,” he said. “I’ve always felt like I was one of the younger guys on the team, and that’s been my MO, to now, all of a sudden, you’re the oldest guy on the team and kind of the veteran of the group to show everyone and lead the way.”

He was a natural choice for the role.

“He commands a presence where everyone is like, ‘You’re right. It’s OK.’”

— Bryan Costabile

Costabile was a rookie during the 2020 Championship Series, and Law was one of the first players he met on the team. Costabile roomed with Romar Dennis, and they had an adjoining room to Law and Jake Richards. Costabile said Law immediately made him feel like part of the team.

“I got to know Eric before seeing him on a playing field,” Costabile said. “I was super nervous coming in, and he was a calming presence.”

Despite being a five-time professional lacrosse All-Star, Law was overlooked during the offseason rebuild. When the Atlas traded Rabil, Pannell, and Brown, the hype and focus from media and fans skipped past Law and went to the young core of players the team was building around on offense, including Teat, Carraway, Costabile and Dan Bucaro.

Law didn’t mind flying under the radar, however. He was too focused on his role as a mentor to the younger players, a role he learned during his time with the Denver Outlaws in Major League Lacrosse.

“I think playing for the Outlaws for all those years and having the incredible leadership I learned from, guys like Brendan Mundorf, Jesse Schwartzman, Lee Zink, Anthony Kelly, Matt Bocklet, Dillon Roy, John Grant Jr. and Chris Bocklet, and seeing all their different types of leadership skills, that really helped me,” Law said. “They had all taken me under their wing when I first started there, and now kind of turning back over and seeing the younger guys on the team, [I want to try] to do the same exact thing.

“One big thing I learned from that group was they told us it’s the same game of lacrosse you played your whole life,” he added. “There might just be a couple more people watching, a couple more cameras, but it’s that same fun game we’ve all been playing since we were kids.”

Those lessons came in handy in the first round of the playoffs. Despite the successes ofTeat and Costabile during the regular season, many of the Atlas’ budding stars didn’t have pro playoff experience.

On the flipside, Law is known for coming up big in the playoffs, like he did for the Outlaws. He tallied 26 goals and 13 assists in nine career MLL playoff games, going 7-2 and helping the Outlaws win three championships during that time. In his first career playoff game, he scored nine goals. In the 2017 MLL title game, Law scored the game-winning goal with 12.9 seconds left in regulation.

It was up to Law to share with his young teammates what he’s learned about playoff lacrosse.

“In any professional lacrosse game, and even more under a microscope when you’re in the playoffs, is every single little play matters,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s in the first quarter or the fourth quarter. Picking up that extra ground ball or sticking that shot instead of sailing it over the net, and putting it on cage or making that big save, the little plays become even more important. The team that can execute those and stay mentally focused for the full 48 minutes makes the difference in the outcome, which is crazy when you think about it.”

The Atlas started slowly against the Cannons, staring down an early 2-0 hole. Even after a four-goal run in the first quarter to take the lead, Law said the Atlas offense was a bit tense. They were turning the ball over more than they expected.


Law helped the team settle in and finish strong.

“He said, ‘Look, we’re not playing great,’” Costabile said. “[He said], ‘We played against this team. We’ve done this before. We know if we play our style of lacrosse, we’ll come out with a win.’ He commands a presence where everyone is like, ‘You’re right. It’s OK, and if he’s telling us to do that, it’s OK.’”

Law finished the game with three goals and four assists. It was his highest point total of the season. He again thought back to his days on the Outlaws when he said Grant Jr. would raise his game in the playoffs when the team needed him most.

More important to Law, however, was that the team earned the victory and moved on. Much like he was a part of history helping the Outlaws win their first championship in 2014, he was proud to be a part of the Atlas’ first true playoff victory. He hopes to make history with another first championship in franchise history.

“I think once you get back to the locker room, you’re thinking about the journey it’s been to get to that point,” he said. “To now come full circle and get back into that top contender spot in the league, which is pretty fulfilling to be there, just to know you could get back. It was tough days before, but once you get back into the playoffs, it’s always a great thing, and you just want to keep getting into the next rounds. It’s nice to be able to help your team as much as you can, whether that’s a multi-point game or even having no points but feeling like you played and helped your teammates as much as you can.

“Any time you’re getting a win in the playoffs, it’s always a fun thing, and you appreciate knowing it doesn’t come easy.”