'Two Guys You Want to Follow:' How Galloway, White Gave Lacrosse Their All

The matchup between the Chrome and Cannons was a “loser-leaves-town” scenario; both teams entered with a 2-6 record, and the loser would be the lone team in the Premier Lacrosse League to not make the playoffs.

Despite Chrome goalie John Galloway making 14 saves and Chrome LSM Joel White picking up five ground balls, it was not enough to extend the team’s season. The expansion Cannons won the game 13-10.

After the final whistle, as players milled about, Galloway and White embraced. It was an emotional moment for the longtime friends. The end of the game meant more than just the end of the season. It was the last time both Galloway and White would play professional field lacrosse. After announcing their respective retirements, the two ended their careers the same way they began them: together.

“I haven’t played field lacrosse without John in the net since 2008 — 2007 realistically,” White said. “That’s wild to me. We went to [Lake Placid] together. It’s mind boggling. I’m super grateful. The funny piece, now after this retirement, I’m sure there will be stories where they say, ‘We almost shipped you out, Joel.’ Whether it’s Coach [Tim Soudan] or [Bill] Warder in Dallas, I’m sure something of that conversation came up. I don’t take that for granted. It wouldn’t have been the same playing field lacrosse without John at my back bailing me out time in and time out.”

Galloway and White first met in 2006, playing for Central New York in the Empire State Games. They hit it off as teammates, and as two recruits headed to Syracuse, they decided to room together in college.

Galloway remembers White being “a cut above the rest” physically, but also someone who didn’t rub his athleticism in your face. He said it was impossible to keep up with White while conditioning, but White — who started as a high school All-American offensive midfielder before Syracuse head coach John Desko asked him if he would switch positions — would just turn around and wait for you before continuing on. White remembers Galloway having a lot of superstitions and having a personality that was completely opposite his.

While the two were different physically and mentally, they said they learned from and fed off each other.

“I had no superstitions walking around the locker room talking to everybody while he’s getting in his space,” White said. “I was more of a freelancer athlete, go out there, have fun and see what happens. John was the most prepared guy on the field. That’s where we were able to pull from each other some of those attributes we each needed.”

“ It wouldn’t have been the same playing field lacrosse without John at my back.”

— Joel White

Whipsnakes midfielder Matt Abbott was a junior during their first season at Cuse. The year before Galloway and White arrived, the Orange went 5-8 and missed the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1982. He gave Galloway and White a lot of credit for the program’s turnaround.

“Those two guys stepped right in and filled some key roles for us,” he said. “Their contributions, even as freshmen, were huge and a big reason why we were able to go from 5-8 to 16-2 and national champions in back-to-back years.”

In 2011, both were drafted by the Rochester Rattlers. White with the second overall pick in the first round and Galloway in the fourth round.

While the pair enjoyed plenty of team success in college with two national championships and countless accolades, the same could not be said at the pro level. The Rattlers started Galloway and White’s rookie season with an 0-6 record, leading to the firing of B.J. O’Hara as the head coach and the hiring of Tim Soudan as his replacement.

Soudan stayed in that position until 2018, when he stepped down as the Rattlers moved to Dallas. After two seasons away from professional lacrosse, Soudan was hired by the Chrome in 2020, rejoining the sidelines with Galloway, White and other former Rattlers like Jordan Wolf, John Ranagan, Jordan MacIntosh, Ned Crotty, Donny Moss and Mike Manley. Soudan has a wealth of experience being around Galloway and White, and their bond is apparent.

“I think it’s incredible how good of friends they are,” Soudan said in a press conference after the Chrome-Cannons game. “A lot of guys are really close friends, but they’re tight like I’ve never seen. The relationship, the quality of players they both are and the ability to play together so long and hold that level of play is pretty incredible at the professional level.”

Galloway said he’s thought about retirement since 2018, but he held out for the opportunity to play in the Premier Lacrosse League. While he and White talk on the phone often, he said it wasn’t until the fifth or sixth week that he and White seriously talked about retiring at the conclusion of this summer.

“I usually use the offseason as a gauge,” Galloway said, “but knowing I was going to do it with a guy I came in with was a relief.”

White said they chose the bye week before the Cannons game to announce their retirements so it would not come as an abrupt end. It also allowed the team plenty of time to focus and prepare for the Cannons.

When in the MLL, the Rattlers team was well known for having the closest locker room in the league. With so many of the same core pieces moving together to the Chrome in the PLL, that family-like culture moved with them. Those relationships made telling everybody they were retiring the hardest part about the decision.

“In terms of the players, those guys are my best friends,” White said. “That’s the group Soudo and [Chrome and former Rattlers assistant coach Jacques] Monte has built. We truly believe in the family mentality. We wanted to be able to look them in the eye and let them know this was our thought process, and this is where we’re going.”

Crotty, who was drafted a year before White and Galloway, has played with them with the Rattlers, Chrome and U.S. men’s national team. While he said it wasn’t a surprise they retired or decided to retire together, he did call their departures “the end of an era.”

He said what stood out to him, aside from their friendship, was the leadership they showed over the years.

“When we first started out together, we weren’t quite mature,” he said. “Now, the maturity, how prepared they are, and the leaders they’ve become, you could always see it, even in our younger years. You could always see they had those qualities; the leadership stood out. It got stronger as we grew up.

“I’m older than them. It’s not about age, though. It’s two guys you want to follow.”

After the final whistle against the Cannons, Galloway and White did a joint interview for the TV broadcast. Their teammates gathered nearby. They knew the end was coming, but it was a bitter pill to swallow.

“It stinks that’s how it had to end,” Crotty said. “I thought it would have been great to win the whole thing, but to keep this thing going with the news this was going to be it for them, just to have the opportunity to have another week. We can still talk, but without the season, it’s not the same. It was tough to have it end that way. For such great careers not to end in the playoffs was tough.”

On the field, the individual accolades were numerous. Both were multi-time All-Stars. Both represented the U.S. national team in international competition. Galloway won the MLL Goaltender of the Year award in both 2014 and 2016, while Joel White was the 2016 MLL co-Defensive Player of the Year.

Aside from that initial season in Rochester that ended with a 2-10 record — as well as this year’s 2-7 Chrome season — their teams have been largely successful. The Rattlers played in the MLL championship game three times. Unfortunately for Galloway and White, they never were able to get over that final hump, and a professional championship eluded them.

While both would have liked to have reached that goal, neither feels his legacy is tarnished without one.

“You want to leave here with people having a lasting impression of how you made them feel,” Galloway said. “I don’t have great statistics. I wasn’t an elite ball-stopping goalie, but I want people to think of the teammate I was and the preparation I did. If you play competitively, treat people the right way, you can have a career you’re proud of.”


“When I step on the field, I hope it shows when I’m playing that I’m having the most fun out of anyone on that field, and I’m working as hard as I can for my teammates,” White said. “That, along with being a great teammate, is what matters. Wins and losses have come out of that. Championships come out of that. But that is where I want to hang my hat.”

Those reputations were certainly earned. After the PLL’s final weekend of the season, PLL players past and present such as Ranagan, Greg Gurenlian, Paul Rabil and Jarrod Neumann tweeted their appreciation for the two veterans.

After graduating from Syracuse, Abbott never got to team up with either player in the pros, spending his entire MLL career with the Chesapeake Bayhawks before joining the Whipsnakes in 2021, but he followed his fellow Syracuse alumni and was proud of everything they had accomplished.

“They’ve been, at their positions, two of the greatest players at their level,” he said. “It was bittersweet. It was the right decision for them, but as a friend, a former teammate, a fan, you don’t want to see this chapter end, but that’s the nature of athletics. They’ve given everything and more to the sport over the last 15 years. I wish them the best in the next chapter.”

Their professional lacrosse careers have come to an end, and so too has travelling every weekend with their best friend. Life moves on for White and Galloway, though. White started a new job in medical sales in 2020 and is a new dad. Galloway is the head coach at Jacksonville University.

While their professional careers now diverge, they will continue to remain big parts of each other’s personal lives.

“The one thing we will have is more free weekends than we used to,” White said. “We will definitely utilize those free weekends. John is the godfather of Macklin. He is a massive part of our life. I don’t see that changing too much aside from going to play lacrosse together every weekend in the summer. Maybe we take those weekends and spread them out throughout the year.”

“The relief I have is our friendship doesn’t depend on lacrosse,” Galloway said. “His son is my godson. His wife and my wife are now close friends. We’re a direct flight away from Jacksonville to Nashville. For me, we’re finding a way to spend more time together in a more leisurely fashion and enjoy the process of a three-day weekend. We’re looking at it as an opportunity and a goodbye to the formal way we have spent time together but an introduction to the next phase of our lives.”