Northampton’s Jarrod Neumann reflects on capturing 2021 PLL title with Chaos

  • Northampton's Jarrod Neumann won the Premier Lacrosse League championship with the Chaos over the weekend in Washington D.C. at Audi Field. COURTESY PLL

  • Northampton's Jarrod Neumann won the Premier Lacrosse League championship with the Chaos over the weekend in Washington D.C. at Audi Field. COURTESY PLL

  • Northampton's Jarrod Neumann won the Premier Lacrosse League championship with the Chaos over the weekend in Washington D.C. at Audi Field. COURTESY PLL

Staff Writer
Published: 9/22/2021 3:08:19 PM

When Jarrod Neumann lifted the Premier Lacrosse League championship trophy above his head, he felt a weight come off his shoulders.

The Northampton native had won nearly every individual award a lacrosse defender could. He was the 2017 Big East Defensive Player of the Year at Providence and won the PLL Defensive Player of the Year in 2019, the league’s inaugural season. Neumann is a three-time all-star across the PLL and Major League Lacrosse.

“I’d trade them all for a championship,” he said.

Now he doesn’t have to. Neumann and the Chaos Lacrosse Club, one of six founding PLL teams, defeated the two-time champion Whipsnakes 14-9 on Sunday at Audi Field in Washington, D.C. The Whipsnakes beat the Chaos in last year’s championship game and also won in their 2019 playoff matchup.

“Unbelievable team, tons of talent, tons of chemistry. From goalie to the X they may be the deepest team in the league,” said Neumann, one of the Chaos’ three captains. “Without a doubt, no scrubs. They were chasing a three-peat which is definitely dynasty territory. We were happy to ruin that for them. When I finally got to hoist that [trophy] for the first time in my life it felt like I got over the hump.”

Neumann picked up a lacrosse stick less than a decade ago. He joined Matt Striebel’s program at Northampton during his senior year after excelling on the basketball court. After a postgrad year at Bridgton Academy (Maine), Neumann became a three-time All-Big East selection for the Friars and was named an All-American. He was drafted by the MLL’s Florida Storm in 2017.

When the PLL — a tour-based professional lacrosse league started by Paul Rabil, one of the sport’s all time greats — started in 2019, Neumann joined the Chaos’ initial roster. A dozen players remain from that original group, including Deerfield Academy product Mark Glicini and championship MVP Blaze Riordan (also a three-time goalie of the year), the Chaos’ other two captains.

“For us to finally get over the hump together was really cool to see,” Neumann said. “For the first time I was happy to do something with me for my guys.”

The PLL was met with initial skepticism when it debuted as a touring showcase rather than a league based around teams with home bases. But three years in, the championship Sunday broadcast on NBC was the most-watched lacrosse game ever, Neumann said.

“Mike and Paul (Rabil) have done an unbelievable job nailing something nobody else has been able to do,” Neumann said. “That model has built a lot of popularity among different cities and fan bases. Everyone wants to beat the attendance record. It’s a fun time to be involved with something and build something future generations will benefit from.”

Currently about half the league’s players play lacrosse full time. Neumann is one of the other 50 percent. He works at a private equity firm in Providence and regularly comes to the office Mondays with bruises or unable to lift his arm past a certain point.

“They’re very flexible, very understanding. They understand I’m only doing this for so long. I only have so many years to do this,” said Neumann, 28. “It’s a lot on personal relationships with friends, romantic relationships. We live in New England and we get four nice months a year and I’m going to be gone for every weekend. Not everyone is down for that. Your team is what makes it worth it.”

Neumann celebrated the title with gusto Sunday night and into Monday. He realized he needed to “relax a little bit” by Tuesday. All the while, his phone blew up with congratulations from the people that helped him along the way.

“I’ve got texts from hometown friends I hadn’t heard from in years, parents of kids I coached years ago,” Neumann said. “The support has been amazing. Coming from a small hometown it’s kind of what you get.”

Kyle Grabowski can be reached at kgrabowski@gazettenet.com. Follow him on Twitter @kylegrbwsk.


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