My name is Chase Kaufman. I am 6’3, 170, and I play attack and midfield. I was born and raised in Atlanta, GA; but my unique journey has taken me all over the east coast.
My lacrosse journey started in 6th grade when I went to my first military school (Fork Union Military Academy, VA). I was not sent away as a punishment, but to shield me from cancerous family dynamics. Looking back, knowing what I know now I am grateful to have been sent away. I was always a football and basketball kid growing up, but it was mandatory to play a sport every season and I did not know what to do in the spring. Fork Union is a basketball and football powerhouse. Immediately football was shut down because there was no middle school team and at 90lbs my dad would not let me try out for JV. My first history teacher at my new school also happened to be the lacrosse coach. One day after class was over he kept my roommate at the time Zach, his son Jack (who had a couple years of experience), and myself back to explain to us what lacrosse was. Before middle school started I had never seen a lacrosse stick. Our middle school team was made up of kids who had never played before which resulted in us getting demolished by 12+ goals a game. The first year was a blast despite the fact we got smacked around every game and I was already ready for the next season to start up. That summer I asked my dad to go to as many camps and clinics as I could.
Our coach and his family had a house about a half a mile off campus that Jack, Zach, and I would sneak off to if we had a long break or on the weekends. The front yard was a lacrosse paradise with a cage, huge backstop, and two bounce back. Before we left campus we would snag the bucket of balls and our gear from the locker room. From 6th grade to when I switched high schools as a sophomore, every single moment of free time was spent ripping through buckets of balls or restringing our sticks 10 times in a day. The three of us started to separate ourselves skill wise from the rest of our team more and more. During the 2012 college season, our coach took us to our first college lacrosse game at UVA when the were hosting Syracuse. At this point Zach and I had never seen a high powered high school game let alone UVA vs. Cuse, and we did not really care who won. We were sitting all the way down on the bleachers with the best view of our side of the field. Third quarter, Tim Desko catches the ball on the crease with his back toward the goalie, and buries the nastiest between the legs goal to date. I can visually see it like a movie. At that moment I viewed the game in a different light. What I thought of as football with sticks was not that at all. As I watched how each player dodged and handled the ball I began to view it as an art and how players let their creativity flow and remain poised in the middle of chaos. I fell in love with the balance of aggression and poise and just like every kid that day I wanted to be like Tim Desko.
The three of us finished with great middle school careers and with no JV program, went on to play varsity. We were a little fish in a competitive Central Virginia. I was aware that I was going to have to find my role on the team and out work the kid in front of me. I knew that the kid in front of me was not getting on the wall or getting shots up in Jacks yard everyday like me. Half way through the season the kid starting ahead of me could not stay out of trouble so I ended up starting the last six games of Freshman year. The first game I started in was a scrimmage against Gonzaga HS. I am guessing our coach had some connection and we scheduled that game to put some fire under our butts for the rest of the season. Either way I was scared. In prior games that season I may have been in 6 minutes combined. I remember looking up their roster and national ranking and knowing it was not gonna be pretty. The first time I touched the ball my stick was 8 feet above my head and I was on my butt in 2 seconds. I began playing passive and throwing quick adjacent passes. By the 3rd quarter we were losing 18-1. Half way through the third our nutty LSM tried to hit the top of the break but the ball slipped into a perfect skip to me on the right post. I did not look at the cage or the coma slide that was already in my grill, I just let my hands free. Before I got up I had half the bench taking off onto the field to get me. With my confidence and love for the game at an all time high, I was able to finish the last 5 games as the fourth leading point leader and as the only freshman with substantial playing time.
At this point, I have not yet had a coach that has invested in me as a player or that can guide me through the recruiting process.
Halfway through sophomore year I decided I wanted to be closer to home for the remainder of high school so I transferred to Riverside MIlitary Academy which is 45 minutes from my house in Atlanta. Before arriving at Riverside I remember looking up their previous records and rosters and thinking my college lacrosse dream was over. Before my sophomore year, Riverside never won more than 5 games in a season. The program discipline was atrocious and barely had a coach or a full roster on any given game day. When I arrived at Riverside, lacrosse season was less than 3 weeks away. What I did not know is four players transferred in at the same awkward mid-year time as I did as well as a new head coach the previous year. From the batch of guys that showed up, was an amazing goalie, a mid, and two attackmen; myself and my attackmen in crime Sheymus. I would not be telling any story about my journey with lacrosse correctly if I did not give insane amounts of credit to Coach Alan Tallman. For the first time ever, a coach fully invested in me in all aspects of my life. Coach Tallman coached at Boston College HS before moving his family down to Riverside and was 20% more knowledgable about the game than any other coach I have had. As soon as coach got me on the practice field and spent a couple days watching, then, every practice day after that he kept me 25-30 minutes and fine tooned one skill. The team went 7-8 my sophomore, which is the best record in school history but nobody was satisfied. Personally I was not satisfied with my performance, only potting 12 goals and 8 assists.
Starting that summer, I started living with my grandparents in Rhode Island all summer so I could find a competitive club team. Eventually I ended up playing 3D Rhode Island, which is now 3D Brown for three summers. My first summer of big time summer ball was difficult. In the beginning I did not adapt to the faster pace play. For the first time in my life was I on a team where 6 people on offense can throw and catch adjacent passes consistently. The next summer I was able to adapt much quicker.
With the help of coach Tallman and the leaders of the team, a winning culture was instilled. Junior year we were able to pull out an 11-7 season followed by a 13-3 season my senior year.
After graduation, I elected to matriculate to the Middlesex Bears (MXB) (N. Andover, MA) post graduate lacrosse program in an effort to improve my game and to earn some college credits before embarking on college.
The Middlesex Bears program works very similar to a junior hockey program. Players are recruited from all over the country and board in two houses and in an extended stay hotel (both staffed with coaches) during June and part of July for the summer season ,and from September to February for the school year. From day one, practices and workouts are fast paced and intense. MXB differs from a traditional postgraduate program academically whereas players take 1-2 college level classes at Merrimack College (North Andover, MA) instead of high school classes. In addition to the Merrimack classes, the players are also registered in an SAT prep and take the SAT 3-4 times over the course of the year. In the fall, we play 5-6 high level tournaments, followed by our box season and scrimmages against other clubs and prep schools (Navy Prep, Bridgeton Academey, etc.).
Immediately preceding my matriculation to Middlesex last year, I injured my knee. I took most of the fall to rehab (playing sparingly) and played a full box season over the winter. Upon completing my first year with the Bears, I decided that I did not want to cut myself short because of my inability to perform at a high level through the tournament season, so I elected to repeat my postgraduate year with MXB. Both my knee and my level of play are 100%. I am ready to make a difference the moment I step on the field at the next level.