One goal; two goals; two goals; one goal, four assists; two goals, one assist; two goals, three assists; one goal, one assist. This is Will Manny’s career line. You’ll notice there are no zeros. He has recorded at least one point in every game he has played in. Talk about an immediate impact.
Most new phases in life require time to adjust, but Manny’s transition from college lacrosse to the MLL could not have been smoother. His 20 points in 7 games looks more like a veteran line than a rookie one.
“Coming in I was very unaware how the league works internally and week by week with a team, but I feel like I was ready for the type of play on the field transitioning from college. I like to play fast and have a loose style to my game and that is what this league offers. I just need to play within myself and not play tentative because I have some big name players who are the faces of this game around me and being on the same field as them is a dream come true.”
Four goals; one goal; three goals; five goals; two goals; two goals; four goals, one assist. This is Matt Poskay’s line from the first seven games of his career. The University of Virginia alum now holds the Cannons’ records for most goals, most power play goals, and most game-winning goals. Poskay, unquestionably one of the “big name players” Manny is referring to, had 22 points in his first seven games, two more points than Manny’s total of 20. Not too shabby, Will.
But Manny is the first to point out that his lack of a rookie slump and extremely successful start is due in part to the advice and acceptance from the stars on the team.
“The veterans on this team since the first day of practice have given me more confidence than I have received my entire lacrosse career. Playing along side [Ryan Boyle] and Matt Poskay, especially at my position on attack, makes playing every week a whole lot easier, and I think we compliment each other very well and our chemistry is building very quickly.”
But Manny can’t possibly give all the credit away. Not with a Rookie of the Week recognition under his belt. In his fourth game against the New York Lizards, he scored one goal and dished out four assists, earning him Cascade Rookie of the Week honors. It was the first time since the 2010 season that a Boston Cannon had won the award.
“It was great finding out I was Rookie of the Week after that game. It felt even better knowing that it was after a huge win for our team in a very important part of the season.”
Clearly, Manny is a team-first player. His humility and maturity suggest someone beyond just 21 years of age, but the Massapequa native undoubtedly has a giving nature. Manny graduated with the fifth-most points all-time at UMass with 201, on 107 goals and 94 assists. He is one of only three minutemen to tally at least 100 goals and 90 assists.
Manny’s balanced style of play reflects the Cannons’ revamped attack, one of the key contributors to their recent success. An offense that incorporates numerous players who can both score and assist is a very difficult one for opposing defenses to stop. Manny has 10 goals and 8 assists and leads the Cannons with a 45.5 shooting percentage—an impressive stat considering the offensive starpower Boston has. Manny praises head coach John Tucker for believing in him and cites the coach as a major factor in the Cannons’ turnaround.
“Coach Tucker is one of the best to ever play the game and as a coach really knows what to do with the talent that he has. His motivation and style of coaching to just simplify the game on the offensive end has excelled our production in the short time he has been our head coach. He gives me tremendous confidence and has contributed to the teaching of my game tremendously.”
Off the field, it took some time for Manny to develop a sense of self, but he soon found out that the group of guys he called his teammates were also guys he could call friends.
“At first as a rookie I was a bit quiet, but with my teammates being very accepting it was easy to adapt. Off the field, I personally have a great time with the guys now knowing a bunch more about them and spending time on away trips in the hotels and team meals helps a bunch.”
The aspiring golfer, who just started at Bank of America as an Assistant Manager Associate, continues to feel the love from those who watched him play at UMass.
“Moving to Boston and working there now is special to me and on top of that being part of the professional level in my favorite hobby was one of my goals since I started my lacrosse career. Playing four years at UMass and having fans from Massachusetts who now follow the Cannons and still support me personally, is special to me and just having this opportunity is more than I can ask for.”
And Manny wants to give the love right back to his fans.
“I think my favorite thing about being a Cannon is just playing in a very competitive league for one of the original organizations and one of the best if not the best fan base in the league.”