On December 14, Zack Price — anxiously waiting — finally received the phone call he’d been waiting for. It was from Tony Seaman, the general manager of the Denver Outlaws, a franchise in Major League Lacrosse that won the league title this past season and in 2014. Price had been selected 82nd in the MLL supplemental draft. After not getting a call in the official draft the year before, he wondered if he’d ever make it past being a collegiate athlete.
“My goal has always been to play lacrosse as a professional,” Price said. “That makes everything worth it.”
Price’s ascension in the sport has gone just about as well as it could for anyone with his same aspirations. He won two state championships with the Lambert Longhorns in high school, scoring 41 goals and recording 27 assists in his prep tenure while also playing club ball with the ATL Rage. Price then went on to play at High Point University, making his rounds as a pesky defender and earning recognition as an all-conference performer in the Southern Conference as a senior.
However, at Lambert both championships were within the GHSA’s first three years of playing a true seeded state tournament. At High Point, Price came on as a freshman in the team’s first season as a varsity program at the collegiate level.
As a MLL player, Price will hope to continue the expansion of a sport still looking for financial stability at the professional level.
On Monday, Price will begin his new job. He’ll be wearing a suit and tie. He’s just accepted a position with Fedility in Dallas, Texas.
“Everything has kind of happened so fast, it’s hard to stop and think about it or stress about it,” Price said.
The future for Price will have two parts—on week days he’ll handle his job at Fidelity in Dallas, fulfilling his dream of using his degree in Business Administration and holding down a steady job in a city full of wealth. On Fridays, as soon as he gets off work, he’ll make a run to the airport and fly to Denver—half the time—to meet with the Outlaws. They play games on Saturdays. The team flies players back on Sundays.
The cycle continues between August and April, and the compensation for playing on a major league lacrosse team—many of them with humble, local television exposure—ranges between $10,000 and $20,000 a season for the average player. Rookies make about $7,000, according to a 2015 report by CNN Money. Even though he’ll be playing on the same field as the Denver Broncos, his existence as a professional athlete will be much different than it is for many.
“I’m ready for it,” Price said. “I think it’s such an exciting opportunity to get to do this. I kind of had to sacrifice a lot in college with free time and things like that, so I think that while I’m young and able to sacrifice time I don’t have a problem with it.”
His future teammates will be spread around the country, only convening two weekends before the season for training camp. Then they’ll see each other on weekends during games, hoping to finish as the last of nine teams in the league.
“It’s a lot of preparation to keep in shape on your own,” Price said. “I’ll have to find time before or after work to get to the gym, train and stuff, and prepare for camp.”
Price says the Outlaw’s coach, B.J. O’Hara, told him the day after he was selected that he’ll try out for multiple positions on defense.
“That’s nothing I haven’t done before,” Price, who played multiple positions at High Point, said.
The Outlaws will begin their season on April 22 on the road in Charlotte, N.C. While the Atlanta Blaze, a second-year expansion team, are on the schedule, the Outlaws will host the local club on July 4.