The Florida Launch have recorded their busiest off-season to date. Between drafting 13 new players, trading for the fourth overall pick in the Collegiate Draft, or re-signing All-Stars Kieran McArdle and Chris Mattes, Launch Head Coach Tom Mariano has been a busy man since taking the reins.
Lax Sports Network had the first year coach on their program to talk more about his vision for the Launch. When asked about what exactly that vision is moving forward, Mariano stressed that commitment and execution by all involved will be important. “We’re going to utilize our strengths, and we feel we have some guys who may not necessarily be big names who really just want to get a shot, get after it, and make an impact on the Florida Launch and the MLL to go along with the bigger names, Kieran McArdle, Tucker Durkin… we’re going to build on them as the foundation,” Mariano told LSN.
How is this team different from past years?
Each year is a different team, it's a different identity, it's a different path, it's a different vision and I think for us going forward for 2017 we want to play as one unit, one locker room, one team that is committed to being the best in everything we do. Competing in every aspect is the biggest thing. We will play a tough, hard-nosed style of lacrosse.
What is your plan for the Florida Launch and how does that play out day to day?
We’re building an MLL championship contender. I think you look at the day to day, we all want to surround ourselves -- from the front office, to the coaches, to the players -- we want to surround ourselves with people who bring energy, excitement, commitment, and dedication every single day. We might not start playing until April but we need to be working today to get better. I think that's the key equation for us going forward in building a tremendous locker room that's going to be successful on and off the field.
You’ve made some big moves since taking over including trading for a first round draft pick. What goes into decisions like this?
I’m in a constant evaluation every day of the roster. As you prepare the roster, you have to look at the availability of players for practice and games, you have to look and see if they will be able to help the Florida Launch get to the level we need to be at. Talking to the players, you'll see that they want to be in a locker room with players that are 100% committed to the Launch. Those decisions are made every single day. When opportunities come up to get a high level draft pick and have three in the first ten picks in a tremendous draft class is something, in the short term and long term, that we couldn't turn down.
How will the team look while missing some players due to the collegiate season and other commitments?
Every team in this league deals with that. As much as we'd love to have those guys playing game one, if they can't make it we're going to fill it in with a high level player that's going to have that same sense of commitment. The whole team will contribute until everyone is back. We're all dealing with it in the league -- it's a next man up mindset.
The Launch are taking the first three home games on the road around Florida. Why is that?
It's a chance to showcase the Florida Launch and the game of lacrosse in different parts of Florida and make the best of a situation where the [FAU] stadium wasn't ready to play in yet. Plain and simple. Our goal right now going into this -- and this is going to be our goal every day -- we're pursuing a championship. We're pursuing a championship level and brand of lacrosse that people are going to want to see. We have guys that are committed day to day to put a tremendous product on the field that people are going to want to see no matter of where they are from.
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