Friday, July 13, 2012

Clay Johnson’s Impact Down Under Part II

Bob Henrickson, John Detomasso, Larry Quinn, at a pratice in Perth, Australia 1990
According to seven time Australian National Team Midfielder (wow, that’s got be a record!) and two time Adelphi University All American, Gordon Purdie credits allot of what he learned about lacrosse as a youth player from Croton native and University of Maryland All American midfielder Clay Johnson. I saw Clay for the first time in many years at the 1990s World Cup. During his more than twenty years as a player and coach down under, Johnson with his California cool looks, unpretentious, friendly, and caring demeanor, proved instrumental in improving the quality of lacrosse in Australia. I asked Purdie, what made Clay different from the many American lacrosse players who spent time playing and coaching in Australia at the end of their college playing days? He said “Brook Sweet also a similar impact, but Clay was different because he stayed in Australia for the rest of his life, he became one of us [an expatriate] and he got along with so many people, and the players loved him.” Purdie, who was named the best midfielder in the 1994 World Cup, goes on to say, “truly Clay was a legend and our link to American lacrosse. We learned how to play like Americans because of him.” Clay had the same impact on Westchester County lacrosse, when he showed up at game at our local summer league when I first entered high school, everybody knew who he was and took notice, and the same happened in Australia.

My College, Club, and U. S. Team Players and Coaches

1 comment:

  1. Hi, my name is Michelle and was married to Klay in the 80's and was wondering what happened to him.