Rare Company With Team USA's Five Four-Time Selections

This article appears in the November edition of US Lacrosse Magazine, available exclusively to US Lacrosse members. Join or renew today! Thank you for your support.

Vinnie Sombrotto will never forget the time he first got the call.

Well, actually, he didn’t exactly “get” the call.

“I was driving an ice truck for a family friend’s business,” Sombrotto said, recalling a summer afternoon on Long Island in 1981. “I’m in Great Neck at Antonio’s Deli. I had just put ice in the freezer and I’m starting to back out and I look in the mirror and I see the owner running out. I thought my boss must have called to tell me I had another stop, but he just said, ‘You made the team.’”

The “team” was the U.S. team. Sombrotto would get the call three more times, becoming the first player in history to make four U.S. senior teams in field lacrosse. Four others have since achieved the feat. They’re all in the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame.

John DeTommaso

DeTommaso’s first experience with the U.S. was bittersweet. He made the team fresh out of Johns Hopkins, but his mother became ill shortly thereafter. She saw him play an exhibition at Hofstra, but she died Sept. 1, 1986.

DeTommaso played on gold medal-winning teams in 1986, 1990, 1994 and 1998 and was named the Outstanding Defender in 1994. When the U.S. beat Canada in an epic 1998 final at Hopkins’ Homewood Field, he had kids old enough watch from the stands and celebrate on the field. “That was the culmination of it all,” he said.

Danielle Gallagher

Gallagher, Greer and Wilk share a common bond as the trio played on their teams together — 1993 in Scotland, 1997 in Japan, 2001 in England and 2005 in the United States. It was a remarkable run that included three gold medals and one silver.

Gallagher, then a star at William and Mary, was initially cut from the 1989 team, fueling her fire for the next 16 years.

“I was determined after not making it to work my tail off,” she said.

Cherie Greer

A three-time All-American and two-time NCAA champion at Virginia, Greer set a high bar. She was the MVP of the 1997 and 2001 World Cup championship games.

“I was so excited to play with so many other amazing players on those World Cup teams,” Greer Brown said. “They were all committed to being the best. Those were just phenomenal experiences. There’s a tight bond that still continues from those teams.”

Vinnie Sombrotto

Sombrotto actually tried out for the 1998 team, but it wasn’t meant to be. That was hardly a blemish on an unbelievable international career (gold medals in 1982, 1986, 1990 and 1994) for a guy that never made first team All-American at Hofstra.

“I had to kick the door in,” he said, “to prove that I belonged more than the guys that had the bigger reputations.” 

Jess Wilk

Wilk has been a part of the U.S. national teams for 27 years, continuing as a coach.

“People will look at the U.S. team and see how much success they’ve had. They don’t know how much hard work goes into it and the challenges the players face,” she said. “That’s something that has really helped me a lot in my life and created bonds that are pretty special.”

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