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From College Walk-On to Top MLL Draft Pick
Sergio Salcido was a top 10 draft pick for the 2017 MLL season. His senior year, he led the Syracuse Orange to the NCAA Quarterfinals and finished as the team’s top-scorer with a season total of 51 points.
But guess what? Back in 2012, Sergio wasn’t even guaranteed a spot on his college roster – he started his career as a walk-on at Syracuse and tore his ACL that fall, putting him out for the better part of training season. But rather than letting his injury get him down, Sergio came back stronger than ever, exceeding all coaches’ expectations, starting in nearly every game of his college career and ultimately being selected as the No. 8 pick overall in the 2017 MLL draft, signing with his hometown team, the Florida Launch.
Check out our interview with Sergio, talking all things Orange, overcoming adversity and his dreams for growing the game:
Great to have you, man – we’re pumped for you to join Team STX! Let’s get started with a little background on you – what first got you into lacrosse?
I was born and raised in Winter Park, Florida. I received my first lacrosse stick as a Christmas gift in 2nd grade from a neighbor who played for the local high school team. Watching him play wall-ball and practice shooting in the front yard everyday is what got me. I had played other sports before, but I found lacrosse fascinating on a whole other level. With my new stick in hand, I joined a team that spring and was instantly hooked!
Did you play any other sports growing up?
My poor parents…I wanted to play it all haha – golf, football, soccer, baseball – you name it, I played it. In high school, I focused on football, golf and lacrosse. Looking back, I’m so glad I had all of those experiences and influences. Football instilled a toughness and fearless mindset in me, and golf helped me grow my game strategy, as well as my hip and core strength.
You started your collegiate career as a walk-on and worked your way up to All-American status - can you talk a little about that journey? What advice would you give to young aspiring players?
Honestly, it was really hard those first few years. Having torn my ACL and MCL, going through the rehab process was tough. Luckily, I was fortunate to have an amazing strength staff, great coaches who supported me, and a group of teammates that I wouldn’t trade for the world.
My best advice is to turn your weaknesses into strengths and be honest about your own game. No one is perfect, no one has the ideal build, no one is great at every skill – that’s okay. Own what you’re good at and be willing to work hard to improve!
What was it like learning from the best of the best at Syracuse?
Everyone on the coaching staff at Syracuse had a huge impact on me as a player, and I would say even more importantly, as a leader and an individual. The respect and love I have for them is incomparable and I owe those guys a lot for helping me develop into the young man I am today. They always believed in me and my teammates and I can’t thank them enough. They are truly the hardest working guys I know.
Congrats on being one of the top picks in this year's MLL draft! How does it feel to get to play professionally for your home state?
It’s so surreal – I still can’t believe it! It’s an amazing opportunity to be able to play in front of all my hometown friends and family members each weekend in the sunshine state.
From walk-on to top draft pick, you’ve had an amazing journey so far – what’s been your biggest career highlight to date?
My biggest highlight wouldn’t be an accolade or award, but being named team captain at Syracuse in 2017. Having my coaching staff and teammates vote for me to take on the role as part of such a well-respected lacrosse program really meant a lot. I’ll always hold that as my greatest achievement.
Now that you made it to the pros – what’s your next big career goal?
It would be awesome to win an MLL championship! Ultimately, my top goal is to make the U.S. Men’s National Team and have the chance to compete for a gold medal. I’d also like to be a part of growing the sport in the southeast – increasing visibility, running clinics, working with coaches and expanding overall access for players.
This summer, Sergio partnered with The Casey Powell World Lacrosse Foundation to inspire, share and support severely injured and sick lacrosse players in his home state of Florida!
What does a typical day at the gym look like for you?
I typically hit max effort for lower-body and upper-body on Monday and Tuesday, and then switch it up to focus on flexibility and speed on Thursday and Friday. I only shoot on leg days and hit wall-ball on upper-body days.
Who’s your lacrosse idol?
Gotta be Mikey Powell! He’s a smaller guy, with incredible speed, a great understanding of the game, and real power. For a smaller guy like myself, Mikey’s a natural role model.
*P.S. I can’t forget about his brothers – they’re all legends!
What do you do to kick back and relax when you’re not tearing up the midfield?
I like to hit the lake with my friends back home in Winter Park. If I’m feeling active, I’ll go play a round of golf or hit some balls to keep the swing tuned up. Or if I’m feeling like laying low, I’ll play couch potato, throw on some music and chill with my best friend.
Wondering how to #BounceBack from a serious injury like Sergio? Learn how to get pumped and game ready post-injury from MLL star Kyle Harrison.