By Ashley Melfi, Staff Writer
A simple phone call has the ability to change a person's life and with the cantor of ringing bells on January 21, 2011, it did so for Hofstra men's lacrosse senior attack Jay Card. In this moment, he transitioned from a well to do college athlete to becoming a professional.
He was called up to the big time, but in a country that isn't his own. The proud Caledon, Ontario, Canada native was drafted to the Major League Lacrosse's Long Island Lizards.
International athletes are no strangers to Hofstra's athletics, yet Card is unique. Perpetually marked with a Maple Leaf tattoo with a lacrosse player inside on the back of his calf, Card had branded himself a Canuck, yet his future lies in the United States.
"I have considered moving back home and trying to play both field and box lacrosse professionally but …the job opportunities for me are more available here in the U.S," said Card.
Resilient on attack and a supreme scorer, it wasn't a surprise that he was drafted so high as the 11th pick overall, in fact some would say he was a steal.
"Because Jay's at Hofstra, we were really excited, we were counting down the picks there hoping that he was going to be there for us," said Long Island Lizards head coach Jim Mule. "He'll be a big part of our team. He is very talented offensively."
To the long-time Canadian, however, "being drafted 11th overall in the MLL draft, I was shocked because there are so many great players out there."
Of those great players, Hofstra's own Steve DeNapoli was drafted by the Chesapeake Bayhawks and Steve Serling was drafted by the Denver Outlaws this past January.
Jay's reputation off the field precedes him too.
"Jay Card is a wonderful player that works hard to become better every day. He has done well in the classroom, which was a big transition for him coming from Canada," said Hofstra men's lacrosse coach Seth Tierney. "He puts in extra time, and will be graduating in May. As a person Jay is everything you want in a player and teammate. He is very well liked, was voted captain his senior year and has been involved in many community service projects"
The Long Island Lizards are one of the original franchises in Major League Lacrosse and have thrived in the past 10 years of the MLL's existence. Card is making his way onto a team with tradition and a reputation that he is well aware of.
"As for myself it is a great honor to be drafted by the Long Island Lizards," said Card. "It has always been my dream to play lacrosse at the highest level."
Then again, Card already has a home field advantage.
"I am really excited to play in the same stadium as my college days because I feel it would help with the comfort level of my play at the next level," said Card. "I'll be familiar with the surroundings and it will give me that ‘turnpike' edge that I've tried to play with whenever we played in the ‘Dutch Dome'."
"He would like to finish his [college] career on a high note, and understands that the pro league will be there when college is over" Tierney says.
But still, all the major league eyes, especially his future coach, are on him.
"You know you have to watch your guys and hope they have successful seasons," said Mule. "Hopefully they stay healthy and look forward to getting them as soon as their done with their college careers."
What was once a dream has now become Jay Card's reality, "[I believe you] will never win on talent alone, it's the hard work that's done off the field that makes a contender," said Card.
All that hard work has led to a career in lacrosse starting at the age of four in his Canadian neighborhood to what possibly will become a lasting professional career in the sport.