The Lizards' Tim Goettelmann looks to pass the ball before… (Baltimore Sun )
Tim Goettelmann, one of Major League Lacrosse’s inaugural players, will suit up for the Chesapeake Bayhawks on Thursday night against the New York Lizards — the team for which he has played his entire 11-year MLL career.
Goettelmann, 35, had announced his retirement from the league in January 2012, but he confirmed he is back in a phone interview Wednesday morning.
And his nickname, "Monster," might not fit. Goettelmann has slimmed down to 205 pounds and has been training with an MMA fighter. Goettelmann took a train from New York to Annapolis on Tuesday to practice with the team.
He will be playing for Dave Cottle, his former coach at Loyola College, and sharing the attack position with John Grant Jr., his roommate at the MLL's inaugural combine.
"Thirteen years ago he coached me at Loyola. God is working in mysterious ways right now. Playing for Cottle right now, I never thought in a million years that would happen again," he said Wednesday.
Goettelmann has been itching to come back since the beginning of the season but had family obligations over weekends until now. He said Cottle and the Bayhawks expressed more interest than his former team, which is attack-heavy and has rebranded since his retirement.
"It's definitely weird and ironic that I'm playing for Chesapeake and the first game is against New York. It's going to be awkward and weird and exciting," said MLL's all-time goals leader (268) and second-most-veteran player (132 games played).
Goettelmann's stellar career on the field is matched by his charitable efforts in the community; part of the reason for his return is to keep up awareness of his charity. The multi-time New Balance Sportsman of the Year award winner established Monster's Kids, a foundation to benefit children at Steven and Alexandra Cohen Children's Medical Center in New York.
This year, the Woodstick Alumni Game that Goettelmann organizes raised more than $28,000 for the medical center.
"I'm just happy that I have a chance, and I'm going to do my best," he said, adding he hopes to be on the team the entire year if it works out on the field.
"This is sort of a challenge. It was awesome last night [at practice]. I felt like I was drafted again. When I put on that Chesapeake helmet, I was freaked out," he said. "I can't believe I'm in this helmet right now."