Two-time Women's World Cup gold medalist Devon Wills was claimed by the New York Lizards today, making her the first woman to sign with a Major League Lacrosse team, the league announced.
"It was an honor to be considered, and I have a lot of respect for all the guys in the supplemental draft," said Wills, who was not selected in last week's event. "Now comes the time for me to compete and take my chance to fight for a spot on the first team."
Wills will have a chance to earn a roster spot at the beginning of April when the Lizards begin training camp.
She currently serves as defensive coordinator at Southern California, which is entering its second season in Division I.
A three All-America goalie at Dartmouth, Wills was named to the Federation of International Lacrosse World Cup All-World team after helping lead the U.S. national team to a win over Canada in the championship game this summer. In 2009, she earned Player of the Match honors in the championship game, allowing just five goals in a victory over Australia.
Wills would not be the first woman to play in a professional men's lacrosse league in North America. Ginny Capicchioni, who was signed by the New Jersey Storm of the National Lacrosse League, played 11 minutes of the now-defunct team's season finale in 2003. Current Loyola Maryland women's coach Jen Adams (Maryland) was chosen by the Washington Power in the ninth round (No. 114 overall) of the 2001 National Lacrosse League draft but never played.
In 1992, Manon Rheaume, an Olympic silver medalist for Canada's women's ice hockey team, became the first woman to play in any of the major North American sports leagues when she was the goaltender for the NHL's Tampa Bay Lightning in an exhibition game. She played one period and stopped seven of nine shots.