TOWSON, Md. - Former Tiger men’s lacrosse player Casey Cittadino ’06 heads to Denver this week with Team Israel for the 2014 Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL) Championship.
Cittadino has close ties with current members of Towson Lacrosse. While he was a Tiger student-athlete, he played defense with Assistant Coach Dan Cocchi and for then-Assistant Coach Shawn Nadelen. In high school, the New York native played with Associate Head Coach Anthony Gilardi at Baldwin High School.
Cittadino was a key member of Towson’s three straight Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) championship teams and earned tournament MVP honors in 2005 – an experience he ranks as some of his best memories of his time as a Tiger. Twice his season totals in caused turnovers (2005, 2006) ranked in the top 10 in Towson Lacrosse records. He finished his career ranked third in program history in caused turnovers (65).
After graduation, Cittadino began playing in Major League Lacrosse (MLL).
“Playing in the MLL really has been pretty amazing,” he said. “I spent seven seasons with the Denver Outlaws, two of which I lived in Denver, and it was amazing. The other five I was commuting back and forth from New York every weekend, which was pretty rough at times.
“But in my seven years there, we were in the playoffs ever year and playing for a MLL title in four of those seasons. We unfortunately never won it, but I was a part of some great teams and around some incredible players.
“I have been on the Charlotte Hounds for the past two seasons. This is my ninth year in the league. The talent is pretty incredible and could easily have four more teams [in the league] without the the product on the field changing. Each team is truly an all-star team and every year the players get better and better.”
Each of his season in MLL have provided favorite memories of their own.
“Some of my favorite experiences have been the Fourth of July games at Invesco Field in Denver where we averaged 30,000 fans for the games. But, I do have to say beating Denver in the semifinals last year felt pretty amazing after they traded me and then had an undefeated season. It would have been a lot sweeter if we could have sealed the deal and won the championship the next day.”
Cittadino took a leave of absence from the MLL to join Team Israel Lacrosse and prepare for the FIL championship that runs from July 10 to 19 in Denver, Colorado.
“They reached out to me almost two years ago already and asked me to be a part of the tryout process. There were multiple tryouts in different locations as well as a ton of official government paperwork.
“I had to become a dual citizen, so this was a pretty serious decision,” he continued. “And the process of making Aliyah (officially returning to Israel) is pretty difficult. I needed to get government IDs, passports, and bank accounts set up.
“But when I landed in Tel Aviv and completed the process, it felt amazing. I spent some time coaching youth teams and will continue to do so even when these games are over. I really want to help develop this program, so Team Israel can become one of the top five teams in the world and competing for a gold medal in years to come.”
Cittadino has won college championships, contributed to successful professional teams and is now ready to make noise on the world stage.
“I am really just looking forward to helping Israel make a statement to the world,” he said. “We will be underdogs for almost every game, and I’m looking to upset some teams.”