For the Love of Lacrosse: Bellaire's Lindsey McKone Drafted to Professional League
If being featured on a sports trading card is a measure of success, Bellaire's own Lindsey McKone has officially succeeded.
The new Athletes Unlimited Women’s Professional Lacrosse League recently drafted Lindsey, an All-American award-winning midfielder, along with other top United States women’s lacrosse players. The Topps Company, known for 70 years of baseball-card fame, created a trading card set commemorating the inaugural Athletes Unlimited Lacrosse season with a card representing each of its 56 team members, including Lindsey.
A 2016 St. John’s School alum, Lindsey didn’t start out as a lacrosse fan. Parents Tim McKone and Lisa Sternschuss never guessed that lacrosse would become her favorite sport. Tim reflected, “In her youth, Lindsey participated in soccer, basketball, field hockey, softball and swim team. She also played any other sport or game that came along. She was a big fan of soccer star Mia Hamm and saw herself following in her footsteps.”
St. John's required that middle school students participate in a sport each semester. Soccer is a winter sport so when trying to decide on a spring sport, Lindsey picked the sport her friends said would be fun and one she thought would help her stay in shape until soccer season.
Lindsey’s friends were right. Lacrosse was fun. “I liked that it’s not a traditional sport. It is so fast and the game is always evolving. And the people really are awesome.”
Lindsey continued to play on the St. John's soccer and field hockey teams through her senior year but her skills and love of lacrosse continued to grow. From 2013-2016, the Mighty Mavericks won four-straight Division 1 State Championships. Lindsey won numerous titles and honors including MVP, All-Southwest Preparatory Conference, All-State and All-American.
Lindsey shared her advice to younger athletes and their parents: “Don’t specialize in one sport. I think it’s important to play multiple sports. My soccer playing skills have made me a better lacrosse player. You use all sorts of athleticism like running and jumping for lacrosse. I’d rather be an athlete, not just a lacrosse player.”
After graduating from St. John’s, Lindsey headed to Chicago to play for the Northwestern University Wildcats lacrosse team. One of her biggest challenges? “I really missed queso from Torchy’s Tacos,” Lindsey confessed. “The queso just isn’t the same in Chicago.”
Lindsey worked hard to earn playing time on the field. As a freshman, she played every position except for goalie. Lindsey and her team won the Big Ten Tournament in 2019 and 2021. They were also regular season Big Ten champions in 2021 and made the Final Four of the NCAA tournament in 2019 and 2021, losing in the semi-final game both times.
Accolades during Lindsey's college career included being on the Tewaaraton watch list, which is like the Heisman of lacrosse, various All-America, Academic All America and All Big Ten Teams, Big Ten and NCAA Final Four All Tournament Teams. In her last year at Northwestern, Lindsey was named the Northwestern Willie Award winner, which is an annual award given to one male and one female Northwestern Division 1 athlete who not only excelled on the field and in the classroom, but who also demonstrated a commitment to supporting the well-being of the entire student body.
Lindsey graduated from Northwestern with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and a Masters in Data Science in May 2021 and was invited to try out for the US National Women’s Lacrosse team. Players from that group will represent Team USA at the 2022 World Cup. Lindsey made the final 30 player pool and worked out with the team in July. Lindsey hopes to be one of the 18 players asked to represent the team in the World Cup.
Next Lindsey was drafted into Athletes Unlimited (AU), the exciting new women’s professional league. AU’s first lacrosse season, July 23-Aug. 22, includes five weeks of an intense 30-game season played at Maureen Hendricks Field in the DC metro area. New teams will be hand-picked each week by new team captains. See the schedule here.
The 2021 AU season will have the largest TV and digital distribution ever for professional women’s lacrosse via partnerships with CBS Sports Network, FOX Sports, Facebook, and YouTube. Through CBS and Fox alone, Athletes Unlimited Lacrosse will reach more than 80 million U.S. homes.
“I think Athletes Unlimited is integral to growing the game of lacrosse,” Lindsey shared. “It gives us, as female athletes, an opportunity to play at the professional level. The television contracts are giving us the exposure we need to reach as many young girls and people as we can.”
Lisa, Lindsey’s mom, added, “It's great that AU is showcasing women’s lacrosse and giving these amazing young women a national platform to play post-college. Televising the games and exposing young girls all over the country, including Texas, will help grow the game and hopefully help lacrosse become an Olympic sport by 2028.”
Lindsey is currently the only AU player representing Texas and looks forward to witnessing lacrosse to continue to grow in Houston and Texas.
She recently earned a AU Player of the Game award.
Better be on the lookout for a future Lindsey McKone action figure to go with your Lindsey McKone trading card.
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