Lacrosse Legend Paul Rabil Announces His Retirement

PHOTO COURTESY OF PLL

Rabil played for 14 seasons in MLL and the PLL, amassing a pro field lacrosse record 657 points. He will continue in his role as PLL co-founder and chief marketing officer.


Paul Rabil, the most prolific scorer in professional field lacrosse history and a social media giant who brought unprecedented exposure to the sport, is retiring to focus exclusively on his role as co-founder and chief marketing officer of the Premier Lacrosse League.

The PLL will hold a press conference Tuesday at 12 p.m. ET announcing Rabil’s retirement at Audi Field in Washington, D.C., site of the upcoming PLL championship game and a short drive from Rabil’s hometown in Gaithersburg, Md.

“I say this with unending gratitude and the heaviest of hearts,” Rabil said in a press release issued by the league. “My time has come. After 23 years of playing this beautiful game, I’ve decided to retire.”

The news is somewhat surprising considering Rabil’s resurgence this summer with the Cannons. Following a disappointing 2020 PLL Championship Series with the Atlas that led some to say his best lacrosse was behind him, Rabil, 35, ranked second on the Cannons and ninth in the league with 26 points in nine games. He shot 36 percent from the field, good for third in the league among midfielders with at least 30 attempts.

The Cannons qualified for the PLL playoffs with a 13-10 win over the Chrome in their regular season finale — a game in which Rabil scored three goals, including a 2-pointer — but fell to the Atlas 13-9 in the quarterfinals. Rabil was scoreless on 0-for-8 shooting.

“I finally learned that it was never about the outcome. It was always about the game,” Rabil said. “The game is meant to be played, not won. There is no winning, as there is no end. So I’ll continue to compete, win, lose, sprint, fall and get back up again. I hope you can do that with me.”







Rabil’s career ended with a different version of the team with which it started. The Boston Cannons selected Rabil first overall in the 2008 Major League Lacrosse draft. He was a four-time All-American and won two NCAA championships at Johns Hopkins.

That momentum carried into the professional ranks. He won the first of two MLL MVP awards in 2009 and was named first-team All-Pro every year from 2009-2017, winning MLL titles in 2011 (with the Cannons) and 2015 (with the New York Lizards).

In 14 seasons and 170 career games in MLL and the PLL, he amassed 657 points. John Grant Jr. ranks second all-time among pro field lacrosse players with 643.

Rabil played in three world championships as a member of the U.S. national team, winning gold medals in 2010 and 2018. He was the MVP of the 2010 games in Manchester, England.

Rabil also played for five seasons in the National Lacrosse League, winning an NLL championship with the Washington Stealth in 2010.

In 2013, Bloomberg dubbed Rabil “Lacrosse’s Million-Dollar Man” as the sport’s first player to amass seven figures in endorsement income. He inked deals with Red Bull, Under Armour, Chevrolet, New Balance and GoPro, among others.

Rabil boasts a collective social media audience of more than 1 million. His YouTube channel alone has generated more than 126 million minutes watched, while his podcast, “Suiting Up with Paul Rabil,” has more than 3 million downloads.

Rabil has been a guest on NBC’s “The Today Show” and “Late Night with Seth Meyers.” He is a seasonal contributor to CNBC’s “Fast Money” and has been featured in the likes of GQ, Forbes, Esquire, Sports Illustrated, Bloomberg, Fast Company and Entrepreneur Magazine.

Rabil broke off from MLL after the 2018 season and started the PLL with his brother, Mike. The two leagues merged last December.

Rabil played for three seasons in the PLL, introducing a sometimes awkward player-operator dynamic to the locker room. But the league’s investors and media partners, especially NBC Universal, saw value in putting the face of the game front and center in their new venture.

“To watch Paul put his body, reputation and endorsements on the line to build and play in the PLL has been amazing,” said Mike Rabil, PLL co-founder and CEO. “No sports fan is ever ready to see the retirement of the best ever. That said, I feel fortunate that Paul will bring his on-field passion, energy and desire to win at the commercial side of our business, which will help professional lacrosse reach new heights. I am champing at the bit to roll up our sleeves and build his off the field legacy with him for years to come.”

In conjunction with his retirement, Rabil also announced a new initiative to resource lacrosse goals in all 50 states starting in 2022. Goals for Greatness will work with municipalities and community groups to identify public areas that can benefit from receiving lacrosse goals.

“My childhood memories consist of local basketball hoops, baseball diamonds and soccer fields,” he said. “Even as a professional it can be difficult to find a lacrosse field to practice on. I want to change that.”

Rabil is the fourth prominent PLL player and former U.S. national team member to announce his retirement this summer, joining John Galloway, Kyle Harrison and Joel White.

The PLL championship game Sunday (1 p.m. ET, NBC) pits the two-time defending league winner Whipsnakes against the Chaos at Audi Field. According to Mike Rabil, it is set to be the highest-attended game in PLL history.

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