Freshman fields call to join Team Canada

IAN BUSBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:14 AM ET

When Team Canada calls, you have to answer.

And because wearing the Red and White also means going to Europe for the first time, Curtis Manning jumped at the opportunity.

The Calgary Roughnecks rookie defender is the only member of his National Lacrosse League team to be selected to Team Canada for the world field championships this summer in Manchester, England.

I never got a chance for the under-19 tournament, so its pretty exciting for me, said Manning, who will make his debut for Canada.

Manning wont be the only Rigger to play in the tournament that goes July 14-24. Fellow defender Jeff Shattler is expected to suit up for the Iroquois Nationals.

Manning just finished his college career a year ago at Simon Fraser University and represents the future of Canada at the field level.

It should be a lot of fun. Its the best field lacrosse in the world, so the tournament should be great, said Manning, who turned 23 Friday.

It will be an adjustment. Its a different style of play. Going back and forth isnt that tough because its the same skill-set. You have to use those couple days to get used to it.

Manning has adapted well to the NLL and hasnt seemed out of place in eight games with the Riggers.

He has two goals and one assist, while scooping up 38 loose balls. The 6-foot-4, 205-pounder has thrown his weight around well and hasnt stood out in a bad way among the more veteran defenders.

Its gone pretty well, Manning said. Its easy to play with the kind of talent this team has. There are a lot of experienced guys on our back end to guide me to where I need to be. Its gone smoothly so far, and

I like our defence.

I will keep doing the same things Ive been doing, but I hope to contribute in some other ways. I hope to put a few more goals in and try to expand my game to the rest of the floor.

I hope to keep improving in every aspect and contribute where I can.

Although hes currently working at a research lab at Simon Fraser, Manning is applying to medical school with the hopes of one day becoming a doctor.

When that happens, his lacrosse career might have to take a backseat, but Riggers fans can expect to see him in a Calgary uniform for at least a couple more years.


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