By REBECCA WASHNEY
DULUTH, Ga. — Lacrosse began as a traditional Native American game meant to honor and give thanks to the Creator, and the Thompson brothers intend to do just that all while keeping it in the family.
The brothers were born and raised in the Onondaga Nation in upstate New York, each brother was given customary hand-crafted wood lacrosse stick as a baby. As adults, three of four of the Thompson brothers: Jerome, 29, Miles, 27, and Lyle, 25 play for the Georgia Swarm professional indoor lacrosse team.
Despite the brothers’ best efforts for the Swarm and last year’s victory at the National Lacrosse League championship, Georgia (3-5) is still 2.5 games behind the Buffalo Bandits for the top spot in the Eastern Division.
“We put the pressure on guys to prepare individually and be ready to go,” Swarm head coach Ed Comeau said. “I think every guy in the room looks in the mirror and says you’ve got to bring your best next week.”
Lyle Thompson leads the brothers in scoring and is fourth on the Swarm for scoring with 14 points total so far.
“You can look back at last year and look at what we did right,” Lyle Thompson said “That’s one way to start. We have a new group here, and we talk about building, looking forward. There’s still a lot of season left.”
In college, Miles and Lyle, along with their cousin Ty Thompson were affectionately nicknamed the Thompson Trio and broke history in 2014 playing for University of Albany. The Thompson Trio was a force to be reckoned with, accounting for 300 of Albany’s 456 points in the spring of 2014.
Miles and Lyle both won the Tewaaraton Award, the equivalent of the Heisman Trophy for lacrosse, marking the first time the award has gone to an American Indian. Lyle won again in 2015, becoming the first male player to win the award back to back.
“What me and Miles and my cousin Ty did in college played a huge effect,” Lyle Thompson said. “It brought awareness to our culture and people learning more about the history of this game.”
The family broke records again in 2017 when the Swarm played the Saskatchewan Rush, the team their eldest brother Jeremy, 31, plays for. They were added to the Guinness World Records book for the first time ever in a professional lacrosse game that four siblings all competed in the same game.
In addition to their impressive accomplishments on the field, the brothers also started their own business, Thompson Brothers Lacrosse. They sell self-designed merchandise, hold lacrosse camps for underprivileged kids and work on getting more youth involved in the culture and tradition of the sport.
“We do a lot of youth work, a lot of speaking events, hands-on lacrosse learning,” Lyle Thompson said. “That’s what our company is surrounded by, you know we do it all around the country.”
Lyle Thompson does the graphic design for their website, previously a graphic design student at the University of Albany before changing his major due to his growing family and lacrosse commitments.
“There’s no shortcuts to art,” Lyle Thompson said. “You’ve got to take your time. There’s patience. For me, I had two kids in college, going on my third my senior. I just didn’t have the time, then I had my lacrosse and classes.”
In their personal lives, the brothers are all proud self-proclaimed family men, already boasting 13 children between them. Their Instagram’s are overflowing with pictures of their little ones and wives. Lyle has four children, three daughters and one son, Jerome has three, and Miles is adjusting to life with a newborn after his baby girl was born on Jan. 30.
They currently live in New York on the Onondaga reservation with their families, comminuting to Atlanta on game weekends to honor the Creator by playing the game they love.
The Thompson brothers of the Swarm face off against the Toronto Rock Saturday, Feb. 17 for Country Night featuring artist Scotty McCreery as the halftime and postgame performer.