Episode 20 of the Utah Lacrosse Podcast features Sophomore LSM Sammy Cambere. Cambere talks about growing up in Texas, playing at Utah, and more!
Hope you enjoy the show.
— Tim Haslam
Tim Haslam: Welcome in fans to the Utah lacrosse podcast. I’m your host, Tim Haslam. My guest today is Sophomore LSM, Sammy Cambere. Sammy, how are ya?
Sammy Cambere: I’m good, Tim. How are you doing?
TH: Good. Yeah, welcome to the show. It’s a, it’s a pleasure that, you know, most of the time I’m talking to coaches and I kind of get the coach speak, but you know, it’d be nice to hear from a player today. We’ve done a couple of players in the past, last year we did Jimmy. I’ve done the captains, Seth and Aaron in the past, so we’re excited to have you on though. How’s class going so far this semester?
SC: It’s good. I took, it took a little bit of a lighter load in the spring cause this season coming up, but, so my classes are pretty easy compared to the fall, but I’m doing pretty well so far. Haven’t had too many tests, so doing good.
TH: Sure. Let’s talk a bit about your background. Where are you from?
SC: I’m from a town called Flower Mound, Texas. It’s about 20 minutes North of Dallas. It’s a small city in Texas.
TH: What high school did you go to?
SC: It’s called Flower Mound High School. It’s a huge high school with about 4,000 kids.
TH: What other sports did you play growing up?
SC: Growing up I kind of played about everything and play like hockey, basketball, football, lacrosse, just about everything honestly.
TH: Okay. When did, when did you start playing lacrosse? Were you young?Were, did you take it on older?
SC: Yeah, so I played hockey like all growing up when I was started about like six years old and I was like my favorite sport growing up. I just loved it,
TH: In Texas?
SC: Yeah. In Texas, surprisingly. Everyone asked that same for lacrosse too, so sure. But yeah, that was my favorite sport growing up for sure. Just watching the Stars and everything. And then, um, when I got to about like 12 years old, it was kind of just too much to do hockey and other sports cause it was just too expensive and just traveling everywhere. So I like, I found lacrosse and just fell in love with that. So I was able to play lacrosse and basketball as well, so it was pretty cool.
TH: Okay. So you’re 12 years old or you start playing lacrosse. Did you always have a pole in your hand or did you play attach or goalie or anything else?
SC: Ah, so I started, so my cousin, he was kind of like my inspiration for the cross. He lived on the East Coast, in Connecticut and he was a FOGO and so I just always like wanted to take face offs and stuff. So I kinda started up on like the wings and I was kind of a little bit more chubby than I am now. And so I started with a short stick and moved to attack and then eventually just have to kind of, I was kind of too slow to play offense, so they moved me to pole and kind of fell in love with that ever since.
TH: So you play that ever since. Did you play club lacrosse at all travel lacrosse?
SC: Yeah, so I played my summer leagues. I honestly just played with all my high school friends, like from my high school. Didn’t really take it super serious and then we just had so much fun on all of the summer trips and just everything. It was awesome to play in the summer. I played for a play for Chaos first and then I played for a team called CDC and is good.
TH: CDC has a couple, they have a couple of different teams across the country. They and they’re kind of a franchise or are they just out of Texas.
SC: The main one was in Dallas.
TH: What’s one of your memories from some of those summer trips? What was a cool trip that you guys took?
SC: My favorite one, I actually, it was on this team called Century. It was literally just my whole high school team basically. And we went and we stayed on Delaware’s campus and that was so cool. It was my first time ever going and visiting like an actual college and just stay. We stayed in their dorms and it was pretty cool to like sleep and all the dorms and stuff. So it was a good, as a really good experience for me.
TH: Yeah, it gets you ready for college too, right?
SC: Yeah. That was honestly like, like a big eye opener for me. Probably my freshman year going to Delaware and just seeing like all the college campus and stuff and then kind of made me want to play in college for sure.
TH: Talk about kind of what that recruiting experience was like, you know, did you, did you have a couple schools you had in mind and then eventually, you know, how did you end up at Utah?
SC: So after freshman year I, when I decided I really want to play in college lacrosse, I pursued that. But honestly, I, I didn’t have any other schools. I didn’t have any schools reach out to me until my junior year and that was Utah and, uh, Coach Holman, he just gave me a chance and it was the best chance I’ve ever gotten. So forever grateful for that.
TH: Sure. Uh, talk about, you know, a lot of kids wonder like, Oh, how can I get recruited? What are some things that I can do now? In your opinion, what, what were some of the things that you had done to help, you know, get Coach Holman’s eye?
SC: So you asked about the other sports. I think that’s honestly one of the biggest things is just taking time away from lacrosse to play other sports and just playing football and basketball helped me with my footwork and just knowing like offense and like how defense rotates and all of that stuff. So I think that’s the biggest things for kids nowadays is just to play other sports and get that experience for sure.
TH: It’s kinda hard to take time away, right? You kind of feel like you’re losing the edge or maybe losing your stick skills, but, um, you know, a lot of people will say that it’s an important thing to do for sure.
SC: Yeah. That’s why I always, when I took a break from it, I was, I would always like hit the wall and stuff for sure on my own.
TH: How often do you hit the wall now?
SC: Uh, probably every day. Every other day.
TH: Okay. Yeah. And do you have a set routine?
SC: I just go in there and I don’t really have any goals. I’d kinda just throw music on and just do it. It’s fun.
TH: And do you just go until you feel fulfilled?
SC: I go for about a time. No, I don’t ever really count. I just go for about 10, 15 minutes. Enough reps every day. Sure. Just a little bit goes a long way.
TH: So you get recruited to Utah as a, as a junior, were you a junior when you committed? So you go through your senior year, um, you get to campus, you know, August of, you know, after your senior year. What were some of your first impressions?
SC: Well, my first impression when I came and visited, I visited my junior year as well. And there’s just obviously the mountains because being from Texas don’t have that or don’t have any of the sights and stuff. And then driving up just like the, um, the football stadium was just huge. And that’s, that was honestly one of the biggest things why I wanted to come here. Just get like a full college experience with a lot of people cause my high school had 4,000 kids in it. So I wanted to go to obviously like a big school and that was what caught my eye too is just all the sports teams here and they had just had everything. It’s a great college life and college experience for sure.
TH: You know, you get to college, you’re a freshman, you, you start going through classes, you start, you know, playing in the fall. What, what’s a challenge that that came up that maybe you didn’t anticipate and and how did you overcome it?
SC: So probably the biggest challenge for me was just obviously being away from home. It’s pretty far. And I guess just seeing all my friends, they kind of all went to the same schools and just seeing them, they were all having a good time and stuff. And that’s probably the hardest part for me is just being away from all of them. But it got way easier once you got to know the guys. And it was pretty hard, uh, for Utah, like the first year, cause no one really knew each other is a brand new program. So it’s a little bit harder for us to get to know everyone and become closer. But once we did, it’s is way easier to do that and just hang out with all the guys.
TH: For sure. Talk about that first season. In Texas, in high school across, did you guys play in the fall? Did you have like a fall ball?
SC: Yeah, we did have a fall ball so I would go, so I would have football practice until about like it started around three and, and around like 5:30 and I would go straight to lacrosse practice every day after football. So it’s kind of hard.
TH: So you were used to playing lacrosse in the fall, so fall ball didn’t really, really bother you?
SC: No, not at all.
TH: Okay. So then you go through that first fall. What was one of those things? What’s something you remember from that first fall?
TH: It’s kinda like one of the base pictures of our program is us standing on the garage field and we were just looking over the sunset and I’ll just remember that day forever. We were just, I remember Coach Holman bringing us all up together as there’s snow on the ground and I never got to play in that back home either. So that was a cool experience. That’s probably one of my first times playing in that and we just stopped and we looked at the mountains. It’s really cool seeing there like the beautiful sunset. It was a cool experience.
TH: So you have, you have a great fall, you get into, you get into the spring season, last season, that first game against Vermont, you know, running out of the tunnel. What were some of the feelings or impressions that you remember from that day?
SC: Yeah, I was honestly, I was, that was one of the only one of the games I was nervous for after that. I haven’t been nervous since, but it was just, there’s so many people there and just running out of the tunnel is really like odd experience for sure. And then obviously it wasn’t the outcome we wanted, but it was good to get that one out of the way and go onto the next game against Mercer.
TH: What are, what are some of the memorable moments from, from last season?
SC: Last season definitely the Mercer game. I was the best, like our first win. It was great experience. And then probably the spring break trip it was really hard on all of us and it was like we played four games I think nine days, so, and we lost all of those so it kinda like opened our eyes and just like, it brought us a lot closer cause it obviously sucked that we lost four games in a row like that. But once we got back we came back together and get experience for us. Sure.
TH: The season ends, you know, you go into your summer, Utah has a unique thing where if you stay in the summer you can earn your residency and then you pay in-state tuition the remaining three years. Did you stay in state or did you go back home?
SC: I stayed here actually. So yeah, that was awesome. Getting took off a lot of money for the end state tuition, which was huge for us, for all the kids that stayed. And it was really, it was awesome that I got to coach the little guys in the Summit program. That was my first time coaching too. So it honestly helped me get better as a player too. And just I got, uh, it was beautiful here in the summer and it’s hot just like back home. Didn’t expect that, but I’m like back home. We had the mountains here and I went on a bunch of hikes probably once a week and just explored and played sand volleyball with the guys and it was awesome waking up. We had 6:00 AM lifts, which is pretty tough. But Coach Teagle was really cool this summer and we’ve got to play like flag football and sand volleyball, med ball volleyball, which was, it was really fun.
TH: Did you work at all in the summer?
SC: I just did the Summit, so that was my job for coaching. I took classes. I did, yeah, I took two online classes, but they’re pretty easy. It’s nice. So I got to lessen the load again in the fall.
TH: Coming into coming into the fall season, uh, you know, did you, uh, you know, sophomore year, did you have any, have you set any personal goals or expectations for yourself coming into the fall?
SC: Uh, yeah, for sure I have some personal goals. I like, I look at the stats from last year and I definitely want to just beat those stats and just be the best player I can be every single game and hopefully become an All American one day. It’s my, uh, personal goal, but ultimately just want to win the games with the team.
TH: How was this fall different than your first fall?
SC: Yeah. So I, like I said earlier, um, this follows way easier transition cause all the guys already knew each other and there was a lot less freshmen. So we already had like, we already had like our relationships built. So it is way easier getting those freshmen involved with us and just becoming a team way faster than last year.
TH: Entering the spring season, first game against Bellarmine, um, then, you know, you’d go and, uh, play on the road against, Lehigh, you know, a top ranked Lehigh team, then your host Air Force and Furman talk about those four games so far and you know, kind of impressions or takeaways from those games.
SC: So, um, I think going into this first game against Bellarmine compared to last year, it’s just we’re, we’re way more confident now cause we’re obviously better as a group. And I think after that we kinda got a little bit complacent going into Lehigh and Air Force and we didn’t really practice as hard. But as soon as, uh, as soon as that Air Force game ended, uh, we all had like a bitter taste in our mouth. And we definitely, we just wanted to get back to practice and go as hard as we could every single day. And that’s what we’ve been doing. That’s why we had success against Furman and going in today’s practice, we just, it’s the same thing. We just go hard every single day. So that’ll help us prepare for Saturdays.
TH: What’s your favorite drill that you run in practice when coach says we’re going to now do this, what gets you the most excited?
SC: Uh, we have this drill called True North. It’s where I get to play a little bit of often. So every time I get to do that or any transition drill where I get the shoot, it’s always my favorite.
TH: How many goals did you have last season?
SC: Um, I think I had three at three and three.
TH: So, and how many have this season?
SC: I’ve got zero right now. I’ve got the goose egg, so hopefully I’ll get one this week.
TH: Plenty of games left.
SC: Yeah, I’ll get them.
TH: What’s your least favorite drill?
SC: Least favorite drill? Probably the three man weave. Okay. I don’t know, just cause it’s a lot, I don’t know. It’s a lot of running.
TH: Yeah, it can be a little tricky for a pole as well. Right. Getting them out there and, and uh, you know, catching right by your and stuff. Um, talk about, talk about sort of the culture of the program. What are some things that that stand out to you culture wise?
SC: So like I said, it’s just every single day we were not all, or obviously not the most talented team in the country and we all know that and not a lot of us weren’t recruited like myself. So I think the culture for our program, like the biggest thing is just the grit behind us. We know we’re not the most talented, but we’ll bring the best effort we have and we’ll go as hard as we can for every single play. And that’s what we, we kinda got away from against Lehigh and Air Force and that’s what we’re back to now. So that’s the biggest thing.
TH: And even the first half of the Furman game, right?
SC: Yeah, exactly. That’s it. That’s, that was coach’s message at half time is get back to Utah lacrosse and we all knew that that’s what we needed to do and that’s what we did for the second half. So I’m excited to see what the Saturday brings for us when we’re playing Utah lacrosse for a full game.
TH: What’s your favorite pillars for, so for those who are just tuning in for the first time, Utah lacrosse has five pillars. What’s your favorite one?
SC: That one’s easy for me. It’s gratitude. I’m just grateful every single day to be able to play this game. And sometimes I get away from that and I, I definitely need to get better for that. And I think just everyone needs to get better, uh, being more grateful for everything. It’s just, it’s just such a great experience being able to get an education here and just play the game. I love every single day. So that one’s definitely my favorite.
TH: When you, when you picked up a stick as a 12 year old, a lacrosse player, did you ever think it would take you to Utah? Of all places.
SC: No idea. I honestly, uh, I didn’t even know, like, didn’t know much about Utah at all. I’ve only been here once. It was when I was think I was about two and I went and skied in Park City so I didn’t even ski. So that, yeah. I have no idea that it brought me here, but I’m glad did.
TH: What do you study in school?
SC: I’m actually majoring in criminology and then minoring in business. Not really sure what I want to do yet with that, like two little opposite things, but I just know I don’t really want a desk job. I kind of want to be on my feet doing something and the criminology stuff, it just really interests me while there’s watched on Netflix, like some of those shows.
TH: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
SC: 10 years? Uh, I definitely want to live somewhere with mountains now that I’ve been here, whether, I don’t know if it’ll be here or maybe Colorado or somewhere in California or something like that. But definitely an outdoors person and I just love to hike and ski and all that stuff. So Utah definitely opened that up for me and loved the mountains and stuff.
TH: Where do you find, where do you find inspiration, you know, before the podcast you mentioned not many podcasts or, or a, you know, a lot of free time to read books, but where do you, where do you draw your inspiration? What kind of gets you going?
SC: Yes. I’m not much of a book reader, I think just the biggest thing that inspires me is probably my two brothers. I have a little brother named Luke and an older brother named Trey. And just, Trey was just such a good role model for me and I wanted it to be the same thing for my little brothers. So just watching, uh, Luke grow up and then just I want to follow and trace footsteps. So I think that inspires me the most. I just want to be the best for them. What do your brothers do now? So my older brother Trey, he graduated from Baylor. He played on the club lacrosse team there and he got a, you got a major in economics and he works for Goldman Sachs now and that in downtown Dallas. And then my little brother Luke, he’s a wrestler for Flower Mound High School. He’s like a state wrestler. He just finished I think the top 10. So yeah.
TH: Does he play lacrosse?
SC: He did, but he just decided to go to wrestling because he has this passion.
TH: Anything else for the, for the listeners out there that you wanna that you want to say?
SC: Uh, no, just thanks for listening. I appreciate it, Tim.
TH: Yeah, thanks for coming on. I appreciate it as well. Always good to have you. If, if you get a chance to meet Sammy after a game or at an event, be sure to do it. Excellent man. Um, fun to talk to always and definitely a beast on the field and that’s what we’d like to see. That’ll do it for this episode. Be sure to follow the team this weekend as the travel to Jacksonville, Florida to take on Jacksonville. Uh, that game will be on, I believe it’ll be taped delayed on CBS sports network, one of their network shows. But you can also follow on Instagram and Twitter and Facebook at Utah lacrosse. Thanks for tuning in and we’ll catch you next time.