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Michael Ehrhardt

From VP to MVP: Team USA's Michael Ehrhardt

August 31, 2018
Brian Logue
Adam Scott

This article appears in the September/October edition of US Lacrosse Magazine. Don’t get the mag? Join US Lacrosse today to start your subscription.

Underrated. Unknown. Just a couple of the words used to describe Michael Ehrhardt before the world championship began. By the time it ended, just three words were used to describe him — most valuable player.

Team USA’s long-stick midfielder made his presence known early, when he sent Lyle Thompson’s stick twirling during the opening game against the Iroquois Nationals. Over the next 10 days, nothing changed. Ehrhardt’s stick was like a magnet corralling ground balls. He delivered crushing hits, he knocked down passes and he even went to his MLL forte, firing in two goals in the semifinal victory over Australia.

Ehrhardt was relatively unknown by most of the Team USA coaching staff when the tryout process began, with one big exception. Tony Resch, who had coached Ehrhardt for the MLL’s Charlotte Hounds, lobbied hard for Ehrhardt to be included on the roster. Once he was named to the team in January, the real work began.

"I’m really impressed with what he’s done from the time he made the team in January to now, physically," U.S. assistant Joe Amplo said of the 6-foot-5, 220-pound Ehrhardt as the tournament began. "He transformed his body into peak, peak shape. There’s a difference in his physique."

Ehrhardt altered his diet and lost 20 pounds between January and July, while working full time as a vice president at First Nationwide Title Agency in New York.

U.S teammate Jordan Wolf was one of Ehrhardt’s workout partners before Wolf moved from New York back down to Durham, N.C. in the spring, and 2014 U.S. team member Mitch Belisle led a lot of the workouts.

"Just being able to put the jersey on and represent the USA — that’s what drives you," Ehrhardt said. "It’s a dream from when you’re a little kid. Just to be able to have this opportunity to represent your country, you don’t want to pass that up and be disappointed and look back and have any regrets. You want to put the work in."

Ehrhardt’s work paid off. He became just the second defender ever named MVP of the world championship, joining Hall of Famer Dave Pietramala (1990). It was a selection that had the ringing endorsement of his teammates.

"He one-hundred percent deserves it," said Ryan Brown, who scored 25 goals in the tournament, the second most in Team USA history. "He was our best player, our most valuable player."

"By a mile…or a kilometer," said Tom Schreiber, who scored the game-winning goal with one second left in the championship game. "I don’t think it was close."