Max Solmssen (ADVNC SF 2020)

Max Solmssen played hockey, soccer and baseball when he was little. He never touched a lacrosse stick, despite both his parents playing lacrosse at Hamilton College in upstate New York. But when Max’s dad, Topher took him to see Brown University play the University of North Carolina at Kezar Stadium in San Francisco, Max’s lacrosse journey was born. Max was in 6th grade that day when a Brown player gave Max his stick after the game, and Max went home and tried it out. The rest, as they say, is history as Max is committed to play lacrosse at Colby College, starting in the fall of 2020.

But of course, there’s much more to the story than just that. Topher Solmssen recalls, “Courtney (Max’s mom) and I had tried to get Max to pick up a lacrosse stick for a number of years. He’s loved anything having to do with a ball since he came out of the womb. But he waited to try lacrosse till he was ready for it on his own time.”

Max is a very confident and independent person. He is something of a modern day Renaissance Man. He’s a strong student at University High in San Francisco, he’s an athlete, and he’s also a musician. Max recently spent 3 days enjoying music at the Outside Lands music and arts festival. He started playing drums when he was in kindergarten, and switched to trumpet in the 6th grade. “Music makes me happy. I like a lot of different genres: rap, classical stuff, reggae and jazz. In a lot of ways my music and athletic careers are connected. Both are about performing. Performance is a theme of my life. Preparing for a game or concert is similar, and one has helped me with the other.”

Max played on various rec and club teams in Marin and San Francisco after he was given his first stick at Kezar Stadium. He tried out for ADVNC at the beginning of his sophomore season.  Max said, “Starting with ADVNC was crucial for me. I needed a change of scenery and I needed a fresh start with new coaches and new teammates. I needed a new place to prove myself.”

Solmssen started playing with ADVNC as a sophomore, and quickly became a team leader.

Solmssen started playing with ADVNC as a sophomore, and quickly became a team leader.

The Solmssen family credits ADVNC’s Director of Training, Greg Weigel, for being a huge positive influence on Max. “From the get go, Greg was really encouraging and supportive of Max as a new kid on the team,” Topher said. “From Day 1, he’s just been so supportive of Max and that’s given Max so much more confidence to grow as a lacrosse player. That helped improve his game, both mentally and physically.”

As Max’s game improved, he started dreaming of playing lacrosse in college. The Solmssen’s leaned on Weigel and ADVNC Founder & CEO Chris Rotelli to help navigate the college recruiting process. Courtney recalls, “We asked Greg and Chris: Can Max play at the college level? They said yes, and we went from there. From the beginning, Chris and Greg have been invested in Max as a person and as a lacrosse player. On a very personal level, they made an attempt to connect with my son and build him up as a player and as a person. They motivated him to be a better player and person. We’ve been so impressed with ADVNC on so many levels.”

Solmssen plays both attack and middie for his ADVNC SF ‘20 squad

Solmssen plays both attack and middie for his ADVNC SF ‘20 squad

Weigel looks back on Max’s ADVNC career, “Max’s competitiveness and his leadership stand out. Max is very confident in who he is and as a result he’s not afraid of making mistakes. Within a couple months of being on the team, Max clearly became the leader.”  In looking toward college Weigel is even more positive. “He has a really bright future. Max has an incredible mind for the game. I think he can make an immediate impact at Colby because of the way he thinks about the game. He is so good at taking coaching and immediately implementing that into his game.”

Max decided on Colby, but “I only looked at east coast schools,” he said. “I’ve always felt a connection to the east coast. I was born in Manhattan, and I’ve spent almost every summer of my life on the east coast, visiting my grandparents and cousins. I like the feel of the east coast schools, specifically the NESCAC schools. They all have high academic standards as well as great lacrosse.”

Being a California kid did not deter Max from often cold and snowy Colby, located in Waterville, Maine. Max said, “I visited Colby in February, to see what it would really be like. I am not opposed to cold. The cold won’t impact me too much.”

The only thing Max said he will really miss when he moves to Maine are his 2 dogs, Ivy and Olive. His dogs are his constant backyard companions when he shoots lacrosse balls on his net for hours on end. Max knows that his self motivated work ethic is what got him to Colby and he knows that’s what will be necessary when he gets there. “Loving the sport of lacrosse is required,” he said. “No kid will be motivated to do the work with a killer instinct to pursue playing in college if you don’t love it.”

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