Follow the NLF on Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and Facebook.
Ben Friedman was blown away.
The Taft (Conn.) and Prime Time goalie, ranked as the No. 21 prospect and the No. 3 goalie in the class of 2024, knew about Yale‘s reputation. Perhaps more so than any other team in the country, Bulldogs pride themselves on toughness and intensity. It’s a major part of their identity, so Friedman had an idea of what he was getting into when he recently visited for a practice.
He didn’t realize exactly how intense things were, though.
“The intensity is as high as it gets,” Friedman said. “I just came away from practice just thinking, ‘wow,’ to myself. (Yale head coach) Coach (Andy) Shay‘s intensity is unmatched. At practice, it’s super loud and all of the guys are barking at each other. It’s the little things like that that win national championships. They won one in 2018, so it’s a school that’s done it before. Coach Shay knows how to do it.”
Leading Yale’s Class
Now, it’ll be Friedman who’s tasked with leading the Bulldogs back to a Memorial Day celebration. He opened up Yale’s class with a verbal commitment to the school’s admissions process. It’s certainly not a bad way for Shay to kick off the 2024 class. Five-star goalies are few and far between, and Friedman cemented that reputation with a huge summer.
“I liked that Yale is only an hour away, so it’s really close,” Friedman said. “It’s one of the best academic institutions in the world, so you can’t go wrong there. The Ivies are so good at lacrosse, but they also set you up well for jobs and with networking. I’ve heard nothing but good things about the alumni and alumni network at Yale, so I’m really excited.”
Friedman has played with the Prime Time 2023s for some time and stayed with them throughout their final summer of club ball. It should only help him as he drops down with the 2024s for their last year. Additionally, it gave him some even higher-level competition, which should get him even more dialed in as he takes over in Taft’s cage this spring.
“I always found a rhythm with those guys. It’s a tight-knit group and I was so comfortable with them,” Friedman said. “(Prime Time director) Coach (Nick) Daniello gave me an opportunity to play with the ’24s this year, but I just loved playing with the ’23s so much. We had so much chemistry and it was awesome to play with them one last summer.”
“Best Goalie to Ever Come Through Our Program”
“To me, Ben is the premier goalie in the class,” Daniello said. “He was an All-Star everywhere he went this summer. The bigger the game, the better he played, and I expect him to be the same way for Taft. He’s the best goalie to ever come through our program.”
Friedman would have started as an underclassman at almost any other school in the country. At Taft, though, he bided his time behind 2022 five-star and four-year starter Thomas Ricciardelli (Eclipse), who is now at Notre Dame. Friedman’s taken a lot of notes on how to be a gamebreaker, and he knows what the standard is for a Rhino goalie.
“I thought Thomas was one of the best goalies I’ve ever seen,” Friedman said. “I’m just trying to take something from his game.”
Taft is in good hands, and as of the fall of 2024, Yale will be, too.