Tucker Wade doesn’t really do normal.
It’s probably understating it to say that Wade has had a unique path to get to where he is today, but it’s also hard to argue with the results for the DC Express and Bullis (Md.) midfielder.
Not many players get to spend their underclass years at two of North America’s top lacrosse programs, but Wade got to experience the best of both worlds with a year at The Hill Academy in Canada before coming to Bullis. The time spent in Ontario added plenty of weapons to his arsenal and helped him grow as a person.
“I wanted to go to Canada to get some independence, and I learned so much from the players around to me,” Wade said. “I was around some unbelievable kids that do some things that you just don’t see around here. Hill was a great experience for me.”
A Circuitous Route
One of the constants for Wade is that he’s been the best offensive player on a stacked DC Express ’22 team. When he came back to Bullis, he projected as an impact player for the Bulldogs before Covid wiped out the 2020 season. This year, he’s already got an overtime game-winner over rival Georgetown Prep, part of a masterful four-goal game, to his name. True to form, he also went with a different route than initially planned, one that will give him the best of multiple worlds.
His father’s past had a role in that, too. Ryan Wade, the former UNC three-time All-American, two-time ACC Player of the Year and MVP of the 1998 World Championships, played for Western Australia in 1995. It was then that he won an Australian National Championship and unknowingly set the stage for his son’s future in lacrosse.
Headed Down Under
“I was recently talking to my college counselor and looking at courses that I’d be taking, and since I had the year at Hill and I kept taking classes, I wouldn’t have many classes left to take after next year,” Wade explained. “My advisor brought to me the idea of graduating early, so I’m going to do that, go to Australia for a year and play there for a summer.”
“My dad said that his time in Australia was one of the best times of his life, so I knew that it was something that I wanted to do,” Wade continued. “In this day and age, it’s a little harder to take a year for internships after college, so I figured it’d be easier to do it before. I’m going to graduate in 2022, go to Australia since we know people there, and I’m hoping that they can also set me up for internships so I can figure out what I want to do after college. I feel like it can help me see what I want to get out of my college experience.”
— NLF (@natlaxfed) July 21, 2020
Princeton-Bound in 2023
Temporarily being a ’22 also helped him cement that future that will partially be shaped by his experience Down Under. He put together a list of schools that he was interested in and quickly whittled it down to five, and shortly after, realized that Princeton was the place for him. He committed to the school’s admissions process with the understanding that he’ll come in as a ’23, and a darn good one at that. Wade is NLFRankings.com’s No. 4 overall ’23 and the No. 3 midfielder. He’s a a dynamic, multi-faceted offensive threat, one equally comfortable initiating off the dodge or working with a teammate in the two-man game. When teams play DC Express, he’s at the top of the scouting report, and his presence takes pressure off of a lot of his skilled offensive teammates.
“I haven’t really nailed down my playing style,” said Wade, who indicated that he will likely play a post-graduate year at a boarding school in 2023. “Style wise, I see some aspects of people’s games and I try to add them to my game. I could be a better shooter, I could be a better passer. I can always improve. The most important thing is that I care so much about the teams I’ve played on and for the players that I’ve played with. I’ve been with my (DC Express) ’22 team for a really long time and I love playing with those guys. I love playing with Bullis. I have a lot of passion for the team aspect of the game, and I just try to best fill whatever role I can best contribute.”
No matter where he plays, odds are that Tucker Wade will be a force.
NLFRankings.com Class of ’23 Rankings
No. 4 Tucker Wade, midfield, Bullis (Md.) / DC Express
No. 5 Owen Duffy, attack, St. Anthony’s (N.Y.) / Team 91 Long Island
No. 6 Caleb Fyock, goalie, St. John’s (D.C.) / Annapolis Hawks
No. 7 Benn Johnston, midfield, Avon Old Farms (Conn.) / True National
No. 8 Mac Christmas, LSM, Georgetown Prep (Md.) / MadLax DC Dogs
No. 9 Nate Kabiri, attack, Episcopal (Va.) / MadLax DC Dogs
No. 10 Jacob Pacheco, midfield, Boys’ Latin (Md.) / Crabs