By Matt Chandik
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 6/18/17
When he was a high school freshman at Mastery Charter, Amir Fluellen was playing in the Philadelphia Public League.
At the end of his freshman year of college, Fluellen was a national champion.
The Shipley School and Duke’s Lacrosse Club alum recently helped Salisbury to its 12th Division III national championship via a 15-7 win over the Rochester Institute of Technology. Even though Fluellen didn’t play in the title game, he still had an impact for the Sea Gulls. He played in 11 games, scoring a goal, dishing out two assists and collecting three ground balls.
More importantly, though, he got the chance to learn from some of the country’s top players while winning the first championship of his life.
“It was one of the most unreal experiences I’ve ever had in my life,” Fluellen said. “I hadn’t won a championship at any other level and I was finally able to get to that last game. The atmosphere was very different and I wasn’t used to it.”
The entire season was an adjustment period for Fluellen. He reclassified and spent two years at Shipley, but there’s still a colossal difference between the Friends Schools League and the highest level of Division III lacrosse. Salisbury is a perennial contender, which means that the program is always able to attract Division I transfers. That level of talent was new to Fluellen, but having to adjust to a higher level was nothing new to him.
“Salisbury has a big brother program and (senior midfielder) Brendan Bromwell was my big,” Fluellen said. “He helped me get acclimated to the system. It’s difficult to adjust to being able to play and thrive at that level, but by the end of the season, I was better than I ever imagined. Coach (Jim) Berkman likes to play guys who are consistent at what they do, so it’s all about getting used to that consistency.”
“I just absorbed how to handle situations and seeing the way how other guys got on the field,” Fluellen added. “It’s about being ready to play every single day and that helped me in the games that I was able to play in.”
A transfer to the Main Line and a national title in Maryland doesn’t mean that Fluellen has forgotten his roots. He’s still an inspiration and a role model back home, especially on social media. College lacrosse doesn’t have a ton of African-American players, so when one makes it as far as Fluellen has, he doesn’t really have much of a choice as to whether he’s a role model. It’s something that he fully embraces.
“I go on Instagram and see kids from the Pub sending me film from my days there, film that I didn’t even know existed,” Fluellen said. “I talk to them all the time. I’ll DM them back and help in any way I can help. I try to as much as I can. I’m coaching in the inner city whenever I can with the Tomahawks in the Northwest area close to Germantown. I’m also coaching for Duke’s, working with goalies and middies at their recent evaluation sessions.”
What a rewarding experience it must be for those players to learn from a national champion who’s been through and seen it all, from the Pub to the Friends League to the top of the Division III mountai