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A hometown hero's welcome in Boston for Cannons’ Jeff Trainor

Jeff Trainor Jeff Trainor - PLL

When Jeff Trainor takes the field at Harvard Stadium this weekend for the Boston Cannons’ Homecoming, he won’t just have a hometown crowd. He’ll have an entire cavalry. 

Immediate and extended family, yearslong friends from home, old teammates from UMass, former coaches and young players Trainor coaches now will all be in attendance to cheer on the pride of Billerica, Mass.

“I think he’ll get a very warm reception,” hinted Jeff’s older brother, Daniel.

From scrumming it up with his younger brother in the backyard to now, Daniel’s been there for Jeff every step of the way. And like every younger sibling, Jeff was his older brother’s shadow. 

“I just wanted to do everything he did,” Jeff recalled. 

The two battled it out with their neighborhood group of boys day in and day out, playing every sport you could think of.

“Those games always ended in some sort of fight, but then it was back at it again the next day,” Daniel said. 

While basketball was the most popular sport to play in the neighborhood, lacrosse quickly rose in the ranks in the Trainor house. After Daniel started playing lacrosse, Jeff naturally picked up his first lacrosse stick soon after, followed by their youngest sister, Julia (now a junior playing lacrosse at Long Island University). 

A competitive young kid with undeniable athletic ability, Jeff played multiple youth lacrosse seasons with the older boys until he was no longer allowed to play out of his age bracket. After that, he played one season with kids his own age, decided he was not getting anything out of those games and stopped playing until eighth grade.

In his freshman year of high school, Jeff earned his spot on Billerica Memorial High’s varsity lacrosse team – right alongside Daniel, a senior at the time.

“I wish I got to be a better older brother during those years, but you know how it is in high school,” laughed Daniel, who went on to play collegiately at Southern New Hampshire University. “As the older brother, being a senior, and my younger brother being a freshman, I was just trying to make sure that he wasn’t the weakest link.”

Though they only had one year to play together on a team, Daniel had a lasting impact on his younger brother’s lacrosse career. Jeff credits his older brother for not just getting him into lacrosse, but all kinds of athletics, and helping mold him into the competitor and person he is today.

“Jeff Trainor, in my mind, is the epitome of a teammate and person you want in your foxhole when things aren’t going well,” Cannons head coach Brian Holman remarked. 

Boston attackman Asher Nolting called Trainor “the perfect teammate.”

“He’s just so loyal,” Holman added. “I don’t know if there’s a guy that’s more loyal and cares about his teammates as much as Jeff does. He doesn’t back down from anybody, especially for his teammates.”

Loyalty and selflessness are nothing new for Trainor. The all-time leader in points by a midfielder at UMass, the now short-stick defensive midfielder has no shortage of offensive prowess to his game. But as UMass head coach Greg Cannella and his staff began to emphasize the importance of their midfielders playing both ways, Trainor developed a love for defense. 

In his fifth year, one of his co-captains, Charlie O’Brien, went down with a season-ending injury. As the team’s primary two-way midfielder, O’Brien left big shoes to fill. Trainor stepped up and shifted his game in his final collegiate season to that of a more defensive midfielder, letting the other guys take on the offensive responsibilities. 

That turned out to be the best decision of his career. 

Drafted 18th overall by the Archers in the 2021 PLL Draft, Trainor now is an offensive midfielder by trade who’s transformed into the perfect archetype of everything a defensive midfielder needs to be. 

“He just brings a ton of energy. He’s extremely athletic. He’s tough as nails,” Holman said. “I never thought about it when I watched the Archers play, but when I got the job for the Cannons and I knew Jeff was a free agent, besides Marcus (Holman), Jeff was in the top two phone calls that I made. He’s a guy you want on your team.”

What many expected to be a transition year for Holman and the Cannons in 2023 instead turned into the start of something special.

During a 7-3 regular season that ended in the semifinals, Trainor was the glue that held his team together between the lines. Those black cleats and white socks zoomed up and down the field every weekend, doing everything asked of him and more. 

“One through 25, they’re all my dogs, and that starts with Coach at the top,” Trainor said. “I’d do anything for any of those guys. Whatever it takes.” 

A big Boston sports fan, Trainor said he takes a lot of inspiration from the 2008 Celtics championship team in particular. 

“Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo – that was a special team,” he explained. “They were a very gritty and a very close-knit team. I remember them beating the Lakers like it was yesterday. That team helped inspire some of what I play with today in my own game.” 

As the Cannons head home to Boston for the first time in PLL history, it’ll be a full-circle moment for the Billerica native. Growing up going to Cannons games at Harvard Stadium, now it will be Trainor on the field inspiring the next generation of athletes. 

“My ties with Massachusetts from Billerica to the University of Massachusetts and now being a Boston Cannon, it all just makes sense. I couldn’t be happier where I am and to represent the Cannons and to do it as a hometown kid," Trainor said. 

And of course, Daniel and the rest of Jeff’s cavalry will be there supporting him loud and proud as the Cannons take on the California Redwoods (Friday, 6 p.m. ET) and Philadelphia Waterdogs (Saturday, 7 p.m.). Only this time without the massive banner they brought to last year’s games at Gillette Stadium, as per Jeff’s request to his father. 

“It was funny for one year. It can’t go back to back,” Jeff declared.