Get to Know the Pro: CJ Costabile

CJ Costabile is one of the deadliest guys with a long pole in the MLL! His speed, stick skills, takeaway ability, and transition dominance help make him one of the most respected players in the game. It’s no wonder he trusts StringKing mesh to deliver a consistent pocket that will keep up with such a dynamic player. We are proud to call him an official member of the StringKing Pro Team! Whether he’s taking a face-off in the rain, making a long pass after a wild ground ball, or winding up for a snipe during a fast break, he knows his StringKing pocket will perform consistently regardless of the endless stress it’s put through.

We were lucky enough to have CJ answer a few questions for us recently. He has had some unbelievable experiences within the game and we new we needed to learn more! Want an example? Check out how CJ ended the 2010 NCAA Championship below. Unbelievable…

1) First things first, are you still getting pumped up for games by listening to Breathe by Fabulous? You’re quoted as saying it’s been in pre-game rotation for a long time with you.

CJ -“Absolutely, the song never gets old to me. It still gets me amped uped. Granted there have been some changes here and there to my pre-game playlist, but the core songs remain the same and Breathe by Fabolous is one of them.”

costabile-highschool(Throwback: CJ was an All-American at New Fairfield High School)

2) Last year Business Insider named you as one of the 42 Best Lacrosse Players on Wall Street. Off the field, are you still working at the Permal Group? What do you think of the financial world so far? What do your coworkers think about your double life as a lacrosse all-star?

CJ – “Yes, I am still working at the Permal Group. I really like my job because if I didn’t, I wouldn’t be doing it.  I really enjoy the people I interact with daily; it is a group of folks that don’t make going to work a daunting task. Furthermore more the fact that my job allows me to play lacrosse basically all year round is incredible and all that I can ask for at this time in my life.

I do try to separate my lacrosse life with my work life. Some of my coworkers find it very interesting, especially former athletes, and ask me a lot of questions, while others don’t really follow athletics or haven’t ever heard of lacrosse. The only time I will ever talk about it is if someone asks.”

3) You certainly have a knack for scoring goals and aren’t afraid to rip a time and room when you have the chance. Do you ever wish you played offense full time? Did you start playing lacrosse on offense and eventually switch to defense or have you always been a true defender at heart?

CJ – “Ever since I started lacrosse in 4th grade I have been a defenseman. Not sure if I choose that or that is where my coach put me. However I wouldn’t change a thing. I never had a desire to play offense full time. Growing up I would sometimes play attack in winter leagues, but that was the extent of playing offense full time.

I find that playing LSM gives you the best of both worlds. First and foremost you are a defenseman. You draw your opponent’s best middie and you get to battle. You get to line up on the wing and scrap for a groundball. And lastly you get a lot of opportunities to run the field and create transition that will hopefully lead to a 2nd assist, an assist or goal.”

20100330-6936(Oh yeah…he does face-offs too)

4) Back in January it was announced that you had signed with Maverik Lacrosse. How has your relationship been with them so far? Aside from using Maverik products, can you explain what your responsibilities are as a Maverik athlete?

CJ – “Being a Maverik athlete has been great. There are a lot of great guys working for the company, including two of my teammates Drew Adams and Brian Karalunas. Turns out even Billy Benz Bitter is a great guy, got to play against him a lot when he was at UNC and I was at Duke, but never got to actually hang out with him until I signed with Maverik. Awesome kid!

Being a sponsored athlete for Maverik, my biggest responsibility for the company is doing appearances. I have done a couple at lacrosse stores in the northeast. They are a lot of fun. You hang out in a lacrosse store for a couple of hours and get to talk with lacrosse fans.”

5) You were sold on StringKing mesh after playing with it in basically a monsoon. Can you take us through how your StringKing pocket performed in the rain compared to what happens with other mesh? Where do you rank your pocket in terms of importance compared to all your other lacrosse equipment?

CJ – “I was truly impressed with the mesh! I have used everything from dura mesh, hard mesh, soft mesh, wax mesh, and rubber mesh. I play with my pocket on the boarder of legal and illegal. Anytime you play in the rain you know that you are going to have to adjust your pocket because the rain will cause it to bag out.  However with StringKing mesh that was not the case.

To me the game of lacrosse comes down to catching and throwing, which is why for me I would say your pocket is the most important piece of lacrosse equipment. The only thing that you can truly customize and call your own is your pocket. It is the piece of equipment that allows you to throw and hold ball.”

6) Take us back to 2010 against Notre Dame, National Championship, overtime, the face-off, the goal, the celebration. Legend says it only took 5 seconds to score that goal from beginning to end. Can you talk about that experience a little bit?

CJ – “It truly is a dream come true. College lacrosse is currently the pinnacle of the sport. To be able to have such a moment in front a crowd of 35,000 people in NFL stadium and see guys that you have experience the highs and lows of season with hoist the NCAA National Championship trophy is surreal.

Prior to the face-off my biggest thing was DON’T VIOLATE. We had a lot of great offensive players in 2010 and my goal going was to get us the ball and let those guys go work.

As I got set for the face-off I was relatively calm, I was just waiting for the whistle to blow. As soon as I heard the whistle I did my move (jam). I punched hard with my right hand through his stick. I timed the whistle up really well and got a great jump on him. I got my stick over the ball and raked it out.

Scoped up the groundball and just began to run. Now I had a fast break, 4 on 3. As I am running down I was waiting for someone to slide me. I’m trying to see who I can dish the ball to whether it be Ned, Zach, or Max. The beauty of playing in that stadium is that the field has football lines on it. Usually a defense will pick up at around 12 yds or so. However in this instance they didn’t, they locked off Ned, Zach and Max, which was justified. As soon as I hit the purple line (10yds from the cage) I knew I was shooting the ball. I kept my stick high and in front of me so someone trailing me couldn’t get a check on me. I shot for white and I saw Scotty go low. As I was falling all I could see was the net move and I heard Max scream “O my god!” (voice cracked as he said it). I got up and grabbed him and gave him a big hug and the next thing I know I am at the bottom of a pile. At the bottom of the pile you can’t move or breathe, but at that point it didn’t matter, I was too excited.”

costabile-duke-champs(2010 NCAA National Champs)

7) How would you compare your experience with the Lizards in MLL to your experience with the Wings in the NLL? Did you play any indoor lacrosse growing up or was the box style of play completely new to you?

CJ - “The two experiences have been great. Playing outdoors is something I have done my whole life, playing lacrosse field the size of a football field. I am very familiar with the rules and style of play. However indoor is the complete opposite. I never played indoor lacrosse the way it is suppose to be played before. Originally going into it I thought lacrosse is lacrosse whether you play on large field or in a hockey rink. However I learned that the two are very different, and that is why I like it so much. I find the indoor game to be a new fun and exciting challenge.”

costabile-lizards-blog(Playing for the 2013 New York Lizards)

8) I recently read an article about your favorite music and realized you have quite eclectic taste (Katy Perry, Tiesto, 50 Cent, Train). Is Call Me Maybe still your number 1 fire jam or has Katy Perry taken that spot? Also Miley Cyrus…what are your thoughts there?

CJ - “I will listen to any thing. I listen to music all day when I am at work or just sitting around. However my favorite genre is EDM. It always puts me in a happy upbeat move, it really goes with how I operate.

Unfortunately Call Me Maybe is still not my number 1 fire jam. I have tendency of abusing songs, I will listen to a new song I like over and over again until I find a new one. Don’t get me wrong I will still listen to it when it comes on but I don’t think to put it on anymore.

Miley Cyrus, love the girl. I really like her older stuff, my favorite song of her’s by far is See You Again. I do listen to her newer stuff though as well.  Wrecking Ball repeat for a solid week (maybe 2). However I will always have soft spot for Katy.”


Lastly, word association! Let’s see what CJ thinks with some quick ones…

1)    Duke – “Forever”

2)    Legend – “Gretzky”

3)    Terminator – “I’ll be back (Arnold Voice)”

4)    Connecticut – “haha no respect”

5)    Twitter – “Information”

6)    Weekend – “Lax”

7)    City – “The Dream”

8)    Party – “Freedom”