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SRV lacrosse star lands dream Johns Hopkins commitment

San Ramon Valley lacrosse star Charlie Iler committed to Johns Hopkins. Photo courtesy of SRV Lacrosse
San Ramon Valley lacrosse star Charlie Iler committed to Johns Hopkins. Photo courtesy of SRV Lacrosse

On Sept. 1, the first day college coaches could contact rising junior recruits, San Ramon Valley boys lacrosse midfielder Charlie Iler picked up the phone and did not know exactly what was about to transpire.

On the other end of the phone was John Grant Jr., who was hired as an assistant men’s lacrosse coach and offensive coordinator at Johns Hopkins in May. Iler was talking to a historic figure in the sport who is the only player in lacrosse history to win MLL and NLL MVP honors in the same season, along with six MLL championships, one NLL title and five Mann Cup titles.

He was stunned and could not believe what was happening in a moment that set the stage for Iler to commit to play collegiate lacrosse at Johns Hopkins.

“He’s just a legend in the lacrosse world and one of the greatest to ever play, and he’s super fun to watch,” Iler said. “And I’m guessing it’s going to translate over to his coaching style. And the coaching staff is just really superb, and Pete Nuleman coming from Cornell to coach at Hopkins just says how good and historically good the program is, and I went out to see campus and I loved it. It was just what I was looking for. I loved it.”

For nine years, Iler has immersed himself in lacrosse, and there’s always been one constant person on the sidelines coaching him: Patrick Watson.

Watson, the head coach at San Ramon Valley, has been Iler’s coach for his entire career, dating back to when Iler was playing as a child to now being a varsity player for the Wolves. And Iler credits a lot of his success to Watson. 

“You can’t really put a measure on it,” Iler said. “He’s basically taught me everything about the game that I know right now. A lot of this goes to him.”

During these nine years, Iler was never the biggest athlete on the field, but he made up for it in all other facets of his game.

He’s quick. He can see multiple steps ahead in the action. And he knows how to be patient all at the same time.

“Charlie has the thing that all great players have is he sees the game differently,” Watson said. “The person in front of him usually isn’t the challenge. He’s looking past that. POne thing I’ve always talked about for years and talked about with Charlie at length is we want to play fast and think slow. He does that to the Nth degree. Just his vision on the field and what he sees that’s going to open up two steps ahead of it, it’s very impressive.”

At SRV, Iler has certainly produced and lived up to his billing as a Johns Hopkins commit.

With Iler starring every step of the way, the Wolves have combined for a 23-3 record in his first two seasons of high school.

“He’s extremely competitive,” Watson said. “And I think when he steps on the field he wants to be the best player on the field and help his teammates become better, so I think that’s while he’s not reckoning it or he’s not saying it right now, that’s definitely a motivational factor for him that he’s going to go out there and show everybody how good he can be and how good he can make his teammates.”

But the one thing Iler doesn’t have is something his older brother, Jack, boasts: an NCS championship ring, which he won in 2018.

Iler and the Wolves have come close in his high school career, and he knows the feeling all too well. They were the No. 1 seed in the North Coast Section Division I bracket his freshman year but fell to No. 8 seed De La Salle – who ultimately went on to win the championship – in the quarterfinals.

This past season, there were no playoffs due to the remainder of the season being canceled amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It would mean a lot,” Iler said. “My brother won one, so he sort of rubbed that in my face that he has a ring and I don’t, so that would help me out. When he gets home from college and stuff. It would just be a good experience to win one.”

What Iler has shown the younger players in the program is what it takes to get to the next level. His work ethic has always been there, going above and beyond what was asked for him.

He, and numerous other SRV players who have gone on to play collegiately, have paved the way, and Iler’s work ethic and drive has lifted him to commit to a Johns Hopkins program that is filled with prestige and has made six straight NCAA Tournament appearances, won nine national titles and made 29 Final Four trips at the NCAA level.

“A huge impact,” Watson said. “Charlie was a freshman on varsity and got a good amount of playing time with a crew that the guys that were in front of him or that he played with were, one was going Division I and the other one is playing college football and lacrosse, so he had some athletes in front of him. But he quickly adapted and he showed how he liked to play the game fast, and with that the high school, the transition to high school for him was pretty easy, or at least he made it look easy.

“So he got out there and he really pushed the older guys to keep up with him and did a great job doing that. The impact for the program, when your best players are the guys that are working their tails off it motivates everyone to get better, and whether it’s intentional or intentional, them just trying to work their tails off. They do it, the younger guys or the guys that might not be quite as talented are going to work just as hard or harder to make sure they’re keeping up with those guys.”

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