How about being the fourth selection in the 2023 Athletes Unlimited Draft, making her part of a strong and large group of rookies?
“I was extremely honored,” she said. “Hearing the announcement and the things high-caliber players had to say and the fact that they picked me, I was extremely honored and flattered.”
Bosco, a defender, quickly showed she was worthy of those kind words and the high draft slot as she earned her way into a Week Three captain’s spot because of her high position on the leaderboard.
“It’s been awesome,” she said. “I’ve been really focusing on having fun with all of it. I’ve been so fortunate that after my last college game, my career wasn’t over. That was exciting in and of itself. Never did I imagine in my first season that I would be a captain. It’s just kind of embracing the moment and just really enjoying it and having fun.”
Of course, being a captain is a weighty responsibility for a veteran player, let alone a rookie. As daunting as the task was coming into this past weekend, Bosco had the presence of mind to seek the advice and counsel of the veterans.
“The first time, when I finished close to the top four and being a captain, I was like, ‘Oh, geez, that was close,’” she said. “I wasn’t really thinking about it at all. When they said, ‘You’re a captain the next week,’ I kind of panicked a little.’ I was like, ‘I have never drafted a team before. How do I do this?’
“The older girls were super helpful, specifically Alex Aust Holman. She was one of my coaches at Maryland. She gave me such awesome advice and was really like, ‘This is an honor. You should be excited. You’ve earned this. Go with your gut.’ So that was super helpful. Every time you draft a player, you’re in a breakout room. I really learned and leaned on my facilitator, Crysti Foote as well as the players I drafted.”
Bosco comes to Athletes Unlimited after a stellar college career. She starred for four years at Ivy League Penn before transferring to Big Ten power Maryland. In so many ways, she got the best of both collegiate worlds, both in the classroom and on the lacrosse field as she earned numerous academic and athletic awards.
“Oh, absolutely, I think that’s the best way to put it,” she said. “When COVID happened, I was like, ‘Wow, nothing good will ever come of this.’ Being able to have a totally different and unique experience at Maryland was a silver lining to it all. It truly was two amazing experiences but two completely different experiences.
“I think there’s a ton of rules and regulations with the Ivy (League) in limiting how much you can play in the off-season. The Ivy League is fantastic, but the Big Ten is known for its competition. Being able to play lacrosse, not only for the University of Maryland, the most storied program, but also to be able to play in the Big Ten was just one of the coolest experiences.”
Bosco’s path somewhat mirrors that of AU lacrosse player Marge Donovan, who played at Princeton of the Ivy League before also moving to Maryland. The two shared a season at Maryland and have been able to talk about their similar experiences.
“When she first got to Maryland, we definitely talked about our times at Penn and Princeton and kind of compared notes and found a lot of similarities,” Bosco said. “And we obviously had that shared unique experience of then being able to go and play in the Big Ten. It was definitely cool to have someone who came literally from the same, exact experience that I kind of went through with the Ivies.”
ALWAYS WITH HER
If Abby Bosco needs to draw any extra inspiration in life or on the field, she can look skyward or at her wristbands at the initials of her father. Abby was only two years old on Sept. 11, 2001, when her dad, Rich Bosco, lost his life in the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City.
“He’s been kind of that rock for me, throughout college, too,” she said. “Whenever I’m struggling in a game personally or as a team where we needed a reset, I would always look down at his initials. But I think having the opportunity to play professionally and do what I’m doing, I think about him being able to be in the stands.
“I think it just stems from my family telling me how proud they are, how proud he would have been of me. It’s just … I don’t even know how to describe the feeling. But knowing how much he would have loved seeing what I’m doing today. He was such a sports guy. This would be everything to him. He would be a super fan. My family’s been to at least two games a week. It’s been awesome having them in the stands. I feel like when they’re there, he’s there, carrying on his name with me.”
Even though she may have only faint memories of her dad, Bosco talks with pride in how he influenced and continues to influence her life.
“It’s a big piece of my life, and it’s shaped me in who I am in a ton of ways,” she said. “So I think it’s so important to be able to talk about it and how it’s shaped me with being resilient and going through something like that and being appreciative of the little things.”
MORE TO GIVE
Like most of the athletes across the four sports of Athletes Unlimited, Abby Bosco was attracted by the chance to continue playing the sport she loves as well as to have a voice in the league.
“I would say the fact that I get to share the field with some of the all-time greats of this sport in Sam Apuzzo, Kenzie Kent, Taylor Moreno, the list goes on and on,” she said. “It’s crazy. In college, you think you’re playing at this high level, and you step up to the Athletes Unlimited field. I’ve grown up watching and playing against these players and them being on top of the scouting report. And now, every single game you go into at Athletes Unlimited, there’s no weak link. You’re playing against the best talent in the world and sharing the field with the best talent in the world, which is such a fun, rewarding and humbling and honoring experience. Yeah, I think that’s the coolest part.
“When I did my final two years at Maryland, I still felt like I had more to give. I still loved the game and was still passionate about it. I definitely haven’t felt that burnout at all yet. So it’s the opportunity to continue playing at the highest level with the best talent in the world and also to continue to grow the game.”
Growing the game means growing it on and off the field. It has left Bosco with a feeling of being empowered.
“It’s so cool,” she said. “We have some sessions called, ‘In the Crease,’ run by some of the PEC (Player Executive Committee) board members. Just the other day we were sitting there, and I was like, ‘This is such a cool and unique experience.’ It’s so empowering. I feel I’m around such an amazing group of 56 women. It is so empowering, the fact that AU sees all that and really values all of that. It is, I think, so important to growing lacrosse and women’s lacrosse specifically, for sure.
“I think all those things are what makes Athletes Unlimited so unique and so cool. It’s so cool to not only play lacrosse and do what I love professionally but to be surrounded by people where we can have discussions like that.”
Bosco is a rookie, albeit one who is wise beyond her years. Her goals moving forward are simple.
“I could have never dreamt this or imagined it, honestly,” she said. “I just wanted to play, to continue doing what I love and having fun. So I think my goals going forward are to keep having fun with it and playing inspired. I’ve had the opportunity to meet so many new people who I played against in college. It’s so cool to be able to play with maybe your enemies in college, and now I just love getting to play with them and having fun and meeting new people, with the emphasis on the fun. That’s where it all stems from.”
Bruce Miles has covered sports in the Chicago area for more than 40 years, covering baseball, hockey, football, high school and college sports, and Athletes Unlimited softball. You can follow him on Twitter @BruceMiles2112.
Apuzzo-Moreno rivalry filled with fierce competition on field, mutual respect off it
© Athletes Unlimited, LLC 2023 / Credit: Kait Devir, Josie Rohach
Mairead Durkin brings Gaelic Football roots to Athletes Unlimited Lacrosse
© Athletes Unlimited, LLC 2023 / Credit: Kait Devir
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