The Colorado Mammoth recently acquired former University of Virginia standout Zed Williams in a trade that brought the forward to a Mammoth organization seeking additional production on the offensive end.
Williams, an avid lacrosse enthusiast and even bigger family man, recognizes his family as his inspiration and motivation on the field and at home.
“I play the game for my family – they are my driving force,” Williams shared. “Every time I’m on the floor, it’s about more than just me; it’s about them, and when I leave the turf each day, I ask myself ‘did I work hard enough today?’”
As one of eight siblings growing up on the Cattaraugus Reservation as a member of the Seneca Nation, Williams quickly absorbed his appreciation for family and togetherness and spent his childhood looking up to his father and four older brothers. Jon, JoJo, Zach and “Cornbread” Williams each played the sport growing up and eventually paved Zed’s path in embracing the sport. His younger brother, Sherman, and two older sisters, Samantha and Mary, weren’t shy to pick up the lacrosse stick either.
“Growing up on the reservation, lacrosse was ‘the’ sport – I played a lot of box lacrosse when I was young because it was big in our area and available,” Williams said. “I played a variety of other sports growing up and enjoyed football in high school. I actually didn’t play organized field lacrosse until seventh grade.”
In addition to his time in the National Lacrosse League, Williams has spent recent summers playing field lacrosse and has played alongside current Mammoth teammates Tim Edwards (Boston Cannons) and Dillon Ward (Six Nations Chiefs). Pending league updates and health safety scenarios, Williams is set to participate in the Premier Lacrosse League’s Championship Series with the Whipsnakes Lacrosse Club later this month.
While the outdoor game may be in the forward’s summer plans, his work ethic and humble approach to the game remain concentrated on improving as a player and securing a championship with the Mammoth next season.
“I’m ready to work and compete on the floor alongside my teammates in Colorado,” Williams shared. “I believe in myself and my game and enjoy working toward becoming a great overall player and eliminating any liabilities in my game. I feel comfortable in the offensive zone, but I’m not afraid to get back and play defense to stop a rush.”
Williams continues to reside in Williamsville, NY with his wife, Amanda, and two-year-old daughter, Dani. As a mentor and liaison at his former secondary school, Silver Creek High School, Williams has enjoyed some additional time with his daughter and family members due to the suspension of schooling across the country. With the support and mentorship of several lacrosse professionals and lovers of the game in her family, Zed and Amanda expect Dani to be finding corners of her own soon enough.
In 12 games with the Swarm during the 2019-20 season, Williams posted 30 points (18g, 12a) and four penalty minutes while adding 56 loose balls and one caused turnover.
Drafted fourth overall by the Georgia Swam in the 2017 NLL Entry Draft, the 25-year-old spent three seasons with the Swarm before joining the Mammoth organization on July 6. Despite being featured in a productive offense alongside talented forwards Lyle Thompson, Randy Staats and Shayne Jackson, Williams ranked fourth in goals (18) and sixth in points (30) for the Swarm last season, while his 56 loose balls ranked tied for fifth. The forward recorded at least one point in each of his 12 games during the 2019-20 season and recorded at least one goal in 10 of the 12 contests.
The 6-2, 185-lb. forward has logged 83 points (45 g, 38 a) in 39 career games and added one goal in his lone 2019 playoff appearance with the Swarm. He also represented the Iroquois National team during the 2019 World Indoor Lacrosse Championship.
Williams recently sat down with ColoradoMammoth.com to share a glimpse of his personal life during a behind-the-scenes A to Z session:
A: Apples or Avocados?
“Apples. Any apple – I’m not picky”
B: Best Friend
“My wife, Amanda, but really, my entire family”
C: Colorado – What’re some things you’ve heard about Colorado?
“Having played against the team for a few years now, I know they’re a skilled group”
D: Destination – Your favorite vacation spot or somewhere that you’d like to visit?
“I’ve always dreamed of visiting the Bahamas or somewhere tropical with my family”
E: Education – Name of your university/program and graduation year
“I graduated from the University of Virginia in 2017 with a degree in drama”
F: Father – Name, something you admire about him?
“My father’s name is Daniel – I admire how hard he worked through his life”
G: Gameday Ritual – Anything specific you do on gameday?
“A lot of internal concentration, getting ready in my own zone”
H: Hot dogs or Hamburgers? – (bonus) is a hot dog a taco? cc: Dillon Ward
“Hot dogs – It’s a hot dog, so I don’t think it’s a taco”
I: Iroquois – Favorite memory with the National team?
“The entire experience was awesome – BC was beautiful and it was great to compete with the guys”
J: (Michael) Jordan or (LeBron) James?
“LeBron – I love his overall game and he participates in a lot of off-the-court program and remains dominant on the court”
K: Kiss: Are you making the move on the first date?
“I didn’t kiss my wife on the first date – I was happy to get to know her first”
L: Lacrosse – Why do you love the game?
“I love the game because it’s not just for me – lacrosse gives life more meaning for my family and I and it helps some of our family get through the week knowing they can watch other family members on the weekends”
M: Mother – Name, something you admire about her
My mother’s name is Wendy and I admire how tough she is; physically and mentally emotionally – I try to emulate her”
N: Netflix – Favorite show you’ve watched or something you’re looking to watch soon
“Tiger King was entertaining and pretty crazy”
O: Occupation – What do you do for work outside of lacrosse?
“I’m a mentor and liaison to Native American students at Silver Creek High School”
P: Pets – Do you have any now or did you have any growing up?
“We had Petey the Pitbull for a while growing up – he was a good house dog”
Q: Quote – Favorite quote or saying that you appreciate?
“Cherish yesterday, live today, dream tomorrow”
R: Relaxing – what’s your go-to hobby/routine when you’re looking to relax?
“I enjoy playing with my daughter and going to my mom’s house to relax with the family: walking the woods, riding the four-wheelers”
S: (Favorite) Sport outside of lacrosse?
“Playing would have to be basketball; watching is either football or basketball”
T: Time Travel: Would you go forward or backward?
U: Ultimate meal – Favorite things to have during a family meal
“We love family picnics; my wife makes awesome veggies – asparagus, cauliflower, anything!”
V: Virginia – Favorite memory at college?
“Graduation day – “it was a great reflection of all the efforts put in on the field and in the classroom since freshman year”
W: Williamsville – Favorite place to eat in Williamsville
“The Village Grill”
X: X-Rays – How many X-rays/broken bones have you had?
“I Broke wrist in 9th grade playing football”
Y: Youth – Something you learned growing up that’s stuck with you?
“Play every play your hardest – My father was mad if I ever took a play off and I try to do the same today”
Z: Zed – Who named you?
“My father named me Zedekiah, and we’ve shortened it to Zed“