The Canadian Lacrosse Association (CLA) is proud to formally announce the coaching and support staff that will travel with Team Canada to Coquitlam, BC next week for the 2016 FIL U19 Men’s World Championship.
A group of experienced lacrosse minds, many of whom have represented Canada on the international stage as athletes and coaches in the past, will join head coach Taylor Wray (Edmonton, AB; Saint Josephs University) in the hunt for a gold medal. They will work together to guide our Canadian athletes to success and try to oust the powerhouse Team USA, winners of seven straight U19 Men’s World Championships dating back to 1988, from the top of the podium.
The coaching staff will be made up of the following individuals:
Taylor Wray – Head Coach (Edmonton, AB)
Wray has enjoyed a long and successful lacrosse career, both as a player and a coach. After a strong collegiate career at Duke University, he began playing for the NLL’s Calgary Roughnecks in 2004. On the international stage, Wray won multiple medals with Team Canada, including a silver with the 1999 U-19 men’s field team and a gold with the 2006 men’s field and 2007 men’s indoor teams. He began his coaching career in 2003 when he joined the coaching staff at Queens University of Charlotte (N.C.) as assistant coach. He then spent four seasons as assistant coach for Lehigh University (2008-11), before taking on his current role as head coach for Saint Joseph’s University (Philadelphia, PA) in 2011. In recent years, Wray has continued to represent Team Canada internationally. He was the defensive coordinator at the 2010 and 2014 FIL Men’s World Championships and also served as head coach for the 2012 U19 men’s field team.
Matt Brown – Associate Head Coach (Burnaby, BC)
Brown currently serves as the Associate Head Coach with the University of Denver Pioneers (Denver, Colorado), a team that captured the 2015 NCAA Division I Championship. He has gained tremendous experience coaching on the international stage with Team Canada, including stints as Offensive Coordinator during the 2012 U19 Men’s World Championship and 2014 Men’s World Championship. He was also the Assistant Coach for Team Canada during the 2012 Duel in Denver. Prior to his coaching career, Brown was an offensively gifted player with the University of Denver Pioneers, and still holds a place atop many offensive categories in the school’s record books.
Merrick Thomson – Offensive Coordinator (Stoney Creek, ON)
Thomas is currently the Offensive Coordinator with the University at Albany Great Danes (Albany, New York), who are near the top on quite a few NCAA Division I ranking lists. As a player for Albany, Thomson was one of the best pure goal scorers of his time. His 188 career tallies puts him 7th on the NCAA Division I all-time goal scoring list, behind fellow Canadian greats Mike French, Gary Gait, Stan Cockerton, and Zack Greer. “It’s going to be a great event to be a part of this summer, especially playing on home soil” said Thomson. He gained experience representing his country as a player (2007 WILC, 2010 Men’s World Championship) and was excited for the chance to do so again as a coach, adding “Anytime you get to be a part of a World Championship and work with the best athletes and coaches in the world it is a true privilege.”
Jason Levesque – Defensive Coordinator (St. Catharines, ON)
An Assistant Coach for Team Canada at the 2014 Men’s World Championship, Jason Levesque has had a taste of success, helping guide those men to a gold medal. The newly announced Head Varsity Lacrosse Coach at IMG Academy (Bradenton, Florida) brings over 10 years of NCAA coaching experience to the team. Prior to being hired at IMG, he served as Head Coach at Adams State University (Alamosa, Colorado) and Alma College (Alma, MI), Defensive and Recruiting Coordinator at Canisius College (Buffalo, NY), and Assistant Coach at Lees–McRae College (Banner Elk, NC). As a player, the St. Catharines, ON native was a midfielder for Canisius College, where he was coached by long-time Team Canada coach and player Randy Mearns.
Geoff Snider – Face-Off Coach (Calgary, AB)
Snider returns to the Team Canada program in the same role that he held during the 2012 U19 Men’s World Championship in Turku, Finland. He joined the coaching ranks after a distinguished playing career at both the professional and international level. He was a first-round draft pick and perennial all-star in both the National Lacrosse League (NLL) and Major League Lacrosse (MLL). He was also privileged enough to lead his country on multiple occasions, competing at the Men’s World Championship in 2006, 2010, and 2012. “It is a huge honour to be a part of the national team program, whether you are a player or a coach,” stated Snider. “Being able to be on a Canadian sideline and wear the maple leaf on your jersey is truly the biggest honour in sport.” A leader on and off the field, he currently works as the President and Head Coach at ELEV8 Lacrosse Inc, one of Canada’s leading lacrosse development programs, located in Calgary, AB.
Angus Dineley, Goalie Coach (Toronto, ON)
Leading the goaltender’s will be Angus Dineley, who is familiar with the position, having previously acted as Goalie Coach during the 2012 U19 Men’s World Championship. Currently an Assistant Coach with St. Michaels High School in Toronto, ON, Dineley is looking forward to once again contributing to the national team program. “My role will be focused on the goaltenders, helping them in their preparation and in the mental aspects of the position, he commented. My hope is that we can continue to build on our Canadian lacrosse program’s recent success.” A goalie during his playing days, Dineley suited up for the men’s national team at the 2010 and 2014 Men’s World Championships, as well as the 2012 Duel in Denver. Prior to representing his country, he was twice named to the MAAC All-Academic Team while playing for Canisius College.
Head Coach Taylor Wray had nothing but positive things to say about his colleagues, stating “I’m proud to be a part of this knowledgeable and extremely professional staff. From a coaching and scouting standpoint, we have a tremendous amount of international experience, but more importantly, we have a group of coaches that are player-centered and excited to help our young men achieve all of which they are capable of.”
An experienced group of support staff members will also make the trip to Coquitlam to assist our national team athletes on their journey. These individuals include:
- Terry Lloyd, Team Coordinator (ON)
- Paul Wade, Equipment Manager (ON)
- Stu Brown, Head Scout (ON)
- Daren Fridge, Scout (BC)
- Stephen Lobsinger, Therapist (ON)
- Kathryn O’Brien, Nutritionist (ON)
- Dr. Steve MacGregor, Physician (ON)
“On the support staff side of things, I believe we have the best of the best in each of their roles,” expressed Wray. “I’ve been fortunate to have worked with many of them while playing and coaching over the last decade, and am confident that our players will have everything they need to be successful.”
Dave Huntley, CLA Director of Men’s Field Program, echoed Wray’s positivity towards the staff by saying “We are very fortunate to have such a committed group of professionals to lead and mentor our young men. If I was asked to describe this group in a single word, that word would be caring.”