PUERTO RICO LACROSSE

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Coaches

 Women's National Team

Head Coach, Natalie Marie Bermudez

Natalie joins our mission to further advance lacrosse on the Island. With an overflow of women's lacrosse knowledge from the basics to advanced skills and strategy. She has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Exercise Science. Her experience ranges from being a former collegiate player for Georgian Court University (1st to score 100 goals for the program, second team all region, and two time MVP), running youth clinics, being an active youth and girl's lacrosse official, and coaching at the collegiate level for Felician University. She has a passion to teach the sport, encourage educational opportunity, and improve personal and player development in a positive environment. She resides in Weehawken, New Jersey and is an active real estate professional for The Amy Burakovsky Team, Keller Williams in Short Hills, NJ. 

Assistant Coach, Sophia Lugo

Currently entering her 6th season as an assistant varsity Girls Lacrosse coach at Evanston Township High School, a northern Chicago suburb. Prior to ETHS, Lugo coached at Lane Tech High School and other local elite level travel programs , while also focusing on youth development and growth in the Chicagoland area.

 

A 4 year starter and 3 year Captain for the Indiana University Women's Lacrosse Club, Lugo played Defense and Midfield. Also while serving as the Club's Treasurer, Secretary, and President. She graduated from Indiana University in 2011 with a B.S. in Sport Marketing & Management.  

 

Lugo currently resides in Chicago, Illinois and works in Customer Service and Sales. 

 
 

 Men's National Team 

U19 Head Coach, Shawn Mowry

Shawn Mowry joins our program as the U19 National Team Head Coach, to help spread the game throughout the Puerto Rican community. A native of Camillus, New York, Shawn played lacrosse at West Genesee High School, under the legendary Mike Messere. Shawn then went on to play collegiately at St. Joseph's University while earning a bachelor's degree in marketing. After college, he broke into the coaching scene as an assistant coach for Abington High School in Abington, PA. Since then, Shawn has held coaching roles with NXT Lacrosse Club in Philadelphia, Team Turnpike in Princeton and Mount Laurel Lacrosse in Mount Laurel, NJ. Shawn's passion is developing young lacrosse players to their maximum potential, on and off the field. Shawn currently works for Progressive Insurance and resides in Williamstown, NJ with his wife, Katie, and son, Brooks.

 

U19 Asst. Head Coach, Matt Cassalia

Matt Cassalia grew up in Camillus, New York where he played high school lacrosse under the legendary coach Mike Messere at West Genesee High School. As a member of the Wildcats, he was a two-time All-American midfielder in 2002 and 2003 and won two state championships. Matt’s success led him to be a top 10 recruit in 2003 Inside Lacrosse rankings. He chose to attend Loyola University in Maryland and as a freshman, was a second line midfielder who also took face-offs. Matt holds the third-highest all-time faceoff percentage (61%) in a single season. After his freshman season, Matt transferred to Division II powerhouse Le Moyne College in Syracuse, NY. In his first season in 2006, Matt was named an All-American as well as the National Midfielder of the Year in Division II, and the Le Moyne Dolphins went on to win the National championship. In the following 2007 season, he captained the team to its second consecutive National Championship while also earning All-American honors.

After graduating from Le Moyne College, Matt went on to play professionally for the San Francisco Dragons and Rochester Rattlers of Major League Lacrosse. Matt also decided to follow his passion and took on the position of assistant coach at Onondaga Central High School in 2009, where he helped the team reach their second-ever sectional playoff. He went on to coach at his alma mater Le Moyne College as a graduate assistant and assistant coach for eight seasons. In his time coaching at Le Moyne, Matt was a part of the 2013 and 2016 National Championship teams.

Senior Team Head Coach, John Raba

John Raba is entering his 24th season at the helm of the Wesleyan men’s lacrosse program in 2020. The NESCAC’s all-time winningest coach, Raba, boasts an incredible 278-117 record, marking a .704 winning percentage while playing in arguably the most competitive conference in the country. Raba, has guided Wesleyan to a National Championship (2018), four NCAA Final Four appearances (2006, ’07, ’17, ’18), and two NESCAC titles (2009, ’17).

Raba is a Long Island native and attended lacrosse powerhouse Farmingdale High School, graduating in 1989. He is of Puerto Rican descent and the proud son of Deanna Padin, who is from Las Maria’s, Puerto Rico. John’s grandparents Anna Diaz and Benito Padin were born in Bayamon, Puerto Rico. 

 

A 1993 graduate of the University of New Haven, Raba was an All-American lacrosse player for the Chargers as a grad student in 1994 after leading Division II in scoring as a senior in 1993. Also outstanding on the gridiron, Raba was a team captain, a two-time All-New England pick as a running back, and earned team MVP honors as well. He was honored twice by UNH as its Male Athlete of the Year in both 1991-92 and 1992-93.   In 2019 he was inducted into the US Connecticut Lacrosse Hall of Fame.  He is married to his wife, Jen, who teaches in the West Haven School system, and they have two sons, Jack (20) and Jason (16).

Senior Team Asst. Coach, Rick McCarthy

Rick McCarthy has been coaching lacrosse for the past 50 years and has been successful at the secondary, collegiate, and club levels. He has served in many professional lacrosse organizations, including serving as President of the New England Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association, serving on the Intercollegiate All American Committee and the North-South Intercollegiate All-Star Selection Committee.  

Rick has served as an assistant to Head Coach John Raba at Wesleyan during the 2003, 2006-2014, and 2016-2020 seasons. In addition, John and Rick Founded the Connecticut Cardinals Lacrosse Club which, at one point, was the largest club lacrosse organization in New England sponsoring 23 Boys and Girls teams. The highlight of Rick’s career was serving on the sidelines as Wesleyan University won the NCAA Division 3 National Championship in Foxboro, Massachusetts, in 2018.

 

Rick is a graduate from Yale University, where he competed in both Lacrosse and Hockey. When not in Connecticut, Rick resides in Florida with his wife of 30 years, Mary Ellen. He has three children and five grandchildren, ranging between 5 and 19 and continues to be involved with local education and academic support of needy children.

Senior Team Asst. Coach, Andy Whitley

Andrew Whitley joined Bellarmine University as Head Lacrosse Coach in July of 2019 after serving on the coaching staff of the Fairfield University lacrosse team for ten seasons. Beginning as a volunteer assistant for the Stags in 2009, he was promoted to a full-time role in 2013 and was elevated to associate head coach in 2015. Whitley worked in virtually every phase of the program, providing individual instruction on offense, defense, and specialty areas while also coordinating Fairfield's recruiting and day-to-day operations. 

Whitley's other coaching experience includes a three-year stint at Yale, along with serving the Hopkins School in New Haven, Connecticut, and Wesleyan University. He also serves as an assistant coach for the Puerto Rico Lacrosse National Team. As a college player, Whitley competed at Alfred University before transferring to Franklin & Marshall, where he was a two-time All-Centennial Conference goalie and won the prestigious Diplomat Award for character and leadership. 

 

Prior to coaching on a full-time basis, Whitley pursued a successful business career serving Athletes, Inc., as vice president for U.S. operations before becoming chief executive officer of Ankeny Homes, LLC in Wilton, Connecticut.

Senior Team Asst. Coach, Connor Wilson

Connor Wilson grew up in Weston, Massachusetts and played on the town's first youth lacrosse team. He helped start the town's public high school team as a student under the guidance of Coach John Lewis. The team made the state playoffs our first two years as a program, playing in the best league in the state. Wilson went on to play 4 years of lacrosse and a year of football at Wesleyan University in Connecticut under Coach John Raba.

Finishing his playing career in 2003, Wilson stayed on as an assistant coach at Wesleyan for two years. The team made its first ever NCAA appearance in 2005, making it to the quarterfinals. Wilson moved to New York City in 2006 and began volunteering with CityLax, and coaching for Doc's NYC Lacrosse. In 2012 he co-founded the high school lacrosse team at Eagle Academy, in Brownsville, Brooklyn and in their first year as a varsity program in 2014, the team went 13-0, winning the PSAL Bowl Division Championship. Over the years, Wilson has coached around the US, and in Australia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Thailand. Currently, Wilson is the Head Lacrosse Coach at the City College of New York.

 

Connor is no stranger to Puerto Rico Lacrosse as he has served in various roles over the years. Ranging from on island coaching clinics, to assisting with our Island Development Committee and now to help lead the 2022 Men's Senior Team.

past coaching staff

 World Championships Coaching Staff-

2019 - Women's U19 Team  Natalie Bermudez, Sophia Lugo, Dee Ming, Dee Stephan

2018 - Men's Senior Team  Jeff Ramos, Andy Whitley, Kris Allenyne

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