Hadley Mongell, CityLax Volunteer Coach
Whether she’s coaching the winter clinics in the Bronx or meeting with the Junior Advisory Board to plan the Spring Gala, Hadley Mongell is a force for CityLax. Originally from Locust Valley, NY, she grew up in a lacrosse family and came to CityLax wanting to share her love of the sport with girls who might not have ever had the opportunity to play without the funding and community support of CityLax. Having played every position on the field, she knows the game better than most and is well-equipped to coach the girls at her clinics, whether she’s working with newcomers or more seasoned players.
What makes Hadley such an outstanding volunteer, however, is her unwavering and infectious love for the sport and her players. Her favorite CityLax memory is telling a new player at one of her clinics that yes, she could get a scholarship for playing goalie. “To see the relief and excitement on her face when she found out that this was an opportunity for her to get farther in life than maybe was possible before was one of the moments that I’ll always cherish.” She can’t wait to see lacrosse continue to grow in New York City and we can’t wait to see how she’ll continue to add to that growth.
John Minieri, CityLax Volunteer Coach
After four years of playing lacrosse at Canisius College, John Minieri decided he wasn’t quite ready to give up the sport and found his way to CityLax. Between running winter clinics in Brooklyn and serving on the Junior Advisory Board, he contributes to many different facets of CityLax’s programming. During his clinic volunteer shifts, he sees players with a deep hunger for knowledge of the game, and that’s what drives him to work harder to grow this sport to reach more and more of NYC’s student-athletes.
The most rewarding part of coaching, he believes, is seeing the progression of kids who go from walking into his clinics having never picked up a stick to becoming “legitimate players,” who in turn become leaders during the next season. Even more importantly, he enjoys seeing his players grow over the years and being able to act as a role model for them, both on and off the field. John says, “One of the really powerful things that I’ve experienced is that the conversations went from being just about lacrosse to now including what they’re going to do after high school. I think that those conversations are more important than lacrosse itself. As volunteers, we get to help grow these student-athletes from being teenagers into adults.”
Loren Cantor is a junior goalie at Bard High School Early College in Manhattan. A tenacious athlete who is always curious to learn something new, Loren first discovered the sport from a poster promoting boys lacrosse. “I was in sixth grade at the time and didn’t know what it was, but I knew that I wanted to be a part of it,” Loren recalls. “I went home and researched the sport and found the Queen’s Club team. I remember expecting to play with the full pads and helmet, like the boys, and being surprised how different girls lacrosse is.”
Loren started as a field player, but after injuring her knee while running track, she decided she had to take a break from the sport. She missed lacrosse too much, though, and decided to join the CityLax team as a goalie, thinking that the position would put less stress on her knee. “I actually love playing goalie now,” Loren says. “Being in control of the field is super satisfying, and it’s so rewarding when I’m able to save a hard shot and get the ball back.”
As Loren’s high school does not have a team, CityLax is particularly important to her. “CityLax has given me an opportunity to keep playing lacrosse, but also to see people that I don’t always see every day—another community and family that I get to spend time with. It’s a nice and rewarding distraction from other challenges.”
Off the field, Loren devotes her time to music—an aspiring musician, she plays the guitar, drums, bass, ukelele, harmonica, and the banjo and is currently working on producing her own material. Academically, she loves biology and math and she plans on attending college to become either a veterinarian or a dentist. Until then, she’s excited to keep playing with her CityLax teammates and to continue growing as a goalie.
“Because of CityLax, I’ve become more outgoing and opened up more than I ever thought I could. Now, I want to pursue lacrosse in college and beyond.”
Michelle Neira is a Senior Attack player from Archbishop Molloy High School in Queens. Michelle first joined the CityLax Fall Showcase team because she thought it would be the perfect way to practice and learn lacrosse from girls who were not on her team. “My favorite thing about CityLax,” she says,” is that I have a ton of friends from different schools and different backgrounds. On my school team, I’m a little more shy and reserved, but at CityLax, I’m a lot more outgoing. It’s definitely let me be out of my comfort zone.”
An AP student, Michelle’s favorite class is AP Computer Science because it’s something completely new and different from her other classes. She plans on attending SUNY Albany next year and hopes to study Cyber Security or a similar program in the Computer Science field because, she says, “I love learning how to code! It’s really interesting, and I think cyber security is so prevalent nowadays and would help a lot of people.”
Off the field, Michelle enjoys running outside in NYC with her dad and going to concerts with her friends (a huge Beyonce fan, she claims the best moment of her life was a concert in 2015). On the field, her best moments have been with her team on tournament or game days, because she loves the positive energy and how pumped up everyone gets.
Her best advice to fellow lacrosse student-athletes is advice that she’s received from her CityLax coaches: “Just keep being persistent. Whether it’s running or trying to learn a new skill or anything in life, if you put in the work and keep trying, it’ll work out.”
Moner Mosa: #17
“Because of CityLax, I found opportunities to surround myself with positive people who I still look up to as mentors today.”
Do you recognize our newest Fall Boys Showcase Team coach Moner Mosa? That’s because Moner, now a graduate of Hofstra University’s business school and an Advanced Analytics Recruiter at Elliott Browne International, was once a CityLax athlete himself.
Originally from the Bronx, Moner attended Christopher Columbus High School. He had never played lacrosse before, but his friend was on the high school team and tried incessantly to get him to join, too. Moner had badly broken his leg the year before, though, and so was hesitant to try such a physical contact sport. But, by the beginning of his junior year, he finally gave in and signed up for the CityLax Fall Team—and after the first practice, he was hooked.
Moner recalls, “I dedicated all my free time to playing lacrosse. I went to clinics every Saturday, I played on the travel team, the CityLax fall team—every opportunity I could get.” Lacrosse became Moner’s motivation to simply go to school. “I fell in love with playing and the only way that I was going to do that was if I actually went to school and made myself study. What’s more, my coaches became people who inspired me to go after my career path and are who I still really look up to as mentors today.” Because of CityLax, Moner says he found opportunities to surround himself with positive people and still hangs out with his old coaches and mentors on the weekends.
As part of the CityLax Fall Showcase Team, Moner played in a tournament at James Jordan Stadium at Hofstra University. He was 17 years old at the time and was thrilled just to score his first goal against such fierce competition. Never did he imagine that he would one day return to that field as a student of Hofstra, class of ‘17, and lead the team to 3 straight conference championships—all while repping his lucky number, 17, of course.
Now, Moner is thrilled to be coaching the very team that he started out playing on. He also coaches with DOCS and mentors his cousin, who is a CityLax student athlete at Columbus. As Moner says, “I’ve always been really dedicated to staying connected with CityLax, because 100% if I didn’t play lacrosse, I wouldn’t be where I am today.” He hopes that as more CityLax students continue to become alumni, they follow his footsteps and come back to coach, as well. “It’s about more than just lacrosse, obviously—it’s about the preparation for kids like me, who probably didn’t have the right guidance, but City Lax gives us opportunities and allows us to develop in ways we wouldn’t otherwise.”
The Fall Showcase Team, in particular, is important to Moner because he remembers what it was like to be a new player, still trying to develop his skills. “I wasn’t one of the best players, but I definitely had passion and I was always there to give a helping hand. I like to be able to give back, especially when I recognize kids at practice who are just like I was when I was in their shoes, and to remind them to stay optimistic, even when times are rough. I would never have expected to be in the shoes that I am today, and you never know where you’re going to go.” And sometimes, that destination might be closer to home than you’d expect.