College Coaches Help USA Men’s Lacrosse Win World Championship

Severna Park’s Joe Amplo, Millersville’s Charley Toomey Orchestrated Stifling Defense


It was a five-year process that was interrupted by the COVID pandemic, but for two Anne Arundel County lacrosse coaches, it was a journey that will never be forgotten.

Loyola University lacrosse head coach Charley Toomey and Navy lacrosse head coach Joe Amplo were named the defensive coaches for the USA men’s world lacrosse team in 2018. They were friends and rival coaches then, but through this experience, they became like brothers.

“We definitely have a kindred connection now,” Toomey said. “Joe’s awesome, and we worked so well together preparing our defensemen and goalies. We held most of our opponents to less than five goals each game.”

Amplo said he and Toomey are best friends.

“We even go to the same barber in Severna Park, and our picture of us with the championship trophy is in that barber shop now,” Amplo said.

Toomey and Amplo were joined by other coaches in Duke’s John Danowski and Hofstra’s Seth Tierney. These four coaches began assembling the team right after the 2018 world championship tournament.

“We started with over 200 players, and through practices and Zoom meetings, we invited 50 players to training camp in Florida,” Toomey said. “We had to select 23 players for the final squad, and any of those 50 players could have been selected because of their outstanding talent.”

During training camp, all four coaches spent time with each player, getting to know them as individuals and not just lacrosse players.

“It’s a great honor to be selected to represent your country and we wanted to select players who were more than an outstanding lacrosse player,” Toomey said.” “The players that were selected were awesome people as well.”

The coaches had the difficult task to mold these 23 lacrosse players into a team and compete for the world championship.

“These players battled each other on the collegiate lacrosse fields and were great competitors,” Amplo said.

Thirty teams from all over the world competed in the tournament. Teams were divided into pools. The United States was in the A pool with Canada, Haudenosaunee, England and Australia. The U.S. squad was victorious in all the preliminary games and beat Canada 10-7 in the championship game, held in San Diego.

“It was a great experience to get to know these talented players,” Toomey said. “I remember getting emotional [while] standing for the national anthem before the championship game and looking at the players’ faces and the pride they had in representing their country.”

Part of that patriotism came from when the team went to tour the U.S. Navy SEALs training facility in Coronado, California. The team was able to speak with the training class, and many of those in the class mentioned that the most important aspect of becoming a team is to trust the person next to them in crucial moments.

“That was such a great day,” Amplo said, noting that the class members in attendance were the loudest fans in the stadium. “The players came away with so much national pride and respect for what they do for the country.”

Toomey, who was head coach for Severn School from 1996 to 1998, echoed those thoughts and emphasized “how lucky we are to have warriors like the SEALs protecting our country so we can do what we love to do.”


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here