World Cup player-coach dynamic works for Towson's LaMonicas

The Baltimore Sun

When Towson coach Sonia LaMonica plays for Australia in the women’s lacrosse World Cup this summer, her husband won’t be far away. Michael LaMonica will be an assistant coach.

The LaMonicas, who have been married since 2006, already spend a lot of time together. For the past two years, Michael has been on the Tigers’ coaching staff as an assistant.

“I think there are a lot of people out there who would love to be in a position to do that,” Sonia said, “but I’m sure there’s lots of people like, ‘Oh my God, I could never work with my significant other.’ It works for us. We tend to be on the same page about most things. We have similar philosophies about the game of lacrosse and we’re constantly looking to bounce things off of each other.”

The LaMonicas met at Maryland where Sonia, an All-America midfielder, helped the Terps to two national championships. Michael was an All-Atlantic Coast Conference midfielder who went on to play professionally.

Both have international playing experience. Sonia has already played in two World Cups, including 2005, when Australia won the championship. Michael played for the United States team that won the under-19 world championship in 1999.

The LaMonicas -- including sons Luca, 3, and Bohdi, 7 months -- traveled to Australia over the Christmas holiday when two national team camps were held, including final tryouts for the Australian team to play at the Federation of International Lacrosse Women’s World Cup in Oshawa, Ontario, July 10-20.

Sonia said her husband helped out at the first camp and when the opportunity came to jump on board as an assistant coach, he took it.

“I just think it was a perfect fit for our head coach Max Madonia,” she said. “Mike had been involved in the first camp just as an outsider. [Madonia] knew him from the other World Cups but got to know him more and to understand Mike’s approach to the game and his philosophies. It just felt really right. It was a seamless transition. The team seemed to, from my viewpoint, respond really well. Mike offers a lot, but he’s not overbearing. It’s more about allowing these players the freedom to create and letting them do what they do well. Mike understands that.”

Because the LaMonicas both have “laid-back personalities,” she said, the player-coach dynamic won’t be that much different from the head coach-assistant coach dynamic.

“The player-coach relationship for us personally has been great too,” she said. “We don’t read too much into it. I respect and hear what he has to say, and I learn from Mike every day here at Towson. That’s why I have him on board. It works really well.”

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