Tyler Dunn, a current Premier Lacrosse League Player and USA U19 gold medal winner, helped the Long Island Express win a youth national championship in 2012. The club will send three teams to the 2021 US Lacrosse Youth Nationals.

Since its formation, the Long Island Express club program has literally won hundreds of tournament championships while helping to develop some of the top players in the sport. The club will look to add the next chapter of that legacy when it enters teams in all three age classifications (13U, 14U and 15U) for the boys’ portion of the 2021 US Lacrosse Youth Nationals next summer.

The LI Express is no stranger to the event, having participated multiple times in the past. Tyler Dunn, a U.S. U19 gold-medal winner in 2016 who went on to star at Penn and now plays in the Premier Lacrosse League, led the Express to the US Lacrosse U15 national title in 2012.

“We’re most successful when we play guys our own age and we rarely get to do that,” said Mike Chanenchuk, the Managing Director of all of the Express programs. “That’s the appeal to us, to play an aged-based tournament.”

Next summer’s event will be played at DE Turf in Frederica, Del., from July 13-15, featuring some of the top boys’ and girls’ clubs in the country playing at a world-class venue. The championship games for the boys’ and girls’ 14U and 15U age classifications will be carried live on Lax Sports Network. As a US Lacrosse sanctioned event, all participants will be age-verified and will play on teams grouped by ages.

“Both of my sons played soccer and [the tournaments] were all age-based,” Chanenchuk said. “Before the game the ref checked every single card and it didn’t take that long. We don’t have those checks and balances in lacrosse. We need more tournaments to come out this way. We’re better off for it. It’s safer, it’s more fair, it’s a level playing field.”

Despite often playing against older competition, the Long Island Express has developed into a premier club by following some simple philosophies.

“Teach them how to move the ball and teach them how to get ground balls,” Chanenchuk said. “One more pass, that’s our mantra. If you make a mistake, you slide too fast, we’re going to find that guy. You teach them how to think ‘If I get the ball, who is going to be open’ – not after they get the ball. That’s how we practice.”

Chanenchuk has been around the sport for decades and achieved tremendous levels of success. He was an All-American player at Navy and continues to coach at St. Anthony’s High School in addition to his role with the Express. His sons, Matt and Mike, were both All-Americans at the collegiate level. Matt now coaches with the Express and Adelphi and Mike, a two-time Premier Lacrosse League champion with Whipsnakes LC, is an assistant coach at Stony Brook.

With his sons now long past their youth days, Chanenchuk continues to stay involved for a simple reason because of his passion to see the next generation develop.

“One player on my 2026 team, prior to COVID was pretty good,” Chanenchuk said. “After COVID he scored eight goals in a single game. He just worked hard. He’s an example of someone that did extra training. This sport is not like other sports to me. If you practice, do wall ball, your success can really rise quickly. My whole motivation is seeing kids get better and go on to great colleges.”

Chanenchuk coached the 2022 Express team since its inception, which has now had and will continue to have major success with players committing at the collegiate level.

“We have 12 guys committed to the best schools in country,” Chanenchuck said. “Eight are going to Ivy League schools, another to Duke and another to Virginia. This sport opens up doors that other sports don’t open.”

Chanenchuck strongly believes that these opportunities can positively impact players’ lives.

He also works with some of the younger teams that will be participating at the US Lacrosse Youth Nationals and is looking forward to the experience.

For more information about the US Lacrosse Youth Nationals, please visit https://www.uslacrosse.org/events/nationals