With or Without Ireland, Nick Myers and U.S. U19 Players are Grateful

PHOTO BY TONY MORANO

The U.S. U19 last competed at Spring Premiere in San Antonio, Texas this January.


Nick Myers took a moment to help his Ohio State men’s lacrosse team cope with the loss of their 2020 season. Within a few days, the Buckeyes had picked up a major win over Notre Dame and then had their season canceled as a result of the coronavirus epidemic.

It was a whirlwind for Myers and his family, but his attention eventually shifted to another group close to his heart. This version of the U.S. U19 team, which he’s led for the better part of one year, was slated to travel to Ireland for the world championship in July.

As the days passed, Myers and members of the U19 team heard the news that the 2020 Olympics were postponed.

“When I saw the Olympics were postponed, you had to think that this was coming,” Myers said of the status of the U19 championship.

The team group chat was active, with U19 players — many of whom also had college seasons canceled days earlier — talking about the possibility of not being able to represent their country.

“This was such a big deal, and we’d been looking forward to it our whole lives,” said Graham Bundy Jr., who is now at home in St. Louis. “I was thinking there was no way this could be canceled.”

By March 24, World Lacrosse announced that the U19 world championship would not be held in 2020. The potential health risks associated with COVID-19 made it so that the tournament was not viable. While World Lacrosse has hosted virtual town hall meetings about the future of the event, nothing is certain.

As much as Myers and the players on the U19 team understood the decision, it was a chance to play lacrosse competitively again, and it was squandered.

“We came out of [Spring Premiere in January], and we didn’t have the feeling that it was a training camp anymore,” Myers said. “We came out playing some of our best lacrosse, and roles had been defined. There was love, man. We were developing a love not only for each other but the mission we had together. Now, they lose the opportunity they’ve dreamed about to compete for a world championship and play for the red, white and blue."







Myers, one of the best motivators in the sport, was quick to act. He texted members of the U19 team, letting them know that regardless of whether they got the chance to compete in the world championship or not, they had already represented their country proudly.

The process started last summer, when over 100 players converged on US Lacrosse headquarters in Sparks, Md., for the first round of tryouts. Almost one year later, 24 players were set to make the trip to Limerick, Ireland. Along the way, each of the 24 got a chance to compete with some of the most talented young players in the country. The opportunity was not lost on the members of the U.S. U19 players.

Liam Entenmann, a goalie for the U.S. U19 team and freshman at Notre Dame, felt compelled to reach out Myers following the announcement. He wanted to share with his coach how thankful he was for his opportunity. He texted his coach:

Hi Coach Myers it’s Liam Entenmann. Hopefully this isn’t the end of this USA team’s journey but in realizing that this tournament will be put on hold for quite some time I wanted to reach out to you personally and thank you for giving me such an incredible opportunity. The tryout process and team camps has been without question the most competitive, but also most exciting, thing I have been a part of so far in my lacrosse career. Your emphasis on the little things — the ground balls, the dives to the end line, the next play mentality, and most importantly, personal and team accountability — have truly changed my outlook on the game, and has made me not only a better player but a better teammate. I hope that this team will have the chance to suit up with the USA jerseys on our chest at least one more time, but if not, I am still so thankful to have been apart of this experience and know I’m a better person because of it. I look forward to 3 (maybe more) more OSU-ND battles to come in the years ahead. 

Thanks again.

Liam Entenmann, Notre Dame/USA.

The message had an instant impact on Myers, who through just a handful of events, had fostered a bond with his players.

“It was very heartfelt, showing how grateful he was for the opportunity he has had and how it’s impacted him as a player and how he was ready if the opportunity presented itself,” Myers said.

Similar messages were shared through the following days between teammates and coaches, but the lingering theme was that if they got the chance, every player on the U19 team would be prepared. Players like Bundy and Entenmann are working out with whatever equipment they still have access to, getting a head start on the 2021 college season and making sure they put themselves in the best position if the world championship does return.

“If there’s even a slim chance that we can play for the red, white and blue, all 24 of us will be there. We’ll be ready to go,” Bundy Jr. said.

World Lacrosse announced that more information on whether the world championship can be postponed will come this month. Jim Scherr, World Lacrosse’s CEO, held a virtual town hall meeting with governing bodies to discuss alternative plans for the event, but confirmed it will not be held in 2020.

“To have taken away from us was pretty heartbreaking, but to be able to also get a second chance at that would mean a lot,” Entenmann said.

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