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Johnny Mouradian. Armenia Lacrosse
Johnny Mouradian coached a clinic for The Armenian Youth Lacrosse Mission at Debi Arach Children's Center.

Longboat resident builds an Armenian lacrosse team

Johnny Mouradian merged his Armenian roots and his passion for teaching physical education to create the first lacrosse camp in Armenia.

Longboat Key resident Johnny Mouradian and his close friend Rev. Shnork Souin just returned from Armenia where they coached the first-ever camps and clinics of the Armenian Youth Lacrosse Mission. 

“A sport and two Armenians,” said Mouradian. “That’s what we want to do: change lives through the sport and our Armenian roots.”

They partnered with three different Armenian nonprofits to build opportunities for Armenian children to learn and play lacrosse competitively.

Mouradian said it has been an incredible experience to bring his favorite sport to Armenian children and serve the place he holds dear to his heart.

“I grew up like three doors down from the Armenian Church,” said Mouradian. “Father Souin was the pastor at our church. He tracked me down and got me reconnected to the church. About 30 years ago, he started a trip called Canadian Youth Mission to Armenia. When I started going, we said, ‘One day, we should start a lacrosse team here.’ I took some little soft lacrosse sticks there and the kids, we’re running around, they’re having a blast. It took years because the timing was never right but we finally got it up and running.”

July 3-14, Mouradian and Souin hosted two camps and two clinics focusing on creating national teams that will compete internationally. 

The Armenian Youth Lacrosse Mission worked closely with Children of Armenia Fund, Girls of Armenia Leadership Soccer and Ayo! which fundraises for the Fund of Armenian Relief. These helped connect Mouradian and Souin with places to practice and children who were interested. 

“Our next step is to compete internationally,” said Mouradian. “The end goal is to join World Lacrosse, which is the governing body of international lacrosse that spans over 85 countries. We would be competing against Germany, Switzerland, all the European teams. We’re also really working to identify all the Armenian lacrosse players in Canada and the United States to take a group of diaspora lacrosse players, both girls and boys, and connect them back to their roots.”

The Armenian Youth Lacrosse Mission’s clinic at Debi Arach Children’s Center.

Mouradian went to Ithaca College and earned his bachelor of science with a teacher certification in 1976. Later he earned a master’s degree in exercise and sports science in 1998. His years of playing lacrosse and hockey during his childhood and collegiate years inspired him to be a physical education teacher. In his hometown of St. Catharines, Ontario, in Canada, he taught for 18 years a variety of high school courses such as special education, leadership, history, English, fitness, journalism, health and physical education.

Mouradian also played and coached for the Canadian national lacrosse team. He was the general manager when they won the inaugural World Indoor Championship in 2003. In 2011, he was appointed the Canadian National Indoor Lacrosse program director. He was head coach of the Costa Rican Men’s national team that competed at the World Indoor Championships held in Canada in 2019. 

Mouradian and his wife Michele moved to Longboat Key seven years ago. While on the island, Mouradian focuses on the lacrosse training program he created with Dr. Greg Shelley, director of sports leadership at Cornell University. Their program, Lacrosse Tough, provides high-performance training modules for lacrosse players, teams, coaches and sports organizations. 

Johnny Mouradian Team Canada Coach

Johnny Mouradian on the coaching team of the Canadian national lacrosse team.

Along with teaching private and small group lacrosse lessons, Mouradian is working on creating lacrosse clinics for children on Longboat Key. He said that since the island is attracting more families it would be great to create a space for children to bond with others in their area.

“It would be fantastic if we had a group of kids on Siesta Key, a group of kids on Longboat and a group on Anna Maria. We could play a little, fun game against each other.”

Mouradian emphasized that the whole point is to learn about a new sport and just have fun.

“There’s so many life lessons learned in team sports,” said Mouradian. “Team sports, in general, is a metaphor of life. The lesson you learn in sports, you take over into real life. What we really like about it is not everybody’s a soccer player, right? Not everybody’s a basketball player. Some kids will just fall in love with a stick and a ball. And that’s what we’re excited about.” 

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