Meet Our Coaching Staff

When we started the Dragons we wanted it to be the best lacrosse (and sports) learning environment we could create. From the very start it was clear that excellent coaching was what would make the difference. We developed a system that brought in young, experienced, positive coaches that could effectively teach young players how to become better lacrosse players. We now have what we believe to be the best coaching staff in Southern California.  All of our coaches must go through an in person interview, submit outstanding lacrosse resumes, and undergo a trial practice period where their coaching ability is assessed in practice and game situations. Please take the time to meet our coaches and read their impressive bios below! Go Dragons!

The Coaches Perspective

Dragons Directors

Erik Krum - Athletic Director

Born and raised in Denver Colorado, Erik  moved to Manhattan Beach, CA in 2004 and graduated from Mira Costa High School where he was 2x All-American (2006 & 2007). Erik's next stop was Salisbury University from 2007-2012, where he won 3 national championships. As a senior, Erik was a First Team All-American, as well as the regular season highest goal scorer. In 2014 & 2015 Erik played for the Ohio Machine in the MLL. Since 2013 Krum has been athletic director for the Santa Monica Dragons. As such, Erik determines the annual curriculum, content of all programs and sets the tone for the behavior, attitude and work ethic on the field. Krum is one of the best motivators in the sport on the West Coast and is extremely close with his players. He is also lacrosse program head and head varsity coach at harvard Westlake.

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Meghan Toomey - Program Director

Meghan has been at the head of Dragons Lacrosse since the inception of the girls program in 2014, growing the program from an 8 person roster to a full rosters of teams and several championships. Her vision and dedication for creating a unique club experience largely contributed to the rapid growth of the program. A native of Annapolis, Maryland, Meghan was an All-American defender and captain at Salisbury University leading the program to two head varsity coach at Marlborough High School, and has previously coached the Los Angeles WDNT team and Under Armour Underclassman team. Meghan will be coaching all age levels and is the Program Director for Fire Santa Monica, as well as the overall Fire Lacrosse Program Director.

Boys Coaches

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Eli Lasda

Eli grew up in Ithaca NY where he graduated from Ithaca High School in 2013. He was team captain his senior year and took his school to the Upstate Championship twice. Eli went on to University of Albany where he graduated with a double major in English and History in 2017. While at Albany he scored 26 goals and had 13 assists, and was also named to the American East All Academic Team. Lasda pursued a masters in Public Policy at the University of Nottingham in England, where he also became the team's leading scorer, as well as team MVP. Eli currently plays on the Latvian National Team and was a starter at both the 2014 and 2018 World Games. Since moving to LA,  Lasda has taken up a position with Dragons a youth and high school coach. He has also joined his brother at Harvard Westlake School where he is the Varsity offensive coordinator.

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Max Mercier

Born and raised in Camden, Maine, Max grew up playing ice hockey and soccer. He did not get into lacrosse until middle school. Max became a 4 year varsity player at Camden Hills High School, and was a 3 time all conference selection. He continued his playing career at Emmanuel College (Div. III) where he helped Emmanuel to 3 GNAC Conference Titles and 3 NCAA Tournament appearances. He was selected as a captain his senior year (2016). Max presently coaches the Harvard Westlake JV squad, and works with several Dragons youth teams.

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Riley Lasda

Riley grew up in Ithaca New York, where he attended Ithaca High School and lettered all four years in lacrosse and three years in football.  Lasda earned all-section honors in 2009, 2010 and 2011, as well as All-America honors in 2011.  All this on his way to leading Ithaca to three sectional titles, a pair of regional championships and the 2011 Upstate Championship. Following high school, Riley attended Penn State his freshman and sophomore year, where he played Division 1 lacrosse. His junior year he transferred to the University of Albany where he finished his Division 1 collegiate career. Riley grew up playing Midfield but because of his athleticism, understanding of the game and unique skill set, he was asked to switch to long stick his senior year. In Albany’s unique “4 man scheme”,  the starting midfielders are asked to play both ways, which gave Riley a very unique perspective on the defensive skills set. In fact he then fell in love with the position and switched to close defense. He played for the Latvian National Team as a close defenseman in the 2014 World Games in Denver, CO, where they placed 19th out of 42 teams in the world. Riley is still an active member of the Latvian National Team. Riley has coached at all age levels from 6 years old through high school, including 4 years as an assistant at his alma mater, Ithaca High School, and was the defensive coordinator for Gaffer Elite Lacrosse Club in Corning, NY.

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Kelley Jay

Kelley grew up in Greenwich, CT (Fairfield County) where he went through the town’s colossal youth program, and eventually played at Greenwich High School. Kelley played midfield throughout high school, eventually switching to short stick defensive midfield his senior year, winning the team’s defensive player of the year award, and FCIAC honorable mention. Kelley went on to play at Elon University in North Carolina, and played in the MCLA for two years. He unfortunately had his collegiate career cut short by multiple knee surgeries, but never lost his love for the game. Kelley moved to Los Angeles this past October shortly after graduating, and started coaching with the Dragons in February. He looks forward to working with players of all ages, helping them to develop their defensive fundamentals, emphasizing the importance of team defense, footwork, and clearing.

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Andrew Buss

Andrew is a recent graduate of Bridgewater College in Virginia, where he played for 4 years in the ODAC conference.  He is originally from Severna Park, MD where he grew up playing lacrosse with his two older brothers.  Andrew was a part of Bridgewater's first full recruiting class, where he was a four year starter in goal and served as a team captain his junior and senior year.  At Bridgewater, Andrew was a 3x All Academic ODAC team member, and he was on the 2016 ODAC Ray Rostan Sportsmanship Team. Prior to joining Dragons Andrew was an assistant coach under Bear Davis, head coach of the MLL’s Ohio Machine, at Archbishop Spalding High School.  He joins Coach Krum, assisting him with the 8 Blue team.  Andrew loves working on technical skills with our goalies & will be coaching at View Point School in the spring as well.

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Blayne Taylor

Blayne grew up in Mansfield, Massachusetts, where he attended Mansfield High School and was a four year letterman in lacrosse and three year letterman for football. While at Mansfield he earned all league honors in 2010, 2011, and 2012 and all state honors in 2011 and 2012. In his senior year he served as captains of both the lacrosse and football team. Blayne went on to play Division I lacrosse at the University of Massachusetts under head coach Greg Cannella, serving as a short stick defensive middie. In his freshman year of 2013, the Minutemen made it to the NCAA tournament eventually falling to Penn state. Coach Blane joined Dragons in March and is coaching several teams in the youth ranks.

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James Burton

James, or as we call him "JB", grew up in St. Helena, California, a small town in the heart of the Napa Valley. He started playing soccer and basketball at a very young age, but didn’t get into lacrosse until he joined his middle school team at Sonoma Country Day. He attended Cardinal Newman High School where he was a 3-Time All Conference Selection, and he earned Conference Player of the Year and All American his senior year (2011). James then moved on to play Division III at Salisbury University where he won a National Championship in 2012 and 2016. Following an All-Conference, 50 point junior season, he broke out his senior year (2016), totaling 84 points (33 goals and 51 assists), earning USILA Second Team All-American and First Team All Conference. He topped off his season by leading his team to a National Championship victory with 5 goals and 3 assists. James graduated with a Bachelors of Arts in both Communications and Athletic Coaching and is a full-time Dragons coach. He is the Head Coach of our 6/7 Blue Team, and has taken over the Santa Monica Dragons Social Media page on instagram!  JB is also our go-to guy for any equipment & uniform questions or requests.

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Mike Kutzer

Mike hails from Syracuse and boasts and impressive lacrosse background.  At Fayetteville Manlius High School he was an ADIDAS All-American, won the Coaches’ award and earned All-CNY and All-League honors. From 2011 to 2016 Mike played Division I lacrosse at Loyola University Maryland as defensive midfielder. During his time at Loyola the team was Patriot League Champion in 2014 and 2016, and a Final Four participant in 2016. When not playing, Mike coached youth lacrosse at Syracuse University, Loyola University, Cornell University, Rhino Lacrosse Camp and Burn’em Lacrosse Club. Mike joined the Dragons in the fall of 2016 and has an active role working with our midfielders at all age groups, helping them to improve their skills on both sides of the ball.

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Dayton Gilbreath

Dayton hails from Washington where he played at Bainbridge Island High School and was team captain from 2005 to 2008. In 2009 he joined the Air Force Academy, where he played all four years and was again, team captain in 2012. Dayton was 1st Team All League for all of his 4 years and the league rookie of the year in 2009. During his 4 years at the Air Force Academy, Dayton would return home to Washington each summer, where he created position-specific clinics and focused on working with up to 100 high school players a year, helping them understand and get ready for the recruiting process. Upon graduation, he was transferred to Okinawa, Japan, for 3 years, where in his spare time he set up 3 lacrosse leagues for kids ages 8 to 18, and coached the high school group. Dayton joined Dragons in December 2016, when he is transferred from his present position to Los Angeles. He is on our core defensive staff and head coach of 4/5 Green.

Girls Coaches

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Lyndsey Munoz

Lyndsey joined Dragons Lacrosse in 2018 with a little push from high school teammate and Dragons/Fire program director Meghan Toomey. Since her arrival, Lyndsey has made an impact in the LA lacrosse community taking over the role as Westlake High School head coach and Boys and Girls Youth Director for the Westlake Waves. Lyndsey also serves as our in-house performance coach, holding certifications for strength and conditioning (NSCA), personal training (NASM), and a fitness nutrition specialization (NASM). Lyndsey will be working with all age levels and will also be Fire Program Director for the Conejo Valley. In addition, she will be coaching this year’s WDNT LA team. Lyndsey graduated from Stanford University, where she played goalie for the Cardinal.

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Annie Cook

After graduating from Campbell University, Annie was ready to leave her east coast roots for California. Originally from Baltimore, MD, Annie played for high school powerhouse McDonogh, where she went undefeated for all 4 years. She was then recruited to play for Campbell’s inaugural team. Annie is a vital component to our middle school team’s success, with her vast knowledge of the game and the constant positive energy she brings. Annie works at SoulCycle and is working towards her certification as a personal trainer. She has become a specialist at coaching middle school players, taking on the role as both middle school coach at Marlborough, as well as being a core coach for our middle school girls. Most recently she took her team to the 2019 PELA MS A-Division championship.