One that has taken up America’s fastest growing sport even though their family roots were in other sports.
The Chaminade High School (NY) Class of 2017 midfielder’s father, Steve Chmil, was an infielder in the Atlanta Braves’ organization from 1980-85 after starring at Vanderbilt University.
But Matt’s older brother Stephen made lacrosse his sport of choice and just finished a four-year career as a midfielder at Brown University. His sister, Courtney, just finished her junior year as a midfielder at Fairfield University. Chmil’s cousins — Michael, Greg and Stephen Peyser — all played at Johns Hopkins. That makes Matt the sixth D-I lax player from his extended family.
Matt will also be playing at the Division I level. He gave a verbal to Duke University earlier this week, as reported by Joe Lombardi on LaxLessons.com’s Lacrosse Insider premium coverage section.
The 6-foot, 165-pound Chmil is a hard-nosed and aggressive two-way player with outstanding athleticism and dodging ability and stick stills who is equally strong with either hand.
“I eat and write lefty,” he said, “and in sports like golf I’m righty. In lacrosse, I’m both lefty and righty.”
Chmil was captain of Chaminade’s freshman team this past spring and finished with 21 points.
Now, here’s a Q&A with Matt on his commitment.
What were the main factors in your decision?
There were many factors that went into my decision.
Most of all, the unique combination of Duke’s high standards of success in the classroom and on the field are unmatched. Duke has a beautiful campus, which I fell in love with from my first visit.
Last but not least, Duke has a strong coaching staff, which made me feel comfortable throughout the entire recruiting process.
What other schools were you considering and what schools did you visit?
In addition to Duke, the schools that I visited were Harvard, Princeton and Johns Hopkins. I seriously considered all of them.
What are your strengths as a player and how would you describe your style of play?
I feel my strength is a strong dodge down the ally shooting on the run both righty and lefty with a variety of shot placements.
I also hustle up and down the field to make plays including getting groundballs, both between the lines and off the wings, and I keep my head up so I can see the field.
What area of your game do you need to work on?
I need to work on developing my footwork and speed to get a faster step on both my defender and on the other side of the field, which will help me to play sound defense on my opponent.
I must get stronger to increase my shot velocity and toughness on the field. Also, stick skills are an aspect that a player can never stop improving.
How did you get introduced to lacrosse and what other sports have you played?
My older brother who played at Brown and my older sister who plays at Fairfield first introduced me to lacrosse.
I was constantly going to their games, as well as those of my cousins Michael, Greg and Stephen Peyser who played at Hopkins.
I played baseball when I was younger but since baseball and lacrosse were spring sports, I eventually dropped baseball. Currently, in addition to lacrosse I play football at Chaminade where I am quarterback.
What travel team do you play on what showcase events did you participate in?
I play on the Long Island Express and Express Turtles. The showcase events that I was invited to were Philly Showcase, Nike Blue Chip/Jake Reed and Maverick Showtime.
I participated in the Philly Showcase and had to pull out of Jake Reed due to an injury. I hope to play at Maverick Showtime next week.
What are your thoughts on being part of the Chaminade/Duke tradition that is as strong as ever?
I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to carry on the Chaminade/Duke tradition. It started with Jimmy Regan, a Chaminade and Duke alum and lacrosse player, who found a calling to serve as an Army Ranger where he later lost his life.
This tradition is not just about lacrosse, but honor and courage. With great players continuing his legacy, I am humbled to be able to follow in the footsteps of such talented men. This spring, I was assigned jersey No. 19, Jimmy Regan’s number, which is special in the Chaminade lacrosse program to honor the life and service of Sgt. James J. Regan.
Any final thoughts?
I would like to thank my older brother (Stephen Chmil) for introducing me to the game and mentoring me throughout my career as well as my whole family, especially my mom and dad, for their support and always being there.
Thank you to Mr. (Mike) Chanenchuk, my club coach, for guiding me in this process, as well as coaches (Jack) Moran, (Robert) Pomponio, (Gregory) Kay, (Pat) Hoey and (Scott) Cole from the Chaminade lacrosse program for their help.
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