Before every game of his high school career, Jacques Monte always knew where to find Tim Soudan: 20 yards to his left on the wing. The Chrome coaches are rarely farther apart than that, even 25 years later.
They both live in Fairport, New York, where they grew up. Their houses are only a mile or so apart, and they teach and coach in the same school district that they attended. Their lives, families, and jobs are completely intertwined.
Few people get to do what they love, even fewer get to do it with their best friend. What started as a friendly rivalry between middle schoolers, developed into the ultimate Fairport friendship.
Everything is a Competition
Tim Soudan and Jacques Monte grew up attending rival middle schools where they each played football, lacrosse, and wrestled. The two would compete against each other on the field before becoming teammates at the high school level.
“In 10th grade, we became tighter because we were on teams together. On the football team he was the right back and I was the left half back. We wrestled together and I was 155 and he was 165. And lacrosse I was the faceoff guy and he was my wing,” said Monte.
The two would drive each other to be the best and over the years a friendly but competitive dynamic formed. During a junior year trip to lacrosse camp at Hobart, the two stumbled upon an old alarm clock on the ground and immediately fought over who it would belong to. “Everything for us was competitive. Anywhere we went, we wanted to be better than the next guy and I think that’s the bond between us,” said Monte.
As seniors both players were highly recruited and took college visits together, including an infamous trip to UMass that seems like a scene out of ‘Animal House.’ They were staying in the dorms with another lacrosse legend Sal LoCascio when someone on the floor found out that Soudan and Monte were wrestlers. Minutes later, the two found themselves running the gauntlet wrestling five to six different guys. Everything is a competition.
Back to Fairport
Twelve years would pass after college where life and work would get in the way, an all-too-familiar story for childhood friends. “We decided at that time, hey, let’s go teach because there’s a couple of teaching jobs in Fairport that are going to open up at the high school where we went,” said Monte. After obtaining their teaching certificates, they secured positions as physical education teachers in the Fairport school district, albeit in different buildings.
Why physical education? Soudan credits his wife for the suggestion. She had seen the two of them working their lacrosse camps and club practices and immediately knew they had a knack for teaching children how to move, how to play, and the details of sport.
As they returned to Fairport, Monte was asked to be an assistant coach for the Rochester Rattlers and since his good friend Tim Soudan was going to be a player on the team, he knew he could not pass up the opportunity to start his professional coaching career coaching his good friend.
Soudan would later retire from playing and Monte from coaching, only for Soudan to be offered the head coaching position for the Rattlers in 2011. His first call was to Monte, the two were reunited but this time as professional coaches. “When the owner of the Rattlers called to offer me the job, I asked him if I could bring my own staff, then I called Monte,” said Soudan.
History would repeat itself in 2020 when Soudan was named the Head Coach of the Chrome LC, again his first call was to Monte, at this point it was obvious that where one goes you find the other. Over the past 25 years the two have never been apart for more than a few months.
“When I need anything I call Monte and I know he’ll be there within five minutes to help me,” said Soudan.
And there is very little that the two won’t do for each other. When Monte decided his college coaching career was coming to an end, it was Soudan who drove a truck to pick him up and help pack all of his belongings. When Monte needed a place to quarantine before the 2020 bubble, he spent a month living in Coach Soudan’s driveway, in Soudan’s RV.
The two are more than friends, they’ve become family. “We’ve been through a lot of highs and lows in life together, I think of him more as a brother than a friend,” said Soudan.
The Sideline Perspective
How do 40 years of friendship translate to the sideline? Chrome LC players describe the two in eerily similar ways: competitive, caring, family. This should come as no surprise as the pair have treated their professional teams as extensions of their family. Their competitive nature dating back to middle school is apparent in their desire to win, looking for players that have a chip on their shoulder the same way they did as players. Their attention to different areas of the game, their ability to understand each other’s point of view, they supplement each other flawlessly.
“It’s a huge comfort level to have him on the sideline with me because he understands me and we’ve been through a lot together over the years,” said Soudan.
The teams attention to culture is exhaustive. If you ask any current or former player they will tell you that the culture starts with the coaching staff. A shared vision and decades of experience, the coaching staff has unlimited trust in each other. “I have 100% trust in him and I take comfort in knowing I don’t have to worry about the defensive end,” said Soudan.
That trust was on full display when Soudan handed Monte the keys for the 2023 Championship Series. Monte was acting head coach and while Soudan gave input leading up to the games, he knew the team was in good hands. The team didn’t disappoint and won the inaugural tournament.
Make no mistake, they aren’t the same guy, they may supplement each other with their knowledge and team-first attitude, but Soudan is quick to mention how their styles are complementary. Soudan is more reserved, even keeled, focusing on offense first whereas Monte is more lively on the sideline, working officials, and defensive minded.
Their friendship and culture may not be easily seen through the screen on your television, but the next time you see the Chrome, know that you see one big family.