For the majority of the 2017 USL season, the Real Monarchs have been atop the summit of the league standings largely due to a team-first mentality driven by a hard-nosed work ethic. Max Lachowecki may be the perfect embodiment of that mentality, as his humble personality, work ethic and passion for making people smile has helped transform a former cellar-dwelling team into a league powerhouse.
Having helped lead the Monarchs to the club’s first-ever trophy in the form of a USL Regular Season Championship Shield, the Notre Dame alum and Indiana native now looks to help his club to a USL Cup title as the team begins its playoff run. Being a part of a team that missed the playoffs last season and now being on the best team in the USL, Lachowecki reflects positively on the growth of the club over the course of the 2017 season.
“I have to go back to when this group first got together for preseason in Ventura, California, how much we’ve progressed from then to now,” Lachowecki explained. “We were pretty confident the whole year but it didn’t really sink in until we lifted the Shield in front of our home fans.”
As the Monarchs generated headlines throughout the season, Lachowecki hasn’t been the subject of the headlines nor has he been the player to notch the game winning goal every week. Rather the left back has been a player quietly putting his team in positions to succeed, providing consistent performances on a weekly basis while being quick to deflect compliments and praise.
“Max is the kind of player you love as a coach because you know what you’re going to get every week,” Head Coach Mark Briggs said about Lachowecki. “He’s honest, he gives you 200% when he crosses the field and he’s got quality.”
Off the field and in the locker room Lachowecki provides a presence with his personality that is not only witty but welcoming for veterans and new members of the team. Paired with a hard-nose work ethic and a willingness to put a smile on someone’s face has created a natural team leader for the Monarchs.
“I’ve never been the most vocal guy but I try and lead with my work rate and I try and bring that every day,” Lachowecki said. “I think if you asked the guys I bring more of a calm and easing presence who is always down to make someone laugh.”
Having a passion for entertainment, making people smile has always come easy for Lachowecki - evident during his days playing college soccer at Notre Dame being filled with smiles that were broadcast across campus.
As a sophomore, alongside Notre Dame teammate and former Colorado Rapids defender, Grant Van De Casteele, Lachowecki hosted a bi-weekly YouTube series providing a comical side of life of a student-athlete.
Lachowecki got involved in the video series when Van De Casteele – a Student Athletic Advisory Committee member at the university – asked him to be a part of the committee to replace him when he graduated. Looking for ways to show a different side of student-athlete life, Lachowecki and Van De Casteele came up with the idea of having a weekly interview show based on similar shows by actors and comedians who provided comic outlooks on life.
“We wanted to tell other student-athlete’s stories beyond sports, beyond their life at Notre Dame,” Lachowecki explained. “We had fun with it and after it picked up some traction we got the chance to interview sports celebrities such as Jay Bilas, a basketball analyst for ESPN among other big-name people in sports. It was a very cool experience.”
Not being surprised with Lachowecki’s sense of humor, Briggs said he could see Max becoming a comedian when his playing days are over.
“He’s funny and he has that comedic personality about him,” Briggs said with a smile and a laugh, something everyone who meets Lachowecki seems to walk away with.