As the CEO of a global recruiting agency, real estate developer, part-time politician and president of the Thailand Lacrosse Association, 30-year-old Prantarit “Payu” Nerngchamnong does not rest much.
“I don’t sleep a lot,” said Nerngchamnong, who also started lacrosse programs in Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines. “You get plenty of sleep when you’re dead.” (Editor’s note: After the magazine went to press, Singapore was accepted as the 47th member nation of the FIL)
In 2010, Nerngchamnong founded TLA. Three years later, Thailand placed third at the Asian Pacific (ASPAC) Lacrosse Tournament in June behind far more established teams Japan and Australia. Next up: the 2014 Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL) Men’s World Championship, hosted by US Lacrosse in Denver.
After the ASPAC games, Nerngchamnong tweeted, “It’s been a long road for me, and Thailand lacrosse…But I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
That road began when Nerngchamnong, who grew up 60 miles east of Bangkok in the city of Chonburi, came to Eaglebrook School, a junior boarding school in Deerfield, Mass. His mentor, the lacrosse team captain, introduced him to the sport. After getting permission from his parents to play lacrosse instead of golf, Nerngchamnong fell in love with it.
“At that time, I was the only Thai that played lacrosse,” he said.
Nerngchamnong envisioned playing for a Thai national team, which at the time did not exist in his soccer-first country. After playing lacrosse through high school at Suffield Academy in Connecticut, he continued to play with a club team he founded while attending NYU. He returned to Thailand six years ago and two years later began working to start TLA.
by Justin Feil