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This is nothing new to Keith Wieczorek.

Having the No. 1 player in the country has been somewhat of an annual tradition for the St. Anthony’s (N.Y.) head coach. Since 2020, three of his former stars have earned top billing, and with good reason. Brennan O’Neill (Team 91 Long Island) won a Tewaaraton Award in 2023 and was the No. 1 pick in this year’s PLL Draft. Andrew McAdorey (Team 91 Long Island) earned first-team All-America honors at Duke this spring. Owen Duffy (Team 91 Long Island) was the ACC Freshman of the Year at North Carolina this season.


Wieczorek’s been there, done that, but while he’s also had some defensive stalwarts in his time with the Friars, none of his defensive players have ever earned that title.

Ethan Bramoff‘s here to change that. While Wieczorek cautions that it’s too early to say that Bramoff is one of the best as of right now, the potential is there.

“It’s too early to ordain him after one season with us,” Wieczorek said, “but if he continues this path, he’ll be in the conversation. That conversation won’t be had until two years from now.”

No. 1 in the Class of 2026

Bramoff’s long been a terror on the club circuit with Mike Chanenchuk‘s Long Island Express 2026 team. Every team knows that they need to avoid No. 11 in the middle of the field, and yet just about every team falls victim to the 6-foot, 190-pounder’s gamebreaking ways. He’s the best player on arguably the best team in the country. For that, Bramoff earns the title as the No. 1 player in the NLF’s first class of 2026 rankings.

“It feels great,” Bramoff said. “A lot of hard work has paid off.”

“Ethan’s as good a defensive player as we’ve had at this stage at Express,” Chanenchuk said. “He terrorizes offenses in the middle of the field with his exceptional takeaway ability, amazing stick on ground balls and his ability to cover at a level that most LSMs can’t match. We will sometimes put him down at close defense against certain matchups, and he can still erase elite-level attackmen. We’re incredibly proud of him for the well-deserved honor of being the No. 1 player in the country and we can’t wait to see what he has in store this summer.”

Long Way from Facing Off

If Bramoff’s at an individual event, he’s getting All-Star honors, as he did this past winter at NLF at IMG. He often outscores his matchup, is outstanding on faceoff wings and is as good as it gets at taking the ball away. It’s been an impressive journey for Bramoff, particularly for a guy who started as… a faceoff middie.

“I actually made Channy’s first team as a faceoff guy, and in practice, the faceoff guys played defense,” Bramoff explained. “I was a better defender than most. After our tournament, Coach (JohnLynott took my stick, threw it to the ground and told my dad that I had to stop to get a pole on the way home.”

Safe to say that Lynott’s assessment was dead-on. Bramoff does it all for Express, and he spends more time at the offensive X than most attackmen on his team do. When you’ve got the skill set, stickwork and offensive mindset that he does, you get a little bit of a longer leash than most.

Bramoff broke out for the Friars as a sophomore, a rarity in Wieczorek’s talent-rich program. He showed that he was far from out of place. St. Anthony’s opened up with Midwest power, and while Bramoff admitted he was a little nervous in going up against such a great team, an early assist and his first career goal confirmed that he’d be able to shine at this level, too.

Title Time in July? 

Now, he’s got his sights set on a big summer with Express. The team is looking for its first NLF National Championship, a title that has eluded them for the past few years. It’s especially important with the event being a home game for them at Stony Brook. Bramoff also credits his teammates for being so invaluable in forging him into the player he is today.

“It’s fun doing this with my best friends. My best friends are the ones on St. Anthony’s and Express, so it’s great to be able to do this with them,” Bramoff said.

When he’s on the field this summer, there’s no doubt that Bramoff will be throwing checks to disrupt opposing offenses. He’s got a favorite, and one that he has to be very careful about for very good reasons.

“The can opener’s my favorite because I get yelled at the least when I miss it,” Bramoff explained. “Over-the-head’s the worst because it’s a lap at practice if I miss it.”