Lao America's Football Family
Manning, Beckam and Barber are well known family names in football. You can add Phommachanh to that list, at least as far as the Lao community is concerned. At the helm of this football dynasty is Sam Phommachanh, a Lao American who was born in Vientiane and immigrated to the United States as a child. Sam’s family landed in Los Angeles in 1979 and relocated to Bridgeport, CT, about a year later.
Sam began playing football with his elementary school friends and an older kid noticed his speed. “He told me I should try out,” said Sam. When asked what his parents thought about him playing football Sam said, “they were against it.”
“I grew up in the Dan Marino era, and started practicing throwing,” said Sam. He played quarterback at Harding High School in Bridgeport from 1988-1990 making both All-State and All-League. One of Sam’s go-to wide receivers also became his go-to matchmaker. His friend was dating a young Hattian-American woman and introduced Sam to her sister, Jasmine. The two would later get married and produce a football team of their own.
After high school Sam attended a local community college and played a few years of semi-pro football in the area. He later obtained a Bachelors's of Business from the University of Bridgeport and currently works in the real estate industry. Although his personal football career ended, he was only just getting started with his contribution to the sport.
Sam began coaching youth football with his oldest son Jordan. Jordan was a larger kid who took to the defensive line and went on to play at Curry College. Following Jordan is Taisun who would grow up to be a 6’2” dual-threat quarterback under Sam's guidance. Taisun was a standout at Harding High School and Avon Old Farms School where he passed for a combined 5,224 yard and 46 touchdowns. His performance earned him a spot on the roster of ACC powerhouse Clemson University. Taisun spent his first few years on the QB depth chart of a program led by 2021 NFL number one draft choice, Trevor Lawrence. Just as the starting QB position opened up he tore his left Achilles tendon. Doctors told him that he would be out for a year but he wasn’t hearing it. He dedicated himself to his recovery. Doing extra stretching, self-massages and calf raises after his regular therapy sessions. He credits his miraculous five-month recovery to his extra work and his faith in God. Taisun returned to the field on September 11, 2021 and completed his first college touchdown pass. In 2022 after entering the NCAA transfer portal Taisun committed to play for Georgia Tech University.
Son number three, Tyler, decided to stay closer to home. He started his freshman season in 2021 at the University of Connecticut where he plays quarterback for the Huskies.
It's not all about football in the Phommachanh house. The best athlete in the family just might be daughter Kaylah. Kaylah is a track and field star at Bunnell High School who specializes in the 100M, 4x100M relay, and high jump. She is currently going through the college recruiting process so check back here for an update soon.
The Phommachan’s are a very spiritual family and their faith would be tested. Just before Christmas of 2020, Sam’s mother passed away and the Phommachanh family home burnt down the following day. The family is strong and pulled through the tragedy.