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College And HS Products Still Signing In MLR

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College And HS Products Still Signing In MLR

Lincoln Si'i for GCU. J. Dalton photo.

Despite the COVID-19 problems and the very real concern that things won't be cleared up anytime soon, Major League Rugby teams are still making deals.

College players are still getting signed, although we're seeing more re-signings and signings from overseas. This, of course, spells out the truth that with 13 teams in the league there are only about 500-600 spots. If all of those are filled the previous season, you've got to hope for 10-20% to retire or be released. A 10% attrition rate would be high, and would open up about 50 spots, at least half of which would be taken up by overseas players. So of the hundreds of graduating seniors in college rugby, only a few dozen will get signed.

And it's still a process where other players produced in the USA can sign. Witness Connor McManus, who was a standout halfback for Fort Hunt before working out the Cursaders academy in New Zealand, where he was born.

McManus is a free agent in part because he didn't go to college in the US. He signed with RUNY.

Witness Christian Ostberg, the former captain of the USA U20s. After a frustrating and injury-plagued time with Aurillac in France, he is back and signed with Austin. He's a USA product, but a free agent coming to pro rugby from a path separate from the college ranks.

The Dallas Jackals signed Ryan James, who was a HS All American and EIRA standout from the SD Aztec Warriors and Cathedral Catholic programs. We told you about him in 2017.

Ramblin' Jesters Young 7s Player of the Month - Ryan James

But there have been some college-related signings. Skyler Adams graduated from AIC a couple of years ago. He was a standout for Colorado Springs in HS, and since graduation was at the same academy as McManus, the BNZ Crusaders International Academy. He signed with the Jackals. Playing at the Crusaders Academy and with Marist Albion and New Brighton was a revelation for the high-spirited Adams, who said he received "an immense amount of help from coaches and mentors including Josh Macy, Rob Guiry, and Pete Lang, to name a few.” 

He played for Austin last year, but the path is an interesting one for him. Instead of straight to pros or a major US club, he went overseas, and we will see more players do that.

Along with other college signings we've seen

All the MLR Draft Picks

Now The Post-Draft Rush Starts

Dodson Headlines Post-Draft College Signings In MLR

... Karem Odeh was another Dallas Jackals pickup, and a good one out of Life University. He saw his stock drop a little right before the draft, but should be fine.


Lincoln Si'i, touted by some as a 1st- or 2nd-round pick, wasn't picked up in the draft and is signing as a free agent with Rugby ATL (now with a new and cool nickname, the Rattlers). 

“To continue my career in rugby is very humbling and rewarding,” said Sii, who was a standout in high school in Temecula, Calif. before tearing it up as a prop and hooker for Grand Canyon University. “It made me so happy to see how proud and happy my family was for me. They supported me in every way and sacrificed a lot for me to be in this position. I’m going to give it my all so I can start to give back to them.”

“GCU helped me grow into the player I am today,” Sii, an electrical engineering major, told GCU staff writer Mack Drake. “The coaching staff’s belief in me drove me to get better. I learned how to have fun and enjoy my time with the boys on the team. The program also taught me how to watch film correctly, and how to take care of my body from a nutritional standpoint.”