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Desperate To Play; MetNY U23s Train For The Chance

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Desperate To Play; MetNY U23s Train For The Chance

All masked up, the Met NY U23s hope their aherance to safety gets them a game.

Despite the COVID shutdowns, we’ve seen little pockets of rugby spring up around the USA, and one select side is doggedly trying to keep the dream alive.

The Met New York U23s powered by the New York Athletic Club Foundation is looking to get on the field. It’s a group of college-aged players, many of whom have played as teammates or opponents since high school.

“We started out as a group of guys from Pelham about three years ago who wanted to play at the New York 7s,” said scrumhalf Luke Persanis, who played at Pelham and then Delaware. “We did pretty well and then we added some guys from Xavier and Play Rugby and got some sponsorship support and went back there two years ago. then the AC foundation came in.”

With Persanis’s dad, Matt, coaching and Keith Killeen brought in, they won their bracket at the New York 7s, “something no one really expected us to do,” said the younger Persanis.

“Now, with no New York 7s we started expanding into 15s. There are more and more players who want to be involved." Although they are originally from the Met NY area, they now go to colleges all over the country.. "I think part of that is because players haven’t played in a long time.," added Persanis. "For some of us it has been basically an entire year since they last played a game.”

So, with Luke Persanis and John Powers (one of those 12-month-idle players) as captains, the group has been running trainings, wearing masks the whole time and following strict protective protocols. Players are health-checked before each training, but they self-police as well. They are essentially told that if they don’t feel well at all, to just stay home. And they do.

“No one wants to jeopardize the chance to play,” said Persanis. 

Players are tested on a regular basis and must have had a negative test within the past three days to train (they train every three days). Everyone is doing it.

So the MetNY team is feeling pretty good about their skills; now they just want to play.

“We feel like we’ve got a really good team,” said Persanis. “We just through it would be a shame for it to go to waste.”


Met NY U23s Powered By the AC Foundation
Name Position(s) Age Height Weight Bronco score College
Liam Anderson Lock/Flanker 20 6-2 208 4:49 Iona
Anthony Anyonelli Lock/Flanker 20 6-4 210 4:51 Iona
Jack Brandes Lock/Flanker       5:12 Iona
Cam Digiorgio Flanker 21 6-2 215 4:53 Iona
Ryan Hercules Center 22 5-10 230 4:55 Life
Justin Johnson Wing 22 5-9 175   Lafayette
Nick Lapponesse Lock/No. 8 19 6-3 222 4:33 Fairfield
Dylan Lewis Scrumhalf 18 5-6 145 4:49 Brown
Justin Lopez Wing/Center/Fullback 25 5-8 200 4:40 Delaware
Mike Marro Flyhalf/Center/Fullback 24 5-10 195 5:31 Iona
Yohendy Martinez Lock/No. 8 23 6-2 240 5:20 St Bonaventure
Luke McDermott Prop/Hooker 21 5-10 240   Delaware
Pat Murtagh Hooker 19 5-11 206 4:52 Indiana
Charlie Overton Lock 20 6-6 225 4:57 Penn St
Luke Persanis Scrumhaf/Flyhalf/Wing 21 5-9 160 4:33 Delaware
Joe Philips Fullback/Flyhalf/Wing 24 5-11 215 4:28 Canisius
John Powers Flyhalf/Center 23 6-0 185 4:44 Iona
Jesus Robles Prop/Hooker 24 5-10 195 5:05 St Bonaventure
Mike Scarcella Center/Wing 24 6-1 207 5:14 Iona
Kojo Sheng Flyhalf/Center/Wing 18 5-11 165 4:52 Santa Clara
Jarod Smallwood Prop 22 6-3 245   Fordham
Tom Treussard Center 20 5-11 190 4:41 Penn St
Moriyah Tulloch Wing/Flyhalf 22 5-9   5:02 Canissius
John Walsh Lock 19 6-2 220 5:02 Catholic
John Zeich Prop 19 5-11 230 5:10 Kutztown