America’s Next Generation Of Rugby Professionals Are In The Making In Glendale

Raptors and Academy Attracting Top Talent From Across The Country

An exhibition match at Infinity Park on October 6 pitted a Glendale team comprised of a combination of veterans and new talent against the Division II Denver Barbarians side. The friendly provided a decisive and much needed win, and allowed Glendale coaches a chance to see potential new signings in action.

As Glendale’s developing squad continues through the autumn exhibition season, the coaches and staff will work with new talent, seeking the best matches to sign to the 2019 professional Raptors team. Here are a few names to keep your eye on as the fall season unfolds:

Jason Damm – Damm was born in Atlanta but grew up in Fort Mill, South Carolina. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Biological Sciences from Clemson University, and has published scholarly work on salamanders. A former high school science teacher, Damm began playing rugby five years ago, and has played for a number of clubs.

Colin Gregory – Another Clemson University alumni, Gregory was born in the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C. The flyhalf started playing rugby in eighth grade, and played with his high school club and at Clemson. He’s in Glendale for the fall season and working toward a pro contract.

Moses Saole – An eighteen year old from Colorado Springs, Saole moved to Glendale to join the Raptors Academy, but he’s looking for a shot on the MLR team. Moses began playing rugby in eighth grade, and his younger sister Selane also plays the sport.

Campbell Johnstone – Playing at outside center, twenty year old Johnstone is originally from Maryland. Growing up in Baltimore, he began playing rugby at eight years of age – both of his parents were rugby players – and has enjoyed the experiences the sport has afforded him. He wants to represent the United States as a rugby player, and enjoys free time in Colorado exploring Denver and hiking in the mountains.

Alec Leddy – A Denver local, twenty year old Leddy is in his second year in the Raptors Academy and hoping to make the leap to the pros. He attended Horizon High School in the Denver suburb of Thornton, and has been playing rugby for three years.

One of the most exciting aspects of this fall’s rugby exhibition season will be the presence of up and coming young athletes, most of who are part of Glendale’s Rugby Academy – one of the first of its kind in the United States. Asked about the prospect of finding and recruiting young talent, Raptors Head Coach David Williams is happy to have a vehicle in-house to make that happen: “The Academy program is a huge part of our team moving forward. We’re paying a lot of attention to that programming now, and the more 18-21 year olds we can recruit and get into it, the better off we are as a team down the line.”

The Glendale Raptors Rugby Academy is an elite development program for younger players – under 23 years of age – who show potential to play at the highest level. This structure provides players a professional training program and the possibility of being selected to play for the Raptors professional side, or to be recruited by other domestic or international clubs.

The Academy program doesn’t just develop great rugby players, but thriving members of society and the broader sporting community. To that end, Glendale’s programming also includes career and education assistance and help with affordable housing opportunities. We also encourage all of our athletes to participate in community service while playing with Glendale’s rugby clubs.

Glendale’s next home match was to be an exhibition against a fellow MLR team, the Utah Warriors, on October 13. Unfortunately, due to the possibility of inclement weather and treacherous travel conditions, the Utah team elected to withdraw. Moving further into the exhibition season, Glendale will match up against Rugby Americas on October 27 at 7pm Mountain Time at Infinity Park.