The Glendale Raptors announced today that Malon Al-Jiboori and Hanco Germishuys have both signed on to compete with the Raptors in the 2019 Major League Rugby season.
“We are looking forward to getting these two young players into Glendale,” Raptors Head Coach David Williams said. “Regardless of their age, they definitely add a depth of experience to our team based on their national team training and international experience. They both have massive aspirations to make the World Cup squad and reach their potential as players both on and off the pitch. These signings, as well as others, show the strength of our environment at Glendale and will further improve our competitiveness.”
Born on August 1, 1997, Al-Jiboori grew up in Tulsa, Okla., playing football throughout his youth, earning a college scholarship and having aspirations to play in the NFL. He started playing rugby at 16 after seeing his older brother play the game and ended up declining a football scholarship to play rugby at Lindenwood University instead.
As a Collegiate All-American, a former captain of the USA Men’s U-20 Team, as well as a USA Men’s National Sevens and 15s player, Al-Jiboori’s success in rugby is indisputable; but at just 21-years-old, he knows he still has so much to offer the sport.
“I’m really excited about the upcoming season with Glendale and looking forward to just being able to play 15s again,” Al-Jiboori said.
After being a regular presence on the International Sevens Series, playing with the Men’s National Sevens Team since 2016, Al-Jiboori took a short break from Sevens to try his hand back at 15s in early 2018. He earned his first cap and debut try during the Men’s National Team’s Americas Rugby Championship (ARC) match against Chile in February 2018.
He returned to the Sevens game for the home stop of the 2018 World Rugby Sevens Series in Las Vegas helping the U.S. Men’s Team win their first ever cup title on home soil. His commitment to the game of sevens with the U.S. Team meant he missed out on most of that first MLR season with the San Diego Legion. Al-Jiboori looks forward to helping the Glendale Raptors secure a 2019 MLR Championship as well as earning a spot himself in the U.S. player pool for the upcoming Rugby World Cup.
Hanco Germishuys pathway to the Raptors has a few similarities, but contains exactly the same end goal. Hanco was born in South Africa and moved to Nebraska with his father when he was just eight years old. Playing rugby since he was little, Hanco was a four-year All-American in high school as well as a captain for the USA Under-20 team.
In 2015, Germishuys joined the Glendale Raptors Rugby Football Club and played with the Raptors until signing on to play with the then-PRO Rugby team, Denver Stampede. During this time, he also made his USA Men’s National Team debut at the America’s Rugby Championship in 2016. He then moved to Austin and played for a short while with the Austin Huns, before joining the Austin Elite side and leading their team with the most tries scored for the inaugural Major League Rugby season.
“I’m so excited to be back in Glendale for this second season of MLR,” Germishuys said. “I can’t wait to get back into training with the boys soon.”
Most recently, Germishuys returned from a November Tour with the USA Men’s National Team and will join several of his USA Eagles teammates in Glendale for the 2019 season.