Rugby United New York 2019
Rugby United New York has re-signed USA Eagle 440 SeamusKelly for the 2019 Major League Rugby season. He also played for RUNY during their 2018 MLR exhibition season. Kelly joins Ben Foden (Northampton Saints) and Cathal Marsh (Leinster) on the team.
Kelly began playing both football and rugby while at Xavier High School from 2006-2009. His Senior year, he was the MVP of the team in football and captain of the rugby team.
Upon graduation from Xavier High School, he attended the University of California, Berkeley from 2009-2014, graduating with a B.A. in Political Economy. While there, he was a four-time Rugby Collegiate All-American. The team won two National XVs titles and two Collegiate Rugby Championship titles during that time.
While at Xavier HS, Kelly was the recipient of the Kevin Higgins College Scholarship. He also burst on the National scene playing for the Under-17 National team in Midfield under Coach Sean O’Leary. While at Cal he co-captained a 2012 tour to Ireland in 2012.
On May 25, 2013, he debuted for the USA National team against Canada in Edmonton, coming in as a replacement. He would gain 23 caps (20 as a starter), his last against Japan during the 2015 Rugby World Cup. In 2015 he also captained the USA Rugby Selects tour to South America.
Kelly has also played for San Francisco Golden Gate in the 2015 Pacific Rugby Premiership and for the New York Athletic Club since then.
Kelly’s connection with RUNY head coach Mike Tolkin has been an extensive one. Tolkin coached Kelly with Xavier High School, with the Eagles, NYAC, and with RUNY.
Rugby United New York Release
NEW YORK (September 11, 2018)- Rugby United New York has signed native New Yorker, USA Eagle #440, Seamus Kelly for the 2019 Major League Rugby Season. The center, from Breezy Point, Queens, adds to an already strong backline, consisting of recent signings Cathal Marsh (Leinster) and Ben Foden (Northampton Saints.)
Kelly was a standout in both football and rugby at Xavier High School in Manhattan. Mike Tolkin, Head Coach of Rugby United New York, was leading the school’s rugby program at the time. He saw a unique talent in the young center from the beginning. He looks forward to their reunion in Major League Rugby.
“Seamus is an elite athlete who brings massive rugby experience to the squad,” Tolkin said. “He always demands excellence from his performance and takes great pride in being able to put on the local jersey. He is will continue to put in exciting performances for the fans of Rugby United New York.”
Kelly went on to be a four-time Collegiate All American while studying at California University, Berkeley. During his tenure, the Golden Bears won two 15’s National Championships, as well as back-to-back 7’s Collegiate Rugby Championships. His success at the collegiate level, in addition to impressing on All American tours, led to increased looks with the USA Men’s National team.
He made his debut for the Eagles in May of 2013 against North American rival Canada. Kelly appeared an additional twenty-two times for the men’s national team. He started in twenty of his twenty-three caps, highlighted by his three starts in the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
He has been playing with the New York Athletic Club since returning to his hometown. This past spring, he played Major League Rugby sides Houston Sabercats and Glendale Raptors with the Winged Foot. He also appeared in two matches for Rugby United New York in the 2018 exhibition season. He is looking forward to showcasing what RUNY can do next year as they enter MLR.
“The exhibition season was a lot of fun,” Kelly said. “I’m excited to be back with this team. We have a chance to represent how good New York’s talent is. I expect good things to come from Rugby United New York as we join Major League Rugby.”
“Seamus grew up in New York, lives in New York, and embodies what it is to be a New Yorker,” Director of Rugby James English said. “He demands much of himself and teammates and will be at the heart of what we are building here at Rugby United New York.”