Atlanta MLR & Tiger Rugby, James Walker
Major League Rugby will have a team in Atlanta for the 2020 season. A partnership with Tiger Rugby was previously announced with the team and yesterday it was announced that James Walker will be the General Manager and Director of Rugby.
Recently, James has moved across country with his wife and newborn son to be closer to family in the Atlanta area and will be working to establish professional rugby in Atlanta over the next 16 months until the 2020 season and beyond.
James founded Tiger Rugby in 2007 along with business partner Paul Holmes. He also had success nationally as a coach and administratively as the head coach and President of Belmont Shore Rugby Club winning three national championships. He was also a driving force behind the creation of the Pacific Rugby Premiership, after failed attempts by the Super League and Elite Cup to create a stable national club competition, exactly the kind of experience we will be looking to leverage as we build out our rugby community engagement plans.
More on James Walker
james Walker is from Cape Town, South Africa. He is a graduate of Kennesaw State University, which he attended from 1999-2002, obtaining a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration in Marketing.
He also has been a successful businessman as the owner and director of a technology and consulting company from 1997-2017, as well as founding Tiger Rugby along with Paul Holmes in 2007.
Both Walker and Holmes are proud of their rugby accomplishments and the Tiger Rugby Academy was designated an Olympic Development Academy by USA Rugby in 2013. Tiger Rugby has worked with athletes and clubs in the U.S. and abroad and maintains an elite coaching staff and has expanded to run an Academy in South Africa. The coaches were also part of IMG High-Performance Camp in Florida in 2017.
Tiger Rugby has been to numerous tournaments over the years and in 2018 participated in the Hong Kong 10s, the Melrose 7s, and the Rugbytown 7s.
Walker also represents Try Rugby USA, which was launched by the British Council in conjunction with Premiership Rugby in 2012. Tiger Rugby also has strong links with Play Rugby USA. I had the opportunity to discuss Tiger Rugby with him on September 6, 2017, at a Freinds of the British Council rugby clinic that was sponsored by Premiership Rugby.
James is also civic minded and was President of Tackling Cancer from 2009-2017. He reluctantly had to relinquish those duties as the demands of Tiger Rugby were escalating.
Atlanta MLR Comments
Walker said that “I am very eager to get stuck into the process of building this team in every area. We have a fantastic back-office of highly motivated and qualified individuals, and I look forward to bringing my experience to bear. It’s important to note that I will also have a lot of help from the rest of the Tiger Rugby family who comes with as a package deal, in addition to some fantastic coaches that we are in the process of hiring. There is no doubt in our minds that the quality of athletes in the South will give us a definite competitive advantage in time. We look forward to helping the local and regional rugby community take their game to the next level.”
About Atlanta MLR
Atlanta MLR (Interim name) is one of two latest expansion teams in addition to the Boston Freejacks, to be named by Major League Rugby. Atlanta MLR will be looking to engage the explosive local sports market which has lately seen phenomenal success with their new MLS team Atlanta United. A move by the Atlanta Braves to Marietta and the brand new Mercedes Benz stadium have seen a huge surge in attendance for all the local professional teams. With the Super Bowl scheduled in Atlanta for 2019, there is already growing interested in the latest professional team to the city. For more information please register for our newsletter at www.atlmlr.com or email [firstname.lastname@example.org](mailto:email@example.com) We can also be found on social media on twitter @atlmlr
About Tiger Rugby
Tiger Rugby started as a touring team in 2007, with the intention of exposing young, up and coming players to the highest level of competition at international tournaments. Over the years, we noticed that our approach to the game struck a transcending chord regardless of which language was being spoken. Tiger players have always been selected as much by who they are as people, as their ability to play on the field. Tiger has and intends to continue to develop players who are true ambassadors for the game. Our family has grown to include rugby 7s greats from South Africa, England, Wales, Kenya, and New Zealand, as well as the more than 50 U.S Eagles and 5 Olympians that have proudly worn the Tiger jersey. For more information please visit us at www.tigerrugby.com or on all social media channels @tigerrugby.