Rugby United New York & Chris Mattina
Rugby United New York signed Chris Mattina for the 2019Major League Rugby season. The 25-year-old, 6’2″, 210 pounds back played during 2018 for the USA Men’s Eagles Sevens team and was part of the residency program in Chula Vista, California.
Chris grew up in Manhattan’s Upper Eastside and attended Xavier High School from 2008-2011. He played football for 3 years and losing his Senior year due to a foot injury. He also played basketball and rugby. The later sports combined his love of soccer and football.
At Xavier, he played for Mike Tolkin, who later became the USA Rugby Men’s Eagles Head Coach and is the current Head Coach of RUNY. His Junior year in 2010, the team won the National High School Championship defeating Gonzaga College High School. Chris scored two tries and was named MVP.
Chris also had other interests while at Xavier, belonging to the Irish American Society. He was honored as the 2011 Kevin Higgins College Scholarship recipient.
After graduating Xavier, it was on to the University of Delaware from 2011-2016. There he was a three-time captain of the team and was the Club’s President his final year. Delaware played in the D1A Rugby East while he was there in 2011-2013 and was an independent for the 2015-2016 season. In 2012 and in 2013 the team played in the Collegiate Rugby Championship and were Plate Winners in 2013 after going 5-1 and defeating the University of Notre Dame in the Plate Final. Their only loss was to Life University.
In 2012 the team won the New York Sevens Collegiate Division going undefeated and scoring 164 points, while not yielding a single point. That propelled the team to finished third in the USA Rugby Collegiate Sevens Nationals.
The team entered Fall 2013 with high hopes, fielding two D1A sides and two DII sides. One match was played before a non-rugby event led to a five-year suspension. The suspension lasted two years before the suspension was lifted after team acceptance of responsibility.
During the two years of College rugby exile, Chris played for Wilmington RFC and for New York Athletic Club. He played rugby sevens for NYAC, Atlantis Rugby 7s, the Elite City Sevens in 2014 and at the World Cup 7s in 2014 for the New York City 7s. later he would also play for the Northeast Academy.
When adversity strikes, it is how it is handled that defines people. Chris continued at the University of Delaware through his graduation in 2016 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Kinesiology and Exercise Science. He fostered the return of the University of Delaware Men’s Rugby team in 2015-2016, becoming the Club’s president and assuming the role as captain. The team returned to the Collegiate Rugby Championship and won the Philadelphia Challenge Championship.
In 2017, Chris helped NYAC advance to the USA Rugby Division 1 Club XVs National Championship, losing to the Austin Huns. He also thrived playing rugby sevens. He went on tour to South America with the USA Falcons, playing in the Punta Del Este Sevens, in Uruguay and the Viña Del Mar Sevens in Chile. He then became a resident at Chula Vista and played in the Silicon Valley Sevens Tournament, scoring the first try for Team USA and adding another in the tournament while reaching the Tournament Final.
During 2018, he played in eight HSBC World Sevens Series Tournaments after debuting at the Sydney Sevens. This included winning the Cup Championship at the USA Sevens, the team’s second Cup title and the first on U.S. soil. He signed a professional contract with the San Diego Legion, but his USA Rugby National Sevens responsibilities did not translate to playing in a match.
Chris was also part of the extended 2018 Rugby World Cup Sevens squad and was named as the 13th man. Playing for the National team and traveling the world is an experience that few can savor.
Chris had that opportunity and now turns to play professional rugby in New York in Rugby United New York’s inaugural season in the League. Expect Chris to be a key contributor.
Rugby United New York Comments
“This past year with USA 7s has been unbelievable for my development,” Mattina told us. “But, I watched the championship game in San Diego last season, and I knew that I had to play in Major League Rugby. I want New York to play an exciting brand of rugby, and I expect us to be a playoff contender.”
“We are excited to bring Chris home to New York,” General Manager James English said. “He’s been immersed in a professional environment with the 7s team, and we are looking forward to benefitting from his experience there.”
“Chris is a talented and versatile player who is in his prime right now,” added Head Coach Mike Tolkin “Being a part of the recent 7s Rugby World Cup squad brings him in top form, and I know he is excited to get back into the XVs game in his home city.”