Glendale Raptors signed Zach Fenoglio for the 2019 Major League Rugby season. Zach is 29-years-old, 6’2″, and 240 lbs.
Zach has balanced family, full-time employment, and rugby for several years. He made a conscious decision to step aside from USA Rugby National team consideration after the 2015 Rugby World Cup despite being young. He still is among the best hookers in the U.S.
Zach attended Regis Jesuit High School in Aurora, Colorado from 2003-2007 and played football and rugby. He then went to Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles from 2007-2011. He played rugby there and graduated with honors with a B.S. Degree in Natural Sciences. He also studied abroad at University College Cork in 2009.
Zach progressed through the USA Rugby age-grade system, playing for both the Under-19s and Under-20s between 2007-2009 and for the Collegiate All-Americans in 2010 and 2011 as a first team selection. He also was a first team All-Conference Selection for 3 years.
Following his college graduation, he played for a year with Belmont Shore and has played with Glendale since 2012, and was captain for many years. In 2016 he was the captain of the Denver Stampede and has played professionally for the Raptors in the 2018 and now 2019 Major League Rugby seasons.
During the 2018 MLR season, Zach split his playing time at hooker and flanker based on team needs. He was the third leading MLR try scorer with six tries.
Zach is Eagle 436. He has 17 caps and made his debut against Russia on November 9, 2012. His last appearance was against Japan on October 11, 2015 at the 2015 Rugby World Cup. Standing with the team with the National Anthem playing prior to the RWC match against Samoa is one of his best rugby memories.
Zach has given back to the sport through his coaching at Regis Jesuit High School where he was employed between 2013-2016. He also has coached at Nike Sports Camps.
Zach is perhaps at the crossroads of his rugby career. He is married to Alyssa and has long-time friends on the team that have retired or that are nearing retirement. He has enjoyed playing with them and spends time socializing with them and their families. He also has a full-time job with Stryker Sports Medicine since 2016. So far, his relationship with the Raptors has been a strong one. Both he and the team have mapped out a plan that worked for both. Zach could play for the USA Rugby National team and could likely be part of the 2019 Rugby World Cup squad, but the cost would be great for both his family and his career.
Athletes sometimes have a difficult time stepping away from a spot that has meant so much in their lives. Zach has already made a transition balancing family, career, and athlete goals. Zach still does the training that he can be an 80-minute athlete based on team needs. Time will tell how long he decides to keep up that journey. There is no question, however, that when he is on the pitch, that he is a fierce competitor and excels in both set pieces and around the pitch and could continue with his high level of performance for many years to come.