Austin Elite Rugby signed Chris Schade for a second Major League Rugby season. Chris is 28-years-old, 5’10”, and 250+ lbs.
Chris grew up in Canfield, Ohio, near Youngstown. He went to Canfield High School from 2005-2008 and played hockey and football. He then attended Ohio University from 2008-2012. He played rugby and helped the team advance to the D2 Final in 2011. The following year, the team moved to D1AA. He captained the side and was named to the first all MAC team in 2012. he also was selected to the Ohio Collegiate Selects every year, but was not able to attend tournaments due to scheduling conflicts.
His inclusion on Ohio Selects led to an introduction to Paul Holmes, who convinced him to play with 1823 in the summers. He competed for 1823 from 2010-2017 with the team appearing multiple times in USA Club 7s Nationals with their best finish in 4th place.
Chris graduated from Ohio University with a BBA in Marketing & Management and with a Minor in Communications. He then moved to Columbus and started playing for Scioto Valley from 2012-present and was also in the first Tiger Academy group in Columbus. Paul recruited a number of college and recent college graduates to obtain jobs in Columbus while playing for 1823. He trained with the Academy until the Columbus location closed in 2017.
Chris also went on his first Atlantis Rugby Tour to Trinidad and Tobago 2014, Barbados in 2016, and at the Las Vegas Invitational twice. he also played with 1823/Tiger Academy a number of other times.
He made his professional rugby debut with the Ohio Aviators in 2016, played with Burnside RFC in the Christchurch New Zealand Metro Division 1 Hawkins Cup in 2017, and Austin Elite from 2018 to the present.
He also played representative rugby with the USA Rugby South Panthers against the Capital Selects in 2016 and in the Savannah tournament. His ties to the Tiger Rugby North Carolina Academy lead him to play with the USA south
Chris began playing rugby as a flanker and later at hooker at Scioto Valley. “Joe Taufete’e also played with the team, but even when I hooked and he propped, he threw in. Otherwise, I would play #7 and he would hook.” With the Ohio Aviators Chris made the transition to hooker. With Austin Elite Rugby in 2018, the team needed additional props and this led to him playing loosehead, as well as at hooker based on team need. He even played one match at tighthead, although that proved challenging.
In 2018 he was about 230 lbs throughout the season, worked hard on technique and held his own in the scrums. In 2019 the team plans on having him play loosehead prop, so he is currently around 250+ lbs. Until some of the international players arrive, he also has played hooker.
Chris work experience includes a sales internship in South Carolina one summer. Later he was employed for Randstad, a large staffing agency, in Columbus, Christchurch, and in then in Austin, Texas. He needed to leave the organization when Austin Elite Rugby switched to a full-time schedule. Currently, he is involved with team apparel sales with Belief Sports USA.
Playing Major League Rugby is a balancing act as many players either maintain full-time jobs or balance playing professionally with additional employment.
Special thanks to Chris for his major contributions to this article. I wish him well as he continues playing the game that he loves.