The Utah Warriors have signed John Cullen for his second Major League Rugby season. The 28-year-old lock and back row in 6’5″ and 260 lbs.
John is originally from La Mirada, California and went to La Mirada High School, graduating in 2008. He then attended Fullerton Community College from 2008-2010 and played football. He then transferred to the University of Utah to continue playing football, and attended from 2010-2013, graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology.
While at Utah, he played left tackle and started 24 games in his two years playing football and was named to the All Pac-12 Conference second team in 2011. He then tried to pursue professional football with the New York Jets and with the San Diego Chargers in 2012. Although he did make the 53 man roster, he was released toward the end of pre-season and went back to the University of Utah where he turned his attention to playing rugby under Coach Blake Burdette.
Cullen played No. 8 at Utah and in after a strong performance was selected for the 2013 Collegiate All-American tour to New Zealand. After this tour, he was invited to the Eagles camp and was selected for the November 2013 European tour. Unfortunately, he did not play.
In 2014 that changed as he was again selected for the Eagles November tour and debuted against Romania. He has 4 caps, with his last coming in 2015. He hopes that this number will change and that he wear the Eagles uniform again in representing his country. He is USA Eagle No. 457.
In 2014 Cullen joined the Seattle Saracens where he played in the team winning the Elite City 7s in June, attended an Eagles 7s high performance camp in July, helped Seattle to win the USA Rugby National Club 7s, and went to London for the World Club 7s at Twickenham Stadium, where the team won the Shield. He also played with the Seattle Saracens 15s team won the British Columbia Rugby Union Championship in 2014. John also coached while in Seattle for Atavus Rugby.
John then took a break from rugby and worked on his family farm in Montana, Turtle Creek Family Farm from June 2014 to Nov. 2015. He then enlisted in the Army National Guard as a paratrooper and is a Sergeant. He is stationed at Camp Williams in Bluffdale, Utah.
While in Utah, John has played for the Park City Haggis Rugby Club and this past year also for the Utah Selects. He also has been a member of the Army 7s team, playing in the 2017 Las Vegas Invitational and Rugbytown 7s. He also played with the Army 7s in 2018.
2018 Utah Warriors Comments
In speaking with John, he indicated that “I’m happy to be back playing rugby again in a competitive environment in Utah.” “I also hope that this will lead to earning another opportunity to represent my country with the Eagles in the future.”
Cullen indicated in the Utah Warriors release that “I’m eager and ready to do my part in helping build this program. Utah’s rugby community has been waiting for an opportunity like this so we can show what we’ve got. Having a true professional rugby environment develop in the state of Utah is not only exciting for us now, but also for the future generations of rugby players. They’ll grow up in a place where they can watch professional rugby.”
“I’m eager and ready to do my part in helping build this program. Utah’s rugby community has been waiting for an opportunity like this so we can show what we’ve got.”
Utah Warriors Head Coach added that “We’re very fortunate to have John in the squad. His strength, size, and athleticism allow him to cover multiple positions in our forward pack. He’s in great shape and will be able to make an impact from day one. His leadership and background in the military will definitely be critical for us both during game time and on the practice field. I’m excited to see him thrive in our program.”