Rugby United New York added Julio César Giraldo for the 2020 Major League Rugby season. The 24-year-flanker is 5’11” and 218 lbs.
Julio was born in Medellin, Colombia, but raised in Monteria. He attended the Colegio Británico de Montería from 1998-2010 and then the Windsor Royal School in Monteria, graduating in 2013.
He started playing rugby in 2011 for the Caporos Rugby Club, which had few numbers, no budget, no quality field, and often was led by player-coaches, like him. “Despite all the circumstances, the team often managed to surprise big teams around the region and defeated them in games full of courage and motivation”, since that was really the way we were winning games.
In 2011 Julio also played for Colombia Under-18s side and continued with the team through 2013. The team won one South American B Championship while being runners-up the other two years. He hoped that in 2014 that he would be selected for the Senior National Team, however, injuries precluded his selection.
In 2015, he moved to New York City where some of his family lived and played with Old Blue. He briefly played in France in 2016-2017, first with Toulouse Electrogaz Club Rugby (TEC), which is perhaps a 7th división team. Based on his performance he had a trial with Clamart Rugby 92 in federal 2 ( 4th division). His application for a green card was approved in the interim and he returned to New York to work. He also re-joined Old Blue and has continued with the club since then.
In 2014 while in Colombia, Julio majored in Business Administration, but the time constraints of balancing school, work, and rugby were demanding. In 2020 he has resumed his education at La Guardia College in the Business Administration program.
When he is not involved with his education or with rugby, he enjoys going to the gym, spending time with his dog, or going to the movies. In the rugby off-season, he plays soccer and does boxing training.
Julio played in the final pre-season match last Saturday for Rugby United New York against the New York Barbarians as a member of the training squad.
Julio’s signing with Rugby United New York is a historic occasion, as he is the first player from Colombia to play in Major League Rugby.