Rugby United New York will have Ben Foden back for the 2021 Major League Rugby season. The 35-year-old fullback is 6’0″ and 205 lbs.
Ben started all five matches for RUNY in 2020 and spent time promoting the team in numerous events in the community.
Ben was one of the leading MLR signings in 2019 and his leadership on and off the pitch is invaluable. Summer 2019, Ben participated in X-Factor with fellow rugby players Thom Evans and Levi Davis.
During 2019 Ben played in 16 matches and was tied with Nate Brakeley with 1,200 minutes played. He carried the ball 119 times for 1,273 meters to lead the team. He was dangerous with ball in hand, had a team-leading 9 linebreaks, tackle breaks (10), and offloads (22).
Ben was born in Chester and attended Bishop Heber High School in Malpas, Cheshire before transferring to Bromsgrove School.
Ben played for Cheshire and North of England U16s, and England U16s. He then went on to play for England U19s, England Counties, and England A.
Foden started his professional career in 2004 with the Gallagher Premiership’s Sale Sharks and moved to the Northampton Saints in 2008, spending the 10 seasons with the club. Over that time, he made over 250 appearances across all competitions, while finding the try zone 59 times. Since 2019 he has played with Rugby United New York in Major League Rugby.
England National Team
Ben earned 34 caps for the England national team between 2009 and 2013, starting in 29 of those matches and scoring 7 tries. He started every match during the 2011 Rugby World Cup and showed his finishing ability by crossing into the try zone twice. Foden made his last appearance for the national team against the New Zealand All Blacks on November 16, 2013.
Ben married Jackie Belanoff Smith in August 2019 and has a daughter Farrah. He was previously married to Una Healy, of the British-Irish girl group, The Saturdays, and shares custody of his two children Aoife and Tadhg with his ex-wife.
Rugby United New York: Ben Foden 2019-2021
There was excitement in the league when Ben’s signing was the most significant one to date in 2019. The 2020 truncated season was disappointing as it ended after only five matches. All the hard work was dashed due to COVID-19.
The league keeps improving each year and the initial 2021 signings by RUNY show the other teams how serious they are about claiming the MLR Shield in 2021. Will that happen? That is unknown, but the team certainly has that as the goal in planning for the season. With hard work from players, coaches, and the backroom, Ben may exit 2021 with his fairy tale ending and celebrate with the MLR Shield in hand.
It’s been a storied career for Ben. He will be savoring the 2021 season and the memories it brings. When he hangs up his boots at the end of 2021, it will be the memories of camaraderie between mates and of the competition that will be cherished.
Rugby United New York 2019 Comments
“We’re absolutely delighted Ben has signed for us,” Rugby United New York General Manager James English said. “As one of the most influential and talented fullbacks in the Premiership over the last decade, the opportunity of signing him was too good to turn down. Ben brings a wealth of premiership and international experience to Rugby United New York. His signing is a real statement of intent by the club. We’re looking forward to the impact he can have on the field, culturally, and off the field, aiding in the development of young talent in the tri-state area. We look forward to welcoming Ben to New York.”
“I’m excited to announce that I’ll be joining MLR next season with Rugby United New York,” Foden said. “It’s a new franchise in the most exciting city in the world. After my experience playing in the English Premiership for 14 seasons, the opportunity to broaden horizons, in both a playing sense, as well as taking a step into the coaching role, seems like the right move. I fully believe America to be the next big rugby playing nation and can’t wait to help develop young talent through the professional ranks. My family and I have always wanted to venture over across the pond to America, and now have the opportunity, which we look forward to seizing with both hands.”
Ben Foden 2021 Instagram Comments: @ben_foden
“After last season was cut short, the only outcome I thought fitting was to put pen to paper with Rugby United New York in what will be my final year as a professional rugby player! I’ve loved every minute over here in the Big Apple and I’m excited to see where this team can go in the 2021 season. Loving the ambition of the club from the back room, coaching staff, and players signing/re-signing, hopefully, it’ll be the fairy tale ending I’m looking for! Let’s go RUNY Roosters!