The Dallas Jackals signed Cristian Rodriguez for the 2021 season. The 23-year-old scrumhalf, who has played fullback and wing (24 in January) is 5’6″ and 170 lbs.
Cristian will play on the Ohio Aviators at the World Tens Series in Bermuda, which is being held October 24-November 7. Starting October 24th, Cristian will join the Ohio Aviators to represent the USA in the World Tens Series in Bermuda.
He is from Hawaiian Gardens, California in LA County, and was introduced to the Alternatives to Gang Membership (ATGM) program in elementary school. ATGM’s main mission is to provide an outlet through rugby for at-risk youth and he and his friends would watch the older kids and dream of playing like them.
Cristian began playing rugby through ATGM in middle school and continued for his four years at Artesia High School. H“Rugby was a sport me and my friends played for fun as an extra sport,” but soon it would open up many opportunities for him. During his four years, his high school team was competitive around Southern California and won many tournaments and championships.
During his senior year in 2015, Cristian played in a tournament in San Diego. His performance caught the attention of the head coach from Lindenwood University who ended up offering him a scholarship after watching him in one game.
Cristian also was an All-Star for the Eagle Impact Academy at the Victoria 7s in 2015.
He attended Lindenwood University in 2015-2019, graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in Recreation, Sport, and Tourism Management. He was the first in his family to attend college, and said that “I was given the opportunity to learn and get better while gaining friendships that I’ll cherish for life.”
While at Lindenwood, he won three 7s National Championships, two Collegiate Rugby Championships, and was a three-time All-American in both rugby 15s and 7s. In addition, in 2019 Cristian was the recipient of the Prusmack Award which is awarded to the top male and female 7s player in the U.S.
While in college, he played for Lindenwood in winning the Red Bull Uni 7s U.S. Championship, which earned the team a spot in the International Championship Final in Bath, England. He also represented the U.S. in 2017 on the U20 National Team at the World Rugby Trophy competition, and in 2017-2019 on the U23s 15s and 7s sides.
In 2017, Cristian began playing for the Belmont Shore Rugby Club who he competes with presently. He has played for the team in the USA Rugby Club Sevens Nationals, and in 2018 won the Championship while playing for Bulldog Rugby, which was coached by US high-performance coach in 7s and 15s, Steve Lewis. Steve recently coached the Jamaica Men’s and Women’s 7s National Team and is the General Manager of Rugby United New York.
Cristian also has played rugby 7s for the Collegiate All-Americans at the Rugbytown 7s and is a dynamic player.
Cristian has given back to his community as a rugby coach of the Hawaiian Gardens Youth Rugby team since 2016 and in 2019 became the head coach. He also has been a Rookie Rugby guest coach at their camps from 2017-2019 in Missouri.
The Dallas Jackals have indicated that Cristian says, “I’m most excited to be a Jackal to be a part of a new and exciting team in the MLR.” He continued, “with the progress and initiative the team has taken in the short amount of time we’ve been introduced to the league, it’s exciting to see it moving forward.”
He looks forward to learning from the coaching staff and players, and says “I’ll be looking to soak in all the knowledge to improve as a player and teammate.” Cristian will be moving to Dallas with his girlfriend Annakaren and their Shar-Pei Gloria. Welcome to the pack Cristian!