The LA Giltinis signed Mika Kruse through the 2022 Major League Rugby season. The 22-year-old center/wing (23 in June) is 6’1″ and 220 lbs.
Mika started all five matches on the right-wing for the Colorado Raptors in 2020. During the 2019 season, Mika played 870 minutes in 14 matches and scored 3 tries. He also carried the ball 76 times for 722 meters and made 60 tackles. He also had 6 linebreaks, 5 tackle breaks, and 5 offloads.
The Glendale Raptors initially signed Mika Kruse to their Glendale Merlins Academy team in 2017. He moved up rapidly and was added to the Raptors side in 2018 playing center and wing.
The 20-year-old, 6’1″, 210-pound athlete also played in August against the USA Rugby Collegiate All-Americans. His talent was recognized and he was included in the USA Rugby Selects squad for the Americas Pacific Challenge. That led to his inclusion on the Eagles training squad for the November 2018 tests. He was selected to the 23 man squad against the Maori All Blacks and entered the match as a reserve.
Kruse is from Fresno, California, and attended Bullard High School, where he played rugby for five years beginning in 2010. The Fresno Bee noted that “The all-around athlete grew up playing football, basketball, and track, but by age 12 discovered that rugby was his passion.”
In 2014 Kruse was named to the Northern California All-Star team. He also was a USA High School All-American at flyhalf and participated in the Under-17s tour to Europe.
LA Giltinis Comments
A clear policy to sign the best of California’s young rugby talent has snared explosive winger Mika Kruse as the latest signing for the LA Giltinis.
Today’s announcement of a two-year deal is another positive step to building a sustainable club that blends top homegrown stars with dynamic international players on the roster.
“I’m a kid from California playing professional rugby and proof you can do it as a local kid from a lesser-known place on the map,” Kruse said.
“To be playing in Los Angeles so close to home is very important to me and there’s a crowd right there as supporters in my family and friends.
“Getting to start fresh as a club and say who we are as the Giltinis is a big deal and you want to be a part of making big waves straight away.”
Kruse’s father Cedric saw a poster advertising the school rugby club, Bullard Knights when he was at Bullard High School in Fresno, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Touring France and Belgium in 2015 with the High School All-Americans (Under-17s) team quickly hooked Kruse on the amazing international scope of rugby.
“That was a big opportunity early in my rugby career and being able to learn from the international players and coaches at the Giltinis is going to be awesome,” Kruse said.
“I have had three seasons in MLR and I’ve learned a lot in that time.
“When I started, I could only focus on what I had to do but now I see the part I can play in the bigger picture of the game.
“The MLR is getting immensely better every season.”
Off the field, the musical Kruse is going to be popular with his ukulele at team gatherings.
“Mika was our first pick (in the dispersal draft when the Raptors folded) because he’s big, athletic, can jump and catch and there’s so much upside as he keeps developing,” Giltinis head coach Darren Coleman said.
“He’s got a big spinnaker with that hair of his and we just see his potential as a try scorer with a well-rounded game.”