Austin Gilgronis Signs Sidney Shoop

Austin Gilgronis signed Sidney Shoop for the 2021 Major League Rugby season. The 20-year-old scrumhalf (21 in April) is 5’7″ and 165 lbs.

The Indiana native attended AC Reynolds High School in Asheville, North Carolina where he played football. He also traveled an hour to play rugby with South Greenville RFC in South Carolina. In 2017 he toured Northern Ireland with the Eagle Impact Rugby Academy, after attending one of their training camps. The following year, he attended a second EIRA camp. He also attended a rugby camp at Furman University while playing with the Chapel Hill Highlanders.

In 2018 he was recruited by the University of Arizona and in 2019 attended the Rugby Americas North Combine at Glendale, Colorado. a North American U21 team was selected for the Aspen Ruggerfest.

During the 2019-2020 season, he played with Seattle RFC in the British Premier League and planned to go to New Zealand, before the pandemic changed his plans and instead, played with 404 Rugby ATL.

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“Getting the call up is honestly just a dream come true for me,” says Sid Shoop. “I’ve got a long way to go, but I have faith and full confidence that I’m going to make Coach Harris and Coach Gerrard proud they took a chance on me.”

Shoop makes the jump from RugbyATL’s 404 Player Pathway to the AGs for the 2021 MLR season. He played in five pre-season matches for Rugby ATL’s 404 squad this fall. “I am so thankful for the opportunity RugbyATL gave me and the wonderful coaches and teammates I won’t forget,” says Shoop. “I came to [the RugbyATL coaches]with the opportunity the AGs offered me and they gave their blessing and graciously allowed me to play out the remaining matches.” 

The young scrumhalf landed on AG head coach Sam Harris’ radar on recommendation from Wallabies attack consultant, Scott Wisemantel. In 2019, Shoop put on a strong performance at the North American Rugby Combine in Glendale, CO under Scott Wisemantel’s leadership. “[Scott] said we should have a good look at Sid, and he’s obviously been a part of a good RugbyATL program,” says Sam Harris. “Watching [Sid] go to work, I think he’s got success in his cards.” 

Shoop is the third rostered scrumhalf on the AGs, but the only American. Marcelo Torrealba (Chile) and Pele Cowley (New Zealand) each started matches for the AGs in 2020, but head coach Sam Harris hinted that Shoop may have a leg up in the roster battle because of the league-mandated international roster regulations. “Having two international scrumhalfs, I expect Sidney to get lots of game time. At the very least he is almost guaranteed a bench position,” says Harris. “But I’m not pigeonholing him there, I have made it clear that if he plays to his potential he could potentially grab that starting position.”

Shoop has an opportunity to learn under two international scrumhalfs and compete for playing time. Shoop’s ultimate goal is to play for the national team. “My focus- and my job now, is to be a sponge and compete every day so I can make this squad; long-term I want to play for the Eagles in a Rugby World Cup.”

Shoop earned selection to the Eagle Impact Rugby Academy and an invitation to two All-American trials.

His father is decorated American football coach, John Shoop, who recently retired from a 24 year NFL and College Football coaching career. John is Sid’s biggest supporter and has in the last few years become a huge rugby fan. The father-son duo frequently trains together.

Sid Shoop admires his father’s love and commitment to the sport and looks forward to having him out to Bold Stadium for AG matches this season. “I want to make my father proud, I think every kid does,” says Sid. “I want to make a lot of people proud of this opportunity in Austin.”

Welcome to the AGs, Sid Shoop!

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