The LA Giltinis signed Visesioparapa Leasi for the 2021 Major League Rugby season. The 23-year-old wing (24 in February) is 6’2″ and 243 lbs.
Visesio was born in Ili’ili in American Samoa before moving with his family to Samoa. He attended Church College Vaiola – The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and in 2015 played for Samoan Schools against the Australian Barbarians, and Samoa’s bronze medal-winning Youth Commonwealth Games team in rugby sevens. He was a non-traveling reserve for the Samoa U20s in 2016. He also played volleyball in school.
Visesio played for Belmont Shore Sevens in 2018 at the USA Club Nationals in New York and for the Belmont Shore XVs since 2018.
LA Giltinis Comments
The LA Giltinis have added the dynamic Samoan X-factor of winger Vise Leasi to lift their try-scoring capabilities for the Major League Rugby season.
Leasi was raised from the age of eight in Manu Samoa but was born in the tiny village of Ili’ili in American Samoa so he holds an American Samoan passport plus a US visa and residency card.
“I’m more than excited. Playing rugby professionally is something I’ve really wanted to do,” Leasi said.
“I was a track and field guy and seen as a kind of quick so I started playing sevens back in Samoa.
“I was a skinny, skinny 200lb back in my days with the Samoan Under-20s so I’ve really worked hard on building my size and strength to go through the defence.
“Now I get the chance to really improve my standard with some great coaching at the Giltinis.”
“Having played in Los Angeles, I know how many fans are already into their rugby so support for the Giltinis is going to be big,” Leasi said.
“I have family and friends in LA who want to get to games and it really will mean a lot to play for the city and my family.
“I want to keep showing my rugby skills and go as far as I can.”
Leasi is eligible for USA Eagles recognition in the years ahead because his Under-20s and sevens experiences in Samoa did not cross the threshold tying him to selection for that country.
He has been working in construction while playing an abbreviated 2020 season for the Tacoma Nomads in Washington.
“Vise is an exciting prospect of Samoan power and speed,” said Giltinis head coach Darren Coleman.
“In the footage, I’ve seen, he looks fast and he has footwork. All those traits combined are a dangerous combination.
“He has a lot to learn but from my conversations with him he is saying all the right things about having the work ethic to develop.”
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