Utah Warriors signed Joe Mano, who played with the Warriors Selects in the Fall, for the 2021 Major League Rugby season. The 25-year-old fullback/wing (26 in July) is 5’11” and 200 lbs.
Joe was born in Hawaii but grew up in Pago Pago, American Samoa. He attended Fa’asaō Marist High School, playing football, soccer, rugby, volleyball throughout high school.
Joe began playing rugby in American Samoa in 2008, participating at our local tournaments Laulii MoliOleAva. The team was invited to play for Coral Coast 7’s in Sigatoka Fiji.
In 2013 he moved to Alaska and played for Alaska Green Dragons until 2017 when was invited by Coach Mere Baker to play for Tulsa RFC.
In 2018 he played at the Las Vegas Invitational with Stars Rugby Sevens. He then flew back to Alaska before moving to Utah in July 2018 and joining the Salt Lake City Gladiators with a goal to play for the Utah Warriors.
In 2019, he was invited to play for Old Toe at the Cape Fear 7s from Jacko AhHoy, a former Manu Samoa player. Later that summer, he played for SoCal Griffins in Rugbytown 7s, which was coached by Peter Sio, a former USA Eagles, and Rhino Rashidian. This led to an invitation to play for Talavalu (American Samoa 7s) by coach Tommy Elisara at the Oceania 7s in Suva Fiji, where he competed against some HSBC Core Teams.
Following the trip to Fiji, he was contacted by the Utah Warriors to play this past Fall with the Warriors Selects, coached by Brandon Sparks, Seans Davies, Shawn Pittman, and Vaha. Following the season, he was one of seven players named to the Utah Warriors extended training squad. His performance at both earned him a spot on the Warriors 2021 MLR squad.
Joe indicated that “I’ve been coached by so many experienced and good coaches/leaders and players. They have helped me a lot and made me the player I am today. I thank God for every new opportunity that this day will bring.”
Joe’s contributions to this article were extensive. He is another talented player to move through the Utah Warriors pathway.