The Seattle Seawolves signed former Ulster Academy and Connacht center Kieran Joyce for the 2021 Major League Rugby season. The 24-year-old is 6’1″ and 220 lbs.
Kieran is originally from Solihull in Warwickshire, England, and Is of Irish heritage as his parents are from Connemara and Donegal. He began playing rugby for Solihull School and Old Silihllians RFC. He progressed through the Irish Exiles system to earn Ireland U18 representation, against Ulster in 2013 and the Exiles tour of Italy, England, and France in 2014.
After the Easter tour, he moved over to Belfast when he was 18., and joined the Ulster Academy for the 2016/2017 season, and was a regular feature for Ulster A. He also played for Malone/Ulster in the First Trust Senior Cup for Malone against Ballynahinch. In 2015 he was a member of the Ireland U19s rugby sevens squad, as well as played for the Ulster U20s.
He then signed a three-year contract with Connacht Rugby 2017-2019. Joyce captained Connacht A and had several senior caps, playing 8 times, starting 7 times, over the first two years in the British and Irish Cup. While still in the academy, he played for Connacht’s senior side in the team’s European Challenge Cup win over French side Perpignan in December 2018, as well as a match against Brive.
Kieran attended Queen’s University Belfast from 2015-2017 in a Bachelor of Applied Science program in Business Management and Marketing. He and his older brother Conor, who played for Ulster and the English Championship club, Jersey, founded Noggin Sport in 2017. The business, which produces headwear, provides funding for mental health projects across the U.K. and Ireland.
Kieran has already played in the Cara Cup against the New England Free Jacks during their 2019 exhibition season.
Seattle Seawolves Comments
Joyce can pivot between a strong ball carrier and a key decision-maker in the backline, acting as a dual-threat in the midfield. He brings even more professional experience to an exciting Seattle backline.
“I’m looking forward to being part of an excellent organization with an incredible fan base that is extremely passionate about Rugby. The Seawolves are a championship-winning team and I can’t wait to contribute as much as I can to ensure more future success,” said Joyce. “Plus, I can’t wait to attend an NFL game over in Seattle! I’ve been an American football fan for years and I’d love to see the 12th man in full voice.”