Rugby United New York re-signed Chris Mattina for the 2021 Major League Rugby season. The 27-year-old center, who turns 28 at the end of March, is 6’2″ and 215 lbs.
Chris played 400 minutes in his five starts for RUNY during the COVID-19 shortened season. He then began the CM Rugby Academy, working with many athletes in the New York area and with Centaurs Rugby Club in Singapore.
Chris, who is Rooster #14, scored the team’s first Major League Rugby try in the 2019 season opener against the San Diego Legion. He played wherever the team needed him, slotting in at fly-half, inside-center, outside-center, wing, and fullback. He played 953 minutes, starting in 12 matches, carried the ball 59 times for 564 meters, and scored four tries. He was one of RUNY’s leading scorers with 41 points.
Following the 2019 MLR season, Chris played for Life West at the Rugbytown 7s and for NYAC in the American Premiership Rugby in the Fall.
Chris played for the USA Men’s Eagles Sevens team and was part of the residency program in Chula Vista, California during 2018. He also signed with San Diego Legion, but his Eagles Sevens’ responsibilities did not lead to his playing during the regular season.
Chris grew up in Manhattan’s Upper Eastside and attended Xavier High School from 2008-2011. He played football for 3 years despite losing his Senior year due to a foot injury. He also played basketball and rugby. The later sports combined his love of soccer and football.
At Xavier, he played for Mike Tolkin, who later became the USA Rugby Men’s Eagles Head Coach and was the Head Coach of RUNY in 2019. In his Junior year in 2010, the team won the National High School Championship defeating Gonzaga College High School. Chris scored two tries and was named MVP.
Chris also had other interests while at Xavier, belonging to the Irish American Society. He was honored as the 2011 Kevin Higgins College Scholarship recipient.
After graduating from Xavier, I was on to the University of Delaware from 2011-2016. There he was a three-time captain of the team and was the Club’s President his final year. Delaware played in the D1A Rugby East while he was there in 2011-2013 and was an independent for the 2015-2016 season. In 2012 and 2013 the team played in the Collegiate Rugby Championship and were Plate Winners in 2013 after going 5-1 and defeating the University of Notre Dame in the Plate Final. Their only loss was to Life University.
In 2012 the team won the New York Sevens Collegiate Division going undefeated and scoring 164 points, while not yielding a single point. That propelled the team to finished third in the USA Rugby Collegiate Sevens Nationals.
The team entered Fall 2013 with high hopes, fielding two D1A sides and two DII sides. One match was played before a non-rugby event led to a five-year suspension. The suspension lasted two years before the suspension was lifted after team acceptance of responsibility.
During the two years of College rugby exile, Chris played for Wilmington RFC and New York Athletic Club. He played rugby sevens for NYAC, Atlantis Rugby 7s, the Elite City Sevens in 2014, and at the World Cup 7s in 2014 for the New York City 7s. later he would also play for the Northeast Academy.
When adversity strikes, it is how it is handled that defines people. Chris continued at the University of Delaware through his graduation in 2016 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Kinesiology and Exercise Science. He fostered the return of the University of Delaware Men’s Rugby team in 2015-2016, becoming the Club’s president and assuming the role of captain. The team returned to the Collegiate Rugby Championship and won the Philadelphia Challenge Championship.
In 2017, Chris helped NYAC advance to the USA Rugby Division 1 Club XVs National Championship, losing to the Austin Huns. He also thrived playing rugby sevens. He went on tour to South America with the USA Falcons, playing in the Punta Del Este Sevens, in Uruguay and the Viña Del Mar Sevens in Chile. He then became a resident at Chula Vista and played in the Silicon Valley Sevens Tournament, scoring the first try for Team USA and adding another in the tournament while reaching the Tournament Final.
During 2018, he played in eight HSBC World Sevens Series Tournaments after debuting at the Sydney Sevens. This included winning the Cup Championship at the USA Sevens, the team’s second Cup title, and the first on U.S. soil. He signed a professional contract with the San Diego Legion, but his USA Rugby National Sevens responsibilities did not translate to playing in a match. Chris also played with Schuylkill River at the New York 7s.
Chris was also part of the extended 2018 Rugby World Cup Sevens squad and was named as the 13th man. Playing for the National team and traveling the world is an experience that few can savor.
Chris had that opportunity and now has had two seasons of professional rugby in New York under his belt. He was a key contributor for Rugby United New York in 2019 and 2020 for the team.
DJCoil Rugby Interview
Doug Coil interview of Chris Mattina at MCU Park, March 24, 2019. (Eagles 7s, challenges of being a utility starter, & traveling)
Chris Mattina 2019-2020 RUNY Highlights