News broke on August 18 about trades that occurred with the league posting an updated round-by-round draft list.
During the 2020 Supplemental draft, Rugby United New York, traded D’Montae Noble to Old Glory DC for their first-round pick (#6) in the 2021 MLR Collegiate Draft. They then traded their other first-round pick, #10, and their second-round pick, #23 to the Dallas Jackals for an international player spot and gave the Jackals cap considerations.
NOLA Gold was also active in trading first-round selections with the Utah Warriors with Utah getting the 9th pick and NOLA Gold 11th and cap space from Utah. NOLA Gold also swapped third-round selections with the Toronto Arrows, selecting #30 with the Arrows taking the #35 pick and cap space to Toronto.
The league generated excitement prior to the draft with the posting of U.S. and Canadian collegiate prospects who had declared for the draft. Some player highlights were posted, but links to others are needed. The Rugby Showcase also gave a chance for collegiate and other players to be noticed by MLR teams.
While it is easier to make programming adjustments for taped broadcasts, the excitement of live broadcasts can’t be matched and should be considered in future years.
Other improvements are needed by MLR for next year’s draft. Age, height, weight information should be displayed, along with clarifying if a player is considered taking a foreign player spot, or is considered North American despite being born outside the U.S. or Canada. There were a few players where domestic eligibility was not clear. Click here for this year’s draft prospects, as well as eligibility requirements.
Since there are limited foreign player spots for which visas are needed, teams have opted in many cases to pursue players who have already proven themselves in other leagues. Unless there is a plan to give limited domestic status to qualified foreign players (perhaps one year), who are eligible for the draft since attending U.S. and Canadian colleges and universities, they would need to be exceptionally talented players for teams to pursue. That is one consideration, while another is to provide the development of U.S. and Canadian players.
Should Canadians play in the U.S. or U.S. players in Canada, visas are also required.
Major League Rugby has done an outstanding job since its inception and will continue to foster the growth of North American rugby in years to come.
In 2020, the league is very pleased to have gone 99-0 with no matches canceled due to COVID-19 considerations. Other leagues can’t say that and credit the teams and the players for adhering to protocols. Another accomplishment is that the USA Rugby Men’s National Team is dominated by players from MLR. Canada also had a significant number, with Uruguay, Brazil, Chile also having league players playing national tests.
2020 MLR Collegiate Players Drafted
The 2020 Major League Rugby draft was two-round with 24 players selected. later there was a Supplemental Draft, which consisted of six collegiate players, along with Dallas jackals players, which were available due to the team postponing league entry until the 2022 season.
Americas Rugby News recaps where players were drafted, as well as the number of games played and international team selection.
2021 Major League Rugby Collegiate Draft Player Selection
|1 Dallas||Eric Naposki-Abdullah UCLA FB/Wing||14 Dallas||Aaron Gray Kutztown U Wing||27 Dallas||Calvin Gentry U Memphis Center|
|2 Houston||Emmanuel Albert Lindenwood U Flanker||15 Houston||Tinashe Muchena Lindenwood U #8 (Zimbabwe)||28 Houston||Dillon Shotwell Sam Houston State U Hooker|
|3 Seattle||Tavite Lopeti Saint Mary’s CA Center||16 Seattle||Darrell Williams Life U Wing||29 Seattle||Ethan Scott U Memphis Scrumhalf|
|4 Toronto||Logan Martin-Feek U.Victoria Fly-half||17 Toronto||Bryce Worden UBC TH/LH prop||30 NOLA||Carmen Consolino AIC fly-half|
|5 San Diego||Jonah Dietenberger Lindenwood U Lock||18 San Diego||Thomas Capriotti Penn State Hooker||31 San Diego||Dominick Iacovino Grand Canyon U|
|6 New York||Chase Schor Haskin Life U #8||19 DC||Palema Roberts Life U Center||32 DC||Labi Koi-Lardi Penn State Center|
|7 Austin||Caleb Strum U.Alabama Wing||20 Austin||Asa Carter Arkansas State Flanker/lock||33 Austin||Brandon Asbel Davenport U Flanker|
|8 NE||Cael Hodgson Lindenwood U Wing (UK)||21 NE||Anthony Adamcheck Penn State TH prop||34 NE||Zachary Bastres U. Northern Colorado Center|
|9 Utah||Joseph Backe Western Michigan #8||22 NOLA||Christian Alvarez Penn State Scrumhalf||35 Toronto||Samuel Mace U Ottawa Hooker (ENG) CAN eligible|
|10 Dallas||DeCor Davis Queens U Charlotte #8||23 Dallas||Alejandro Torres Thomas More U Flyhalf (Argentina)||36 New York||Peter Reyes Kutztown U Loosehead Prop|
|11 NOLA||George Sharpe Arkansas State Hooker||24 Utah||Connor Burns Lindenwood U Fullback (UK)||37 Utah||Emerson Prior Trent U (Canada) Loosehead Prop|
|12 Atlanta||Isaac Bales Jefferson Technical College Hooker||25 Atlanta||Coleson Warner Lindenwood Fly-half||38 Atlanta||Sean Akins Western Michigan Center|
|13 LA||Sam Klimkowski Notre Dame College Loosehead Prop||26 LA||James O’Neill U Victoria Flanker||39 LA||Gerald Lowe Kutztown U Flanker (South Africa)|