Seattle Seawolves Release
The Seattle Seawolves are excited to welcome Eagle #373 and former Rugby ATL coach Valenese ‘Nese’ Malifa to their coaching staff on a three-year deal. Malifa’s coaching focus will be on the Seattle’s backline attack and positional skills.
“I’m delighted Valenese has accepted the position of assistant coach for the next three years,” said director of rugby and head coach, Allen Clarke. “He’s someone I’ve known for some time and when he applied for the position it was an easy decision based on his personality, principles, integrity, and quality. I’ve no doubt he’ll have a significant impact on the whole squad and particularly in the development of our backs. We welcome Valenese, his wife, Olivia, and baby son, Tanumafili, to the Seawolves family.”
Malifa grew up in Samoa where he excelled in soccer and tennis, going on to represent his home country. His family moved to Auckland, New Zealand when he was 12 years old and was introduced to the game of rugby. Quickly becoming his sport of choice, Malifa represented Auckland and Samoa by age 17. Developing at the Auckland Rugby Academy from 2003-6, he took his skills stateside to Belmont Shore Rugby Club. Malifa made his test debut for the USA Men’s Eagles against England A May 2007 and played in the 2007 and 2011 IRB Rugby World Cups. Malifa has played alongside former Seawolves Setareki Tuilevuka, Roland and Shalom Suniula, as well as general manager Pate Tuilevuka, while earning his 23 caps for the US fifteens program. The flyhalf also had 18 tournament appearances on the World Rugby Sevens circuit, where he led the Men’s Eagles Sevens in scoring during the 2009-10 IRB HSBC Sevens World Series with 120 points.
Beginning his transition to coaching in 2012 after a few seasons with the Glendale Raptors, Malifa was the head coach for the USA Falcons 7s team from 2012-13. He joined the Tiger Rugby Academy’s coaching staff in 2014 and continued to sharpen his positional coaching skills. He became the head coach of the Life West women’s fifteens program in 2017 and helped lead them to a USA Club DI Championship. With the arrival of Major League Rugby, Malifa joined Rugby ATL from 2018-20 as their assistant coach, as well as their developmental team’s, Pathway 404, head coach, as the southern club prepared to enter the League. Originally set to join the Dallas Jackals alongside Seattle’s director of rugby and head coach, Allen Clarke, for the 2021 season, Malifa has pivoted to the Seawolves and is eager to contribute to the Club for years to come.
“Seattle for many years has not only proved to be a staple for young local talent and aspiring rugby players who go on to receive higher honors but also continue to develop and grow the game in America,” said Malifa. “I look forward to adding to that with the Seawolves and working with the team to put performances out there that the incredible Seawolves fans can be proud of.”