NOLA Gold signed Harley Wheeler for the 2022 Major League Rugby season. The 24-year-old wing/center (25 in April) is 5’11” and 196 lbs.
Harley Wheeler played with Rugby ATL during the 2020 season and was contracted through 2022, but was temporarily released to pursue his Olympic dreams in 2021. Although he was not included on Team USA for the Olympics, he did play for the Eagles Sevens Team, making his debut at Hooker for USA 7s during the 2019 Pan-American games. In 2020, he started in 4 of the 5 matches for Rugby ATL in the inaugural season.
Harley was born in Long Beach, California, and raised in Knoxville, Tennesee. He began playing rugby at the age of 14 for South Doyle High School after his brother was involved in the sport. Following his graduation, he attended Life University and developed as a player under the direction of Life University Head Coach, Colton Cariaga. He attended Life University from 2016-2019, earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and Management.
He helped lead the team to three USA Rugby D1A XV National Championships and four straight appearances in the title game. In 2018 he was named the Rudy Scholz Award winner, USA Rugby’s award for the outstanding collegiate player.
Harley worked his way through the USA Rugby development pathway playing age-grade rugby with the
U20 Men’s XVs against Canada and played with the Men’s Collegiate All-Americans against the Glendale Raptors in 2018, as well as at the Rugbytown Sevens that year. He was a 2018 and 2019 1st team Collegiate All-American (XV & 7s).
Harley played for the USA Falcons in the South American tour to Uruguay and Chile. He also played with the Eagles Sevens in the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, Peru, the AF International Sevens in Germany, and the Rugby X in England in 2019. Most recently he was named to Mike Friday’s USA 7’s Eagles roster for the HSBC Sevens Series in Dubai next weekend.
NOLA Gold Comments
“Harley has been a player we have been scouting for a few years now since he was a College All American. He is an aggressive, quick-twitch athlete with innate competitiveness. He defends his position very well and on the attack, he is an “all heart” finisher. He is a great teammate and we are excited to have him in the Big Easy.” – Ryan Fitzgerald, GM