The Dallas Jackals signed Michael Matarazzo for the 2022 inaugural Major League Rugby season. He was drafted 8th overall by Rugby ATL in the 2020 MLR Collegiate Draft and looks to expand his career in Dallas.
The 23-year-old lock/No.8 (24 in May) is 6’5″ and 240 lbs. He played 40 minutes in one start for the Ratlers making his MLR debut in the final week of 2021 play against the New England Free Jacks. In August, he was selected to compete on the U23 7s National team at Rugbytown 7s.
He attended the University of Notre Dame in 2016 and was introduced to rugby. His athletic ability, work ethic, and leadership qualities contributed to his rapid development in the sport of rugby. Following his Sophomore year, Mike was named an Honorable Mention All American served as team captain his junior and senior seasons, and was the Club President his senior year. He will be the first Notre Dame graduate to play professionally in the United States league, with Nick Civetta, class of 2011, the team’s first professional, who played first in Italy and currently in France, as well as with the USA National Team.
Scott Lawrence, Head Coach of Rugby ATL after drafting Mike, “We couldn’t be more delighted with our very first draft pick. Mike exemplifies exactly what we’re looking to develop on and off the field.” Coach Hickey on Mike’s selection, “I’m incredibly proud of Mike! Rugby ATL is getting an outstanding athlete and an even better young man. Coach Lawrence and his staff are world-class, and there are few environments in the United States as well equipped to continue to further Mike’s growth and development, both on and off the field than what they’ve established in Atlanta.”
Prior to the 2021 Major League Rugby season, Mike competed for Durham University of England, where he accepted a scholarship for his graduate studies. This will provide Mike a great opportunity to develop ahead of the next MLR season, and continue his academic career before joining Rugby ATL full-time next spring.
Dallas Jackals Comments
With strong roots in New York and Texas being one of the states he’s never visited, Matarrazo looks forward to experiencing the Texas culture and all it has to offer. He says, “Everyone knows how passionate Dallas sports fans are and I am excited to witness that passion firsthand at Choctaw Stadium.”
Matarazzo says one of the most exciting things about joining Dallas in the first year, “is the opportunity to build a culture from the ground up. We will be able to establish our own standards to lead Dallas into a winning rugby future.” He continued, “I believe the Jackals are building a special program in year one. The Jackals leadership values the development of young players and it will be a place I can showcase my growth as a rugby player.”
Welcome to the Pack Michael!