LA Giltinis signed Joseph Soosenmea Taufete’e for the remainder of the 2022 Major League Rugby season. The 29-year-old tighthead prop/hooker is 6’0″ and 275 lbs.
Joe was born in Nu’uuli, American Samoa, before moving to the San Francisco Bay area with his family when he was 5 years old. His hometown became Vallejo, California, and he attended Garden Grove High School, before transferring to Vallejo High School, where he played youth football and basketball.
He attended Santa Ana College in 2010 and 2011, playing football for the Dons as a defensive tackle, and made multiple All=Conference teams before an ACL injury had him leaving football and playing rugby for the Belmont Shore Under-19s in 2011, and the senior side from 2012 to 2013.
Joe played rugby in New Zealand in 2014 with Sciota Valley and Otorohanga Rugby Football Clubs before making his USA National Team debut at the 2015 Rugby World Cup against South Africa at London on October 7. He would also play at the American Rugby Championships in 2016, 2017, and 2019, the 2019 Rugby World Cup. The last of his 33 tests (24 starts) was against Uruguay in Montevideo, Uruguay on October 9, 2021.
Joe established a new record in 2019 for the most tries by a tight 5 player in international tests, surpassing Ireland’s Keith Wood with 20 tries, and has 21 tries to date.
In 2016 through 2020, he played 36 matches, starting 27, and scoring two tries, with the Worcester Warriors in the English Premiership. He then signed a two-year contract with Lyon for 2020 through 2022. He recently asked for early termination of his contract with Lyon to return to the United States to play Major League Rugby.