The New England Free Jacks signed Zachary Bastres through the 2024 Major League Rugby season. The 23-year-old center/wing is 6’2″ and 200 lbs.
Zach played in four matches, starting one, and scoring two tries during the 2022 season for the Free Jacks. He was originally signed to a development contract after being selected as the 34th pick in the 2022 MLR Collegiate Draft.
Zach is from Erie, Colorado, and had primarily been a tennis and football player up until his high school years at Monarch High School. He began playing rugby his Sophomore year and the team won the D1 State Championship his senior year in 2017. He also was selected to the Colorado All-State team all three years of his high school career.
He then attended the University of Northern Colorado from 2017-2021, earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminjustic Justice and Criminology. He played rugby and in 2019 was selected to the D2 Rocky Mountain All-Conference Team. while also being named MVP at UNC for multiple years.
Zachary was selected as the 34th pick by the Free Jacks in the 2021 MLR Collegiate Draft. Before joining the team, he attended the USA Rugby High-Performance Pathways camp in Glendale, Colorado. For nine weeks, Bastres trained with high-level athletes and played against other Academy and Representative Teams.
New England Free Jacks Comments
During his rookie year, the University of Northern Colorado alum showed incredible speed, poise and finishing ability before injury took him out for the season after just his third MLR appearance. During his debut matches Bastres made an immediate impact, chalking up tries and wowing spectators with his speed on the wing and aerial skills under the high ball.
In 2023, Bastres returns to us healthy and with a fantastic trajectory as he comes off a summer of training with USA 7’s, for whom he competed for the U23 squad at Rugbytown Sevens this past August.
“First identified at a USA Rugby Talent ID camp, the Colorado native impressed with his physical attributes and excellent demeanor, “commented General Manager Tom Kindley. “Fast forward six months to pre-season, and the same characteristics were impressing our coaches to the point where the 3rd round draft pick was selected to make his MLR debut against Austin, scoring the winning try. Zach has the kind of story that if we can reproduce, it will hold American rugby and MLR in great shape.”
“I’m pumped to be heading into 2023,” commented Zach. “I’m super focused on what’s ahead and can’t wait to get back into what I got a taste of before my injury. I feel like my best rugby is ahead of me, and I’m in the perfect place to chase it. Can’t wait to see all the fans at home at Veterans again this season.”
Outside of rugby, Zach is an avid outdoorsman, enjoying fishing and hiking. During the warmer months, you can spot him throwing out lines for striped bass along the Quincy shorelines.
Free Jacks 2022 season comments also mentioned that his father was a professional tennis player in Chile and Brazil prior to moving to the US, so his competitive nature runs in the family. New England sports also holds a special place in Zachary’s heart as he grew up watching the New England Patriots every Sunday with his Mother being raised in Massachusetts.