University of Arizona Rugby Release
Arizona made a move to bring back one of their former stars this week, formally appointing Ryan Matyas as Director of Player Development with immediate effect.
US Eagle #486 comes back to Tucson with 14 caps to his name and recently reached 50 caps with the San Diego Legion in Major League Rugby. The Tucson native has also appeared with the Sevens national side, making six appearances. The center/winger got his start for the Tucson Barbarians, and went on to star for the University of Arizona under William David Sitton, helping the side to playoff runs in both Fifteens and Sevens and catching the eye of national team scouts.
After finishing at Arizona where he earned All-America honors, Matyas first played for the San Diego Breakers of the PRO Rugby competition in 2016. When Major League Rugby was founded, Matyas signed with the San Diego Legion for the competition’s inaugural 2018 season. In September of 2018, Matyas appeared for the USA Selects in the 2018 Americas Pacific Challenge.
In 2021, Ryan Matyas had one of the historic moments in both US and Arizona history, scoring a try against the New Zealand All Blacks and becoming one of just two Americans in history to do so. In May 2022, Matyas announced his retirement from international duty.
“We are so honored and thrilled to welcome one of our legends home in this new role,” said Director of Rugby Sean Duffy. “Ryan has been a friend for years and played a key role in my coming to Tucson. He helped me along when I first got started and has coached with him on many occasions I knew we had to bring him back in some way so that he could bring his deep knowledge, expertise, and passion to our team. I’ve never met an athlete that approaches the game and the process like Ryan. I know he’s built for this role and he’ll be an incredible asset. While he’ll continue playing for Legion, he will provide a world-class athlete perspective for our current athletes, many of whom want to follow in his footsteps as professional and international athletes” said Duffy.
For much of his playing career, the Wildcat legend has devoted time and energy to developing the game, including a stint working for the New Zealand Rugby Union as a Youth Development Officer in the North Harbor region. He has also assisted in grassroots rugby domestically with the San Diego Mustangs, Rhinos Rugby Academy, Nike Rugby Camps, and Eagle Impact Rugby Academy. He also served as an assistant coach for the Wildcats in the Fall of 2017, joining his alma mater for a run through the PAC-12 Sevens season.
“Being a Wildcat is something I hold dear to my heart, it was an integral part of my rugby journey. Growing up in Tucson not only did I dream of wearing an Arizona jersey as a kid, but I was also able to watch two of my biggest inspirations, my brothers Kevin and Andrew play in that same jersey. Pairing that with the ability to help the next generation is an opportunity I’m extremely grateful for” said Matyas. Ryan follows in the footsteps of his father, Micole, who served as an assistant coach for the Wildcats in addition to his role with the Tucson Barbarians, Ryan’s former club.
Matyas comes back into the fold as the Wildcats are hitting their stride, with the team taking down #12 Colorado this past weekend and building towards another postseason run in the coming weeks.