Rugby ATL signed former USA international Phil Thiel ahead of their 2023 match against NOLA Gold. The 38-year-old hooker, who is 5’11” and 250 lbs, came in as a replacement in the 73rd minute for his Major League Rugby debut.
Phil is from Traverse City, Michigan, and played football and was on the wrestling team at Traverse City West High School. He also played rugby with T.C. Alliance Youth Rugby Club.
Following his graduation in 2003, he attended Saginaw Valley State University to play football and a year later transferred to Northwestern Michigan College where he played rugby for the Traverse City Blues.
He went to England to play rugby for Cinderford Rugby Club before returning to the United States to attend Life University in 2007. He was a Collegiate All-American and helped the Men’s Club win the Division 1 National Championship in 2008. In 2013 he played for Life’s Men in the D1 Elite Cup and the Rugby Showdown against the Golden Lions.
Phil’s international XVs test career began with his debut against Uruguay in November 2009. He would earn 36 caps and played in the 2011 and 2015 Rugby World Cups. he also co-captained the USA Selects in the 2013 Americas Rugby Championship.
Phil has also played for Atlanta Old White, in addition to being a coach for the club. He also coached the Atlanta Harlequins in the Women’s Premier League, as well as was the Forward’s Coach for Life University.