Several players who started in Glendale’s Academy program quickly rose through the ranks. During the 2018 season, Mika Kruse, Jake Christmann, Carlo de Nysschen and Siale Maka were all offered Raptors contracts. A number of other Academy players were also brought up to train with the pro team following their fall season, and more still were offered contracts with other teams – a demonstration of the strength of Glendale’s programming, as well as an incredible source of pride. In addition to the in-league successes of the Academy program in 2018, several participants were invited to join the Junior All-Americans team that faced the Canada U-20s in the World Rugby Trophy Qualifiers.
Glendale Director of Rugby Mark Bullock explains some of the program’s history:
Glendale hosted a Collegiate All-Americans camp in August 2018, an opportunity for the Academy coaches to evaluate the best young rugby players in the country. Not only did the camp offer college-level players the opportunity to compete in the best rugby facilities in the U.S., but also afforded Glendale’s coaches a chance to continue to recruit the best rugby talent for Academy programming. Director of Rugby Mark Bullock explains the importance of the camp: “The City of Glendale prides itself with its commitment to the growth of rugby in the U.S. We love to host training and development opportunities for the next generation of professional rugby players and, of course, U.S. National Team members,” he said. “We like to think Rugbytown, USA is leading the way, providing a full pathway from youth to professional rugby through our Academy, the first of its kind in the States.”