Californian speedster Ryan James joins the LA Giltinis
The LA Giltinis have added sharp young winger Ryan James to their 2021 roster from the Dispersal Draft of players from the stalled Dallas Jackals lift-off.
Today’s announcement is a win for both parties…the Giltinis pick up a pacy, elusive finisher and James, 21, returns to his southern California roots.
The 6’ 0” (1.83m), 190lb (86kg) winger played for the USA Under-20s in 2019 after being a three-time High School All-American and has attended three High-Performance Camps for the USA Men’s Sevens.
James is a player on the rise and hopes to find a settled home at the Giltinis after the rollercoaster he’s been on in Major League Rugby to date.
“I was in shock when Dallas pulled out of this season because I couldn’t believe it was happening again after the same experience with the Colorado Raptors last year,” James said.
“I’m lucky I had a few options to consider but LA and the west coast is where I want to be after spending too much time being cold (in Colorado).
“We’ve got a bunch of talent in this Giltinis squad. That was a big selling point for me plus reuniting with past teammates like Blake Rogers, Luke White, Mika Kruse, John Ryberg and Nick Boyer.”
James found the game at 12 when at San Diego’s Cathedral Catholic High School (2013-17) but it has always been in his Samoan-American heritage because mother Sonya was raised in rugby-mad New Zealand.
He is determined to grab his chance on this one-year deal with the Giltinis as well as spread the word about rugby at youth level around LA.
“I played the final few minutes of the Raptors’ last game against the Toronto Arrows last season before the COVID shutdown. That was a little tease of MLR and I’m excited to take my game to the next level,” James said.
“Off the field, I love any opportunity to coach and grow the game.
“I grew up in San Diego so I know how great the support is for rugby up and down the California coast. I want to be part of making sure the Giltinis have a tremendous following.”
Head coach Darren Coleman is delighted to pick up a player of James’s ability so close to the March 20 kick-off to the season.
“Ryan is an up-and-coming young American talent who has had some bad luck with both Colorado and Dallas not getting to the start line,” Coleman said.
“He’s super-fast and evasive and we look forward to helping him add to his game and natural gifts.”
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