Major League Rugby (MLR) announced its fourth annual Collegiate Draft today, where 39 of the best young rugby players in North America will be selected over three rounds. The MLR Draft will air on Thursday, August 17 at 6:30 PM ET on Fox Sports 2 in the United States and on The Rugby Network for international viewers.
“Draft Day is a big, big day,” said MLR CEO Nic Benson, “It’s the culmination of years and years of work for these athletes on their pathway to Major League Rugby. The MLR Draft is an immeasurable opportunity for the next group of North American rugby players with professional and national team aspirations.”
The 2023 MLR Draft is open to United States and Canadian collegiate athletes. The selection order over the three rounds will be determined by the inverse order of standings from the 2023 MLR season. Once selected, teams will use a draft-and-follow approach and will have until the mid-point of the MLR season after the player’s collegiate eligibility ends to reach an agreement with the player.
The MLR Draft has been the primary pathway into the MLR for collegiate athletes since its inception in 2020. Sam Golla, the 2022 number one pick has established himself as an integral part of the Dallas Jackals, joining the 2021 number one pick Eric Naposki. To date, Golla has started every game this season for the Jackals and earned himself three MLR RTIC First XV selections.
FirstPoint USA's Scottish alumni duo Sean Yacoubian and Matthew Gordon have both carved out their own place within the USA's premier rugby competition for New England Free Jacks and Old Glory DC respectively after securing a world-class rugby scholarship in the United States and progressing through the structured development pathway in collegiate sports.
Ahead of the draft, players will have the opportunity to showcase their skills at the second annual Collegiate Rugby Shield (CRS). The CRS will be held at Zions Bank Stadium and will include 50 top collegiate players selected by a panel of MLR decision-makers. Players will participate in multiple days of practice and a pro day in front of MLR GMs, with the game being played Thursday, July 13th, 2023. For more information on the Collegiate Rugby SHield, visit collegiaterugbyshield.com and MLR’s and Collegiate Rugby Shield’s social media channels.
All athletes can register for the 2023 draft at Playwize, MLR’s Collegiate Draft registration platform, allowing athletes to connect with playing and commercial opportunities across the world. Athletes must download the Playwize app from the App Store or Play Store, create a profile, and fill in the MLR Draft eligibility questionnaire to be added to the prospect list.
About Major League Rugby
Major League Rugby is a professional sports league in its sixth season and represents the highest level of rugby competition in North America. The League evolved from seven teams in 2018, to 12 teams in 2023, featuring 12 from the United States and one from Canada. Matches are televised on Fox, Fox Sports 1, and Fox Sports 2, among other national and local market platforms. Select matches are available to stream live in North America on The Rugby Network, and all matches are available to stream live on The Rugby Network for international fans. MLR prides itself in fostering intense and high-stakes competition while bringing together a passionate community built on the values of Respect, Inclusivity, and Tradition. For more information about MLR, visit www.MajorLeague.Rugby.
FirstPoint USA is an international scouting service, providing recruitment services to hundreds of NCAA, NAIA, and NJCAA member institutions seeking to identify the very best in overseas talent, both male and female.
The company was founded in 2001 by former University of Cincinnati All-American and Hall of Fame inductee, Andrew Kean, and evaluates over 100,000 prospective student-athletes, competing in over 20 different sports, across 187 countries each year.