The Man of Many Talents, Matt Wirken
RUNY’s Matt Wirken sat down with Kiera Fitzgibbon to discuss how he is keeping himself busy before the 2020 Major League Rugby season.
Even though it’s the offseason, RUNY athletes aren’t on a break from rugby. Second Row Matt Wirken is currently captaining his home club, Kansas City Blues. This is a huge honor for Matt, who’s captained the team before. “It’s absolutely amazing to be back with the Blues,” he shared.
President of the Blues, Chris George, reached out to Matt and asked him to come back and play for the season. “It was a no brainer to come back to my local club.” Matt told us the Blues’ Head Coach, James Patterson, is an “incredible leader” and there’s a great group of guys on the team. “It’s an honor to be playing for the team again.”
Wirken joins the Kansas City Blues after two years playing professional rugby. His experiences and skills he’s learned over the course of his professional career will be helpful for his fellow teammates. “It’s great to be able to come back to the Blues and share what I’ve learned from my time on a professional rugby team – it’s pretty awesome.”
Currently, the Kansas City Blues are undefeated. The team faced one of its main rivals, Metropolis, over the weekend with a 22-14 lead. Next, the team will face the Chicago Lions in the Midwest Rugby Premiership. The winner of that match will play the winner of the Atlantic Premiership, Life University. “That would be a great game to play and be up against Ross Deacon,” Matt said.
As the team advances the final rounds of the competition, Matt thinks the team could definitely win the National Championships. “I’m big into manifesting positivity so I keep thinking and telling people that we’re going to win it,” he shared. “It freaks some people out, but if you think positively, then good things will happen.” Matt’s manifesting good outcomes has worked well in the past with his modeling career and professional rugby career. Let’s hope it works for the Blues!
Playing for the Blues has a lot of perks for Matt. Now that he’s back home, he can spend more time with the family. He got to see a couple of Chief games (he’s a big fan) and has enjoyed some good ol’ barbeque (yum)! “I’m definitely going to miss it when I’m back in New York, so I’m just trying to enjoy it every day.”
He’s done a couple of photo shoots during the season in New York and LA. Most recently, he’s worked on campaigns for Bonobos, Target and Everlane. “The Everlane shoot was cool because I was photographed riding a bicycle around Chelsea, which was fun,” he shared. Matt has worked with Target over a dozen times and always loves working out of their studio in the West Village; ‘it’s a super cool space.”
Modeling and playing rugby are a tricky balance, given that it is a brutal sport and players often come out of games with several injuries. But luckily, Matt hasn’t had too many injuries that affected his shoots. “I had a couple of black eyes and split my chin open once,” he revealed. “But I learn how to cover them up with makeup and I’m good to go.”
With the RUNY Season quickly approaching, Matt’s excited to get out on the field. “I want to get more game time this season,” he reveals. “I have stuff to prove so hopefully what I’m doing now with the Kansas City Blues will help me hone my skills for next season.” Besides playing for the Blues, he’s been hitting the gym, running and even took up boxing. “It’s great to learn new tactics and skills,” he said.
He also wants to help better the team as much as he can and improve their game. He’s looking forward to playing Rugby ATL, NOLA Gold, San Diego (“because we owe them for the playoffs”) and newly added New England Free Jacks. “I feel like because of the New York and Boston rivalry it’ll be a great game with lots of energy,” he told us. “I’m excited to see what’s in store for the 2020 MLR season.”
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