Long Island Rugby Legend Mike St. Claire Inks Deal
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
LONG ISLAND RUGBY LEGEND MIKE ST. CLAIRE INKS DEAL WITH RUNY
NEW YORK (October 17, 2018)- Old Blue Wing Michael St. Claire, originally from Medford, New York, has signed with New York City’s first professional rugby franchise ahead of the 2019 Major League Rugby Season. The Long Island rugby legend recently wrapped up an impressive American Rugby Premiership campaign with New York club Old Blue.
St. Claire started his playing career in 2010 with Stony Brook University in Long Island. He immediately made an impact on the team as an elite crossover athlete, transitioning over from basketball. Before he graduated with a degree in Philosophy in 2013, St. Claire led the team to a national quarterfinal run in 2012.
St. Claire stayed in Long Island upon graduation, and was a star for Long Island Rugby Football Club during the 2013 season. His strong play earned him a call up into the Northeast Academy player pool, which regularly assembles the top players from the region. The academy provided him with numerous opportunities to showcase his athletic ability for national team selectors.
Understanding the need to consistently play against the top competition in the United States, he made the move to Old Blue in 2013. St. Claire has been a star for the club for the past 5 seasons, in both 15s and 7s. This past spring, St. Claire made three appearances for Rugby United New York during the exhibition season, starting on the wing every occasion.
“I was super excited for the exhibition season last year,” St. Claire told us. “New York is my hometown, and there is an amazing amount of natural talent here, all we need is consistent exposure. Major League Rugby now gives us that opportunity.”
“Mike has clearly made great strides in his game over the last few years,” Head Coach Mike Tolkin said. “He showed glimpses of what a devastating attacker he can be during our 2018 exhibition season. He possesses outstanding footwork, pace, and agility, as well as remarkable intuitive skills. We look forward to having his positive character and playing ability on our squad this season.”
“He is a New Yorker through and through,” added General Manager James English. “He is a natural athlete, who is maturing into a serious rugby player. RUNY and MLR will be his chance to prove what he can do at the top level of American rugby.”
“There is a positive outlook for the 2019 Major League Rugby season,” St. Claire finished by saying. “We have a great group of guys who have played alongside, and against, each other over the years. We have the chemistry, as well as the skill level to compete in this league.”
About Rugby United New York
Rugby United New York is a professional rugby team who joined Major League Rugby as an associate member in 2018, playing a brief, but successful exhibition season. Their first full MLR schedule will take place in 2019. When they officially join the league, RUNY’s vision is to bring the excitement of professional rugby to the New York sports landscape. The use of rugby’s core values of teamwork, respect, and discipline will help to educate, inspire and connect with the New York Community. Rugby United New York, the city’s first professional rugby franchise, strives to unite the entire rugby community and enrich it at every level throughout the region. The team was founded by James Kennedy of the Murphy Kennedy Group, who is an active supporter of grassroots rugby.
MLR is a professional rugby league that launched in April of 2018. It’s an initiative of the American rugby community, in partnership with private investors, who believe that American rugby can thrive at the highest levels: as a commercial enterprise; as an influential player on the international scene; and as a participation sport at the youth and senior level. MLR is the pinnacle of American rugby, and provides a rallying point for local communities, a focal point for American rugby fans, and an aspirational destination for young athletes. For more information, visit usmlr.com.
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