The Glendale Raptors have added another key player to an impressive roster with the news that US Eagles midfielder Bryce Campbell has joined up from Indiana University. At just 22 years of age Campbell has rapidly established himself as a strong contender for a starting spot in the upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Canada. With a good mix of power and handling skills to go with strong defense and the ability to play either center position, he joins a Raptors team already loaded with talent.
Still months away – if not a full year – from the start of the inaugural Major League Rugby season, Glendale have emerged as very early favorites by building a squad drawn heavily from the PRO Rugby champion Denver Stampede. Zach Fenoglio, Ben Tarr, Casey Rock, Peter Dahl, Logan Collins, Mose Timoteo, Will Magie, Ata Malifa, Chad London, and Dustin Croy have all committed as have part-timers Brian Wanless, Kyle Hitt, and the Pauga brothers, Justin and Zac.
Sacramento Express captain John Quill and another PRO skipper, Shaun Davies from the Ohio Aviators, are key additions while Eagles lock Ben Landry is back from NFL trials. Will Holder and Seth Halliman have arrived via the USA 7s program and former UCal Golden Bears and USA Select XV scrumhalf Nick Boyer adds further depth.
Off the field the Raptors are also putting together a very respectable coaching group. Director of Rugby Mark Bullock will oversee a team that includes highly regarded Dave Williams as Head Coach, former Stampede manager Kieran Browner as Forwards Coach, and Niku Kruger as Skills Coach. Kruger, a recent Eagles scrumhalf, appears to have put his playing career on hiatus following a serious knee injury suffered during the PRO season. The newest addition is Luke Gross, Head Coach of the Express, who has signed on Director of Rugby Development.
As Houston start to piece together a competitive squad from scratch and established teams in Seattle and Austin look for outside talent to bolster their existing rosters, it’s clear that the Raptors are a step ahead for the 2018 season. The team will be in action in an exciting match-up against the Canadian Rugby Championship-winning Ontario Blues on May 20, with the match in Burlington set to be streamed live.